Monday, May 13, 2019

Waste Not with Misshapen Produce

Reducing waste allows producers and marketers to improve financial profitability and serve a socially beneficial function. What a nice opportunity, then, in the fact that substantial amounts of fruits and vegetables are discarded because the producers, suppliers, or retailers see them as misshapen. Recognizing this opportunity, researchers at Dartmouth College, University of Pittsburgh, and The Ohio State University explored how to overcome consumers’ reluctance to buy ugly produce.
     First, the researchers needed to explore the reasons for the rejection. The answer they found has to do with social image and self-image: People tend to subconsciously assume that purchasing ugly produce in public and eating it each indicate a flawed aesthetic sensibility. Consumers reject ugly produce because accepting it would make them look and feel inferior.
     So one remedy is to buttress and build shopper self-esteem. In the research studies, willingness to purchase increased when shoppers were first asked to discuss something that had happened that, “made you feel proud of yourself,” and when signage by bins of the misshapen items read, “You are Fantastic! Pick Ugly Produce!” as compared with when it read just, “Pick Ugly Produce!” The researchers estimate that when these methods are employed in place of the frequent 30% to 50% discounting of the retail prices of ugly produce, sales revenue will increase 7% to 20%.
     A research project at Denmark’s Aarhus University suggests another way to increase retail sales of abnormally shaped food items: Sensitize shoppers to the importance of fully using what’s available.
     In the project, a sample of 964 people was chosen to be representative of produce consumers. Each member of the sample was asked to state their purchase intentions for two fruits and two vegetables with varying levels of shape abnormality.
     No significant differences were found in purchase intention between familiarly shaped items and items with moderately abnormal shapes. However, produce with a markedly abnormal shape was less likely to be purchased, according to what the sample consumers said. This effect was much less among the consumers who were concerned about food waste in modern society.
     Shoppers might be sensitized to wasting by presenting them two statistics cited in the studies: Farmers discard as much as 30% of fruits and vegetables simply because they’re unattractive, not because the items are unhealthy or are short on nutritional value. And each year, U.S. retailers trash $15.4 billion of perfectly edible fruits and vegetables.

For your success: Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology

Click below for more: 
Anticipate Aesthetics Avoidance
Praise Your Customers
Sensitize to Waste for Abnormal Produce

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