New research conducted by US marketing agency Foodmix Marketing Communications reveals the underdeveloped state of branding within the fresh produce industry and how commodity growers can make a larger profit by leveraging their authentic stories.
The study surveyed more than 1,000 produce shoppers among the Boomer, Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z generations. It found that more than half of consumers find it important to shop for specific brands in the produce department versus non-branded products.
Counter to the popular perception that younger generations are less brand engaged, the results showed brand affinity growing generationally, with almost half of Gen X and Boomers considering it important that the fresh produce they buy is branded, while two-thirds of Millennials and Gen Z generations are likely to purchase branded fresh produce.
With store brands and private labels currently in the forefront of the produce space, research shows that there is a significant opportunity for branded produce companies to generate considerably more share within the industry.
Foodmix said the study reveals that brands with an established story generate trust and engagement among consumers by having the ability to share their “truths.” With sustainability as a table stake for many consumers, it’s more about key attributes that will drive advocacy and “brand love” than broad statements.
“We did our homework to make sure we brought the industry a fresh perspective. This is a landmark study that will end the debate to brand or not to brand,” said Dan O’Connell, CEO of Foodmix Marketing Communications.
“Through our research, we have identified that customers will indeed buy more at higher margins from brands who embark on sharing a true, sustainable story. Consumers have made it clear that there are not enough brands to love, and they want more.”
When it comes to generating brand love, there is room for growth among produce brands that have successfully achieved customer loyalty.
Almost 60 per cent of consumers admitted to “loving” a fresh produce brand; however, they struggled to name a second brand that they have an emotional connection with. The findings suggest that there is plenty of room left for produce brands to achieve advocacy and brand love status.