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CPMA retail tour explores what’s fresh at local retailers

CPMA attendees kicked off the 2019 convention with a sold out retail tour visiting Montreal grocers. The group observed produce department operations and layout, and explored the latest in fresh produce packaging and displays.Adonis

“It really helps to go on these tours and get a feel for things on the ground,” said Jeanette Hertzler of Okanagan Specialty Fruits. “There’s valuable lessons here that can be brought back to share with team members. It’s important to find retailers that are the right fit for our products.”

“It’s a great chance to see how shippers are packing their produce for retail and where the opportunities may be,” Mark Williams of Sev-Rend said while pointing out one of their mesh bags. “Packaging like this drives sales.” 

Healthy, convenient, and fresh-cut options were prominently displayed at the Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal Provigo. The retailer operates a large, in-store fresh-cut program on fruits and vegetables along with offering an extensive line of fresh squeezed juices. It’s a big draw for downtown lunch hour shoppers, keeping the staff hard at work meeting demand.

Metro Plus Dorion reported strong growth in organics, despite 40 percent of neighborhood clientele being of low-middle income. “We’ve seen a 300 percent increase in organic produce sales over last year,” said owner Sylvain Bolduc. “Twenty-eight thousand people a week visit this store. Mondays are a big shopping day for us and we’ll easily do $100,000 in sales.” With 20 percent of those sales in the produce section, there’s never been a better time for thoughtful promotions and innovative packaging.