Never before has the grocery industry looked quite like this: With consumers forgoing restaurant visits for homemade food and shoppers stocking up on essentials at the store, grocery retailers are seeing a dramatic surge in sales. Consumers aren’t just buying more, they’re buying differently. Grocery deliveries have seen explosive growth, click-and-collect orders are more popular than ever, and aisles of household goods are being emptied out. And, in a time when health is top of mind, consumers are purchasing unprecedented volumes of vegetables and fruits.
Most notably, the fresh produce section is stealing the show. On March 1, 2020, fresh produce sales in grocery stores were comparable to those seen in 2019. By the week ending March 15th sales had increased by a whopping 33.9%, and the numbers are still growing, according to IRI.
However, there are still a few remaining obstacles facing retailers who want to further increase sales of fresh produce. For the many consumers cooking at home, fresh produce is often more labor-intensive than canned or frozen options. Even more, customers often touch and smell fresh produce as they select vegetables and fruits from a display in the store. With transmission of the coronavirus at the forefront of consumers’ concerns, they may hesitate to buy unpackaged produce that other customers may have touched.
Prepackaged fresh produce can provide a solution to both of these potential obstacles. Retailers can sell items the customer might typically choose by hand, such as broccoli, potatoes, apples and lemons, in pre-portioned bags that consumers can take without having to pick through the display. No matter how they’re getting their groceries—in-store, picked up curbside or delivered by a third party—packaged produce can give consumers peace of mind that their food hasn’t been handled by store clerks, grocery deliverers or other customers.
What’s more, microwavable steam pouches that cook vegetables in the bag aren’t limited to the frozen vegetable aisle. Steam N Eat® pouches from TC Transcontinental Packaging, for example, are designed with customized laser venting technology that allows washed and precut produce to cook evenly while preserving the taste and nutritional benefits of steam cooking. There’s no prep time or cleanup required; the produce can be sold, cooked and served all out of the same pouch, which also provides a sustainable solution for reducing waste.
From steamable pouches to packaged produce sold in bulk, TC Transcontinental Packaging offers retailers products that make it easier than ever for consumers to buy the fruits and vegetables they want. To learn how TC Transcontinental Packaging can help grocers capitalize on the growing demand for fresh produce during these exceptional times, visit www.tc.tc/packaging.
This post is sponsored by TC Transcontinental Packaging