ORLANDO, Fla. â Tote bags, especially clear ones, sell more produce.
And in a tough economy, itâs best to put your specials deeper in the department.
Those were some of the insights of the âFrom the Front Lines: How Produce Managers connect with the Supply Chainâ session led by Harold Lloyd at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit.
The session featured produce managers chosen by Lloyd, who prepped the panel with topics including the economy, organics, country-of-origin labeling and packaging.
Tim Millett, center, of Lin's Marketplace and Mike Clay of Save Mart, right, display a sign for Vincent Ottolino of Caputo's talks about his company's locally grown produce programs during the "From the Front Lines: How Produce Managers Connect with the Supply Chain" session at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Orlando.
Local produce is a big hit for Chicago-based Angelo Caputoâs New Farm Produce said produce merchandiser Vincent Ottolino.
Caputoâs doesnât rely solely on the âlocalâ designation, however; Ottolino said signs tell shoppers how far away farms â in miles â are from the store.
Caputoâs also works closely with local growers, going so far as to provide the seeds for specific varieties they want to carry in the store.
âWe tell them what we want for the next season,â Ottolino said. âIt works for the famers and works for us.â
Shoppers do want to know where their produce comes from, panelists said. They had some advice for grower-shippers and marketers.
Itâd be great if the industry could standardize where the country of origin labels appear, said Dennis Goodwin, produce manager for Sweetbay Supermarkets, Crystal River, Fla.
Nothing to hide
Packaging also was a lively discussion. The panelists agreed that tote bags help sell volumes, especially in a tough economy.
The key to sales, they said, is in the material the totes are made of.
All four panelists said they prefer clear â not translucent â bags.
âIf you canât see inside, shoppers wonder what you have to hide,â said Tim Millett, produce merchant, of Linâs Marketplace, St. George, Utah.
Mike Clay, produce manager of Modesto, Calif.-based SaveMart Supermarkets also participated in the session.