Stop, Look and Listen

The fresh-cut industry cannot live on bagged salad alone. The fresh-cut industry continues to be a driver in the produce sections of retail stores – it’s up to about $15 billion annually. And there’s no better time than when you’re on top of your game to stop, look and listen.

Take a minute to stop what you’re doing – just a minute – and look around you. What are other members of the industry doing? What are retailers doing with your product? How are restaurants using fresh-cut? How can you take what’s being done and improve upon it?

More and more consumers are looking for whole-meal solutions, and items that mix fresh-cut produce with meats and cheeses – such as salad kits and heat-and-eat items – fit that bill.

Observation continues to be one of the best tools there is to know what’s going on – it’s one of the most important tools of my trade. And it can be for you, too. As processors, retailers and users of fresh-cut produce it is imperative that you take note of what’s happening in all sectors of the industry. Visit grocery stores. Retailers need to see what other retailers are doing, but they also need to know what processing companies offer that isn’t yet on their grocery store shelves. Fresh-cut processors, of course, need to know what their competition is doing, but if they don’t pay attention to how people are using their product, they become ineffectual to those users. But it goes without saying that just watching the trends happen doesn’t give you the chance to be at the head of the curve.

And that’s where the third step comes in: listen. Take time to talk with consumers and users of fresh-cut. What do they want from it? What new products would they like to see in a more convenient form?

Consumers are in a hurry, and surveys have shown that they want items they can pick up in between errands and have on the table in 15 or 20 minutes – or eat on the run. They simply don’t have the time – or the desire – to spend hours in the kitchen cooking. Fresh-cut companies already are picking up on this trend and offering mix-and-serve salads and some entrées – even desserts. And there are still untapped opportunities out there.

Ask consumers what more they want to see – and listen to what they say. Yes, you can listen to what consumers are saying with their checkbooks – or debit cards – but you also need to be actively participating in the consumer research to make it work for you. This is another place where retailers and foodservice users can work closely with the processors. Everyone wins when you have the most complete, up-to-date information about your consumers.

Readership Survey

Just like the fresh-cut industry as a whole, Fresh Cut is looking for ways to better serve our consumers – you. And it’s that time again… time for Fresh Cut’s annual readership survey. In the past, our readership surveys have shown that we’re the industry’s premier source for fresh-cut information. And we want to keep it that way. We want to be where you continue to turn for news that affects you.

There is always room to improve. We want to know what you like about Fresh Cut – and what you’d like to see changed. We want to know about you and your company. But don’t think the survey’s all for us. We want to see the industry go forward. We want to remain your No. 1 source for all things fresh-cut. We want you to succeed. Plus, everyone who participates will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to Cabela’s.

It’s easy. Just visit http://www.freshcut.com/pages/survey.php.


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