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In time for the holidays and to help customers make healthy meals on a budget, Wegmans has expanded its list of family items, lowering prices on more than 40 products. The list of products is heavy with fresh produce, including organic salad blends, organic bananas and asparagus.wegmanColleen Wegman

The number of SKUs with new consistent low prices totals 247, and a variety of the items with new consistent low prices reflect the growing customer demand for organics.

“Our approach to pricing is simple. We offer the lowest prices in the market on items families use most, so they don’t have to run around town to find the best value,” Colleen Wegman, president of the company, said in a press release. “2016 has been a challenging year of deflation for our entire industry, lowering the costs and retails for staples like eggs and ground beef. As a family company, we’re able to invest in lowering prices on even more products, like almond milk and Greek yogurt, to keep current with the changing trends of what today’s families are buying most.”

The products are all Wegmans brand, because the company can be more aggressive with pricing for its own brand.

Wegmans Food Markets Inc. is a 92-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Fortune magazine for 19 consecutive years, ranking No. 4 in 2016.

Marketers and retailers can create strategies that build loyalty, drive traffic and grow sales of Hass avocados by better understanding the avocado shopper. The Hass Avocado Board’s newly released Shopper Segmentation Study, based on data from The IRI Consumer Network, analyzes the households that are buying avocados and reveals the underlying purchase behaviors that are driving this vibrant category.

“Retailers can build avocado category sales by leveraging the shopper insights in this study,” Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, said in a press release. “This study identifies the most important avocado shopper groups and pin-points actionable, high-value growth opportunities for continued category growth.”habpic

Fresh avocados are one of the most successful categories in fresh produce. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. households purchase avocados each year and spend $23.91 on average, driving annual household purchases of over $1.6 billion. To gain a deeper understanding of these avocado shoppers, the study developed a shopper segmentation based on actual avocado purchase levels.

The segmentation was conducted by ranking avocado purchasing households by each household’s total annual avocado spend (high to low), and then dividing this ranked list into four equal segments. The top-spending quartile (25 percent) is designated super heavy households, while the remaining three segments are referred to as heavy, medium and light households. Discerning the differences in purchasing behaviors between these households is one of the keys to unlocking the potential of the avocado category.

This segmentation found that a very large proportion of avocado purchases are made by one shopper segment, the Super Heavy segment. While comprising only one out of every four households, super heavy shoppers account for nearly three out of every four avocado purchases. Additionally, super heavy households purchase avocados twice as often as heavy households, and spend twice as much per avocado shopping occasion. This means that the super heavy segment is a particularly influential and important part of the avocado category.

The remaining three segments each account for a smaller share of avocado dollars than their respective share of households would suggest. As the second-highest spending quartile (25 percent), heavy households account for 18 percent of avocado purchases. Combined, super heavy and heavy households account for 91 percent of all avocado purchases at retail. Based on their high level of engagement in the category, super heavy and heavy households are more apt to respond positively to marketing efforts to increase their purchases even further.

These purchase trends are key to understanding how these shoppers impact the category and can help identify opportunities for future growth. For example, a greater than 1 percent increase in the number of annual purchase trips, or in the spend per trip, represents a potential $16.5 million opportunity for the category.

This study also provides information on how shopper purchase behaviors change throughout the year, and how these differences impact quarterly avocado sales at retail. Additionally, the study provides demographic detail for each of the segments and for avocado households in total.

To gain more insight into shopper segmentation and each buying group’s shopping behavior, visit hassavocadoboard.com/retail to read the full report and drive sales of Hass avocados.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that New Farm Inc. and Stay Fresh Distributors Inc. satisfied reparation orders issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

Brooklyn, NY-based New Farm and Brooksville, FL-based Stay Fresh can continue operating in the produce industry upon applying for and being issued PACA licenses.

Jong Hwa H. Kim was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of New Farm and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee. Similarly, Jason A. Canals was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of Stay Fresh and may now be employed by or affiliated with any PACA licensee.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,500 PACA claims involving more than $58 million. Its experts also assisted more than 8,000 callers with issues valued at approximately $140 million.

Center for Growing Talent by PMA recently announced key staff positions that will help the center carry out its mission to attract, develop and retain talent for the global produce and floral industry.  

“The Board of Directors of the Center for Growing Talent by PMA approved an 'invest to grow' strategy and, with it, a budget to support this growth. To build and staff an organization designed to deliver on this growth strategy, we are excited to bring on these new team members. They will work to accomplish the big plans for helping the global produce and floral industries attract, develop and retain the talent they need to grow their businesses,” said Margi Prueitt, CGTbyPMA executive director and Produce Marketing Association senior vice president.

CGTbyPMA 2016 Promotions:

ALICIA CALHOUN has been with CGTbyPMA for nine years.  As vice president-talent portfolio, she is responsible for the strategic direction of all talent programs focusing on program management, external relationships and knowledge management. Prior to this position, she held the role of PMA’s director of industry technology and standards for 16 years.

MEGAN NASH has been with CGTbyPMA for three years. As program director, she concentrates on the execution and expansion of current CGTbyPMA programs, ensuring they address the industry’s talent needs. Megan began her career in produce in 2008, spending five years as a sales and customer service representative with Country Fresh Mushroom Co., Inc.

CGTbyPMA 2016 New Hires:

LOIS GIOVACCHINI serves as CGTbyPMA’s major gifts manager. She is responsible for advancing a portfolio of corporate and individual donors and prospects in support of the educational arm of PMA. Prior to joining CGTbyPMA, she served as director of development for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals where she was responsible for raising more than $4 million annually. 

QUINCY INMAN joined CGTbyPMA as the contributor relations coordinator where he is responsible for creating, developing and executing a contributor relations program aimed to inform and acknowledge CGTbyPMA donors. Prior to CGTbyPMA, he worked for the National United Cerebral Palsy as a senior director of special events where he assisted with the development and expansion of new events, fundraising campaigns and special projects.

 

This year, National Pear Month is going global. To celebrate the 12th anniversary of U.S. Department of Agriculture officially declaring December as National Pear Month, USA Pears will hit the road Dec. 3 and provide samples of this juicy, delicious fruit to consumers across the world. DSC02255

Beginning at 2 p.m. local time in New Zealand, people will have the opportunity to taste a variety of USA-grown pears via pop-up sampling opportunities in more than 24 countries including China, Saudi Arabia and Mexico and across all U.S. time zones for 24 hours of continuous sampling and promotion of USA Pears. It’s the ideal time to celebrate the abundance and variety of USA Pears, now at their peak and available worldwide.

Pear-Up-banner “This is the first time USA Pears has done a sampling event of this magnitude, and we’re really excited to have people across all time zones sample pears throughout a single day and interact on social media,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, a nonprofit trade association promoting fresh pears on behalf of the nearly 1,600 pear growers in Washington and Oregon. “While Washington and Oregon account for 84 percent of the pears commercially grown in the U.S., we export nearly 40 percent so they truly are a fruit enjoyed around the world.”

The ten varieties of pears grown in Washington and Oregon include: Green Anjou, Red Anjou, Bartlett, Red Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, Concorde, Forelle, Seckel and Starkrimson.

On Dec. 3, consumers can connect with pear lovers from all over the world by visiting USA Pears social platforms, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and follow #WorldDay or #WorldPearDay.

In the United States, sampling pop-ups will appear in New York City, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, San Francisco and Portland, OR, with several retailer sampling locations in between.