The Fresh Factor: The Increasing Role of Freshness in Consumer Purchasing Decisions
The trend is especially popular among Millennials and Generation Z, as they seek more fresh ways to snack and have meals. They aren’t as concerned with the additional time it takes to prep fresh foods, but are enticed by fresh foods ability to provide better nutrition.
Now with fresh foods available in ready-made packages, it is becoming more convenient and attractive to all consumers. No longer are consumers seeking fast food as their main source of fuel. They are more interested in getting the health benefits from fresh foods.
Retailers are responding by beefing up their fresh food offering, making the perimeter of the store more attractive to shoppers. Convenience stores are stocking and selling more fresh produce, with 77 percent of National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) members saying they now sell fresh produce.
Sales of fresh fruit and vegetables is growing in convenience stores by as much as 14.4 percent in 2015. This is more than five times the overall growth rate of produce sales in the U.S., which comes in at 2.7 percent, according to Nielsen data.
Fresh Foods vs. Processed Foods
Fresh foods are primarily found around the perimeter of a store and comprise items such as; fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. Fresh foods have expanded into options such as; ready-made sandwiches, salads and other fresh products.
As the alternative, processed foods are produced using methods that include canning, freezing, refrigeration, dehydration and aseptic processing. The natural state of processed foods is changed to increase its shelf life and for safety reasons for the consumers, decreasing its nutritional value.
With processed foods containing extra trans fats and saturated fats as well as sodium and sugar, fresh foods are a healthier option because they contain more natural vitamins, fiber and minerals. They offer added health benefits such as; protecting you from cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Additional energy for the body comes from the natural sugars found in fresh food, also helping to reduce weight gain.
Taste Above All Else
Several factors are driving the trend for fresh foods, but taste is the top reason for consumers to seek it out. Consumers value taste and will specifically purchase foods based on better on this quality, which they perceive to be better quality.
Consumers are associating fresh foods that taste better with an artisanal quality that is not mass produced using chemicals and is produced in a more traditional way. They realize that these fresh foods come from small-scale local and regional production sources, allowing the consumer to support them in their efforts.
As consumers reach for fresh foods, they realize they are getting more high-quality ingredients and are willing to pay for them, especially when it improves the overall taste of the product.
Health & Safety Concerns
Another factor that is propelling consumers toward fresh foods is their need for safe foods. With the news bombarding us with information about the harmful effects of chemicals and recall alerts, consumers are looking for foods that will eliminate these health concerns – something that fresh foods can provide.
More and more consumers are reading labels on foods and becoming more and more aware of what they are putting into their body. Fresh foods offer consumers peace of mind and the freshness means more safety and less chemicals, giving them control over what they put in their mouth. Additionally, the trend in clean foods, makes fresh food an attractive option.
In the Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey, individuals polled have a mindset that has shifted toward healthy foods. Of the 30,000 people polled, 88 percent said they are willing to pay for healthier food, including those that are GMO-free, have no artificial coloring and are deemed natural.
Fresh Foods Offered More Conveniently
With fresh food making up almost a third of a retailer’s sales, they have more incentive to offer this to their shoppers. With a large percent of sales coming from fresh foods, more convenience stores are taking to the trend and offering fresh foods in their stores.
Convenience stores cater to consumers that want to shop at any hour of the day. Offering fresh foods as an option for them, increases their desire to visit convenience stores for all of their food shopping, including fresh foods. Convenience stores are offering more fresh food options, in a convenient way for consumers to purchase and consume easily, they are becoming the go-to-source for shopping, especially for fresh foods.
The food service industry at convenience stores is a $10.9 billion market with 44 percent of U.S. consumers saying that convenience stores offer nutritious items. A good portion of these shoppers visit a convenience stores on a weekly basis, just to purchase the fresh food items it offers, making fresh food a huge opportunity for convenience stores.
Convenience stores have evolved from gas stations that sell food to stores that now sell fresh food and also provide gas. Companies such as FreshOne cater to businesses such as; convenience stores, providing fresh food options that are safe, high quality and that taste good. It works with convenience stores to portray a fresh image with its products as well as a fresh taste with its sandwich, salad, parfait and other fresh food products.
Whether you are looking for health benefits or a good taste, fresh food is an option that doesn’t disappoint. With is its availability increasing and ability to be easily purchase it from convenience store, fresh food is the go-to-source for nutritious snacks and meals. It offers the benefits that so many consumers are looking for and is now available in convenient packaging and ready-made sources, making it the ideal food for when you want to eat clean and fresh.
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