The topic for this year’s 10th Annual CPG Food Summit presented by Saint Joseph’s University was “FRESH Thinking in Food Marketing”. We heard from industry suppliers, retailers and disruptors over the course of the day and learned how they have successfully incorporated the fresh concept into their business and where they think the industry is heading as we move into 2016. At the end of the day, we identified three pertinent truths in the world of FRESH:

 

 

1. Local Trumps Organic…For Now…

Today’s consumers want to be healthy and retailers have taken notice, there is a growing trend of retailers promoting fresh local produce through in-store signage, social media, and weekly ads but some consumers might be getting the wrong idea about what local produce really means. Consumers enjoy the idea of  supporting their local farmer but one major misconception still lingers: local does not translate to organic and some consumers are being mislead by the packaging and messaging in the marketplace. Organic brands who were once competing against the center of the store are now competing against the local produce two tables over.  It looks to be an uphill battle for the organic brands but as consumers continue to request more information on what they are consuming the opportunities to educate today’s shopper will continue to present themselves. As we move into 2016 look for a push from organic brands to do a better job promoting and explaining the differences between local and organic.

 

2. Marketing Works… Even on Veggies!!!

It’s not uncommon to be watching football on Sunday or cartoons with the kids early Saturday and see commercials for a range of sugary treats and savory snacks; however, those potato chip commercials could shortly transform into cherry tomatoes or baby carrots ones. Produce farmers, with the support from the First Lady, Sesame Street, and celebrities are creating marketing campaigns such as Eat Brighter!, which seem to be catching on. These campaigns promote fruits and vegetables by taking a page out of the old junk food marketing playbook and capitalizes on the cool factor. Using extreme sports, clever satire and big explosions, kids are getting excited about veggies. In the Fresno and Cincinnati test markets the results have been high single digit and mid double digit growth across the promoted items highlighted  by the campaigns.   However, for these campaigns to be successful in all markets, fresh produce suppliers across the country need to all come to a consensus to get today’s youth excited about fresh veggies.

 

3. If It’s Fresh, They Will Come…

One of the biggest challenges facing grocers today is providing consumers with delicious fruit and veggies year round. With today’s supply chain, grocers deliver oranges in November and strawberries in January but they can’t always deliver the fresh flavor. We’re now starting to see new disruptors 

coming into the industry that are changing  the paradigm and providing  fresh produce and veggies while they are only in season. Also they are focusing on establishing efficient supply chains that allow the consumer to receive seasonal items in days, not weeks. Additionally if an item is out of season they are providing customers with alternative items that are in season. These type of disruptors are taking market share away from conventional grocers, but the idea of delivering fresh, organic, in-season produce does come at a premium and today’s consumer needs to ask themselves, “are those nine dollar strawberries are really worth it?”

 

This year’s food summit at Saint Josephs was truly insightful as  the speakers discussed what fresh really meant to their organization. Moving forward it is clear today’s consumer wants healthy alternatives and it’s up to the suppliers and grocers to figure out how to deliver healthy economical options.

 

Below is the complete list of speakers.

Tom Casey – CEO Wild Oats Marketplace
AJ Bernstein – Director of Marketing, Garden Fresh Business Unit Bolthouse Farms
Steven Johnson – Grocerant Guru
Dr. Sean Coary – Saint Joseph’s University
Vince Melchiorre – CMO Bimbo Bakeries
Voni Woods – Vice President of Deli and Bakery, Giant Eagle
David McInerney – Co-Founder Fresh Direct

 

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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.

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