As consumer demand and sales of fresh produce at convenience stores continue to grow, the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and the United Fresh Produce Association have published a new resource looking at distribution options available to store owners.
“Convenience Store Distribution Options For Fresh Produce” provides an overview of the various options available to retailers seeking to increase their fresh produce offerings.
More than three-quarters of NACS members (77 percent) say that they now sell fresh produce. As a result of these trends, sales of fresh fruits and vegetables in convenience stores grew 14.4 percent in 2015, more than five times the overall 2.7 percent growth rate of produce sales in the U.S., according to Nielsen data.
“This latest resource is designed to provide an overview of the options available to retailers so that they can examine what approach may work best for their business—or even at individual locations,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS VP of strategic industry initiatives. “It also is an excellent resource for others interested in the channel so that they can best understand the challenges and opportunities related to obtaining fresh produce.”
Jeff Oberman, United Fresh VP of trade relations, added, “During the past two years, members of the NACS-United Fresh Convenience Task Force have researched current challenges in supply chain management, in-store handling and merchandising, and other barriers to produce success for convenience retailers. This document provides convenience retailers and their supply chain partners with insight to develop and maintain an effective distribution network for success.”
The new publication is the third deliverable from the partnership NACS and United Fresh formed in June 2014 to identify best practices to grow produce sales in convenience stores. The groups published two documents in 2015: the 26-page “Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores” and “Are You Fit for Fresh?,” a 10-point checklist that looks at critical areas to assess whether a specific store should grow its fresh produce offer.
The groups will continue to jointly develop followup resources and educational sessions at both the 2016 NACS Show and United Fresh 2016 to help retailers and their supplier and distributor partners execute quality produce programs, from acquiring product to effectively merchandising and marketing it.