Characterization of the offer, distinctiveness, specialization, professionalism and, for large commercial structures, repositioning : these are the keywords articulated by Daniele Bartolomei, fruit and vegetable purchasing manager of Conad Nord Ovest on the occasion of the Think Fresh Webinar Preview, the digital preview of our event dedicated to the analysis of fruit and vegetable consumption and the latest research from the AgroTer Fruit and Vegetable Monitor which, on May 27th, took stock of pre and post Covid trends and consumption habits .
In a highly competitive scenario in which discount stores are getting the better of other large-scale retailers, the brands must “put the customer at the center and bring out a soul, without being all-rounders”.
“With Covid some trends have clearly emerged – added Bartolomei – Sales of fruit and vegetables with the first lockdown, that of 2020, have taken off, the packaged product has taken off while the neighborhood shop has exploded . Today, fortunately, , we are emerging from the health emergency, things have changed but some trends have remained, such as the preference for fruit and vegetables with packaging “.
The prospects are uncertain, the polarization of consumption will change the cards on the table: for the buyer, the situation will be complicated in the short term ; it will improve in the medium term, “but to remain competitive you need to be dynamic and proactive” . “The competition – he added during our webinar – must be done between similar formats and brands , we at Conad have repositioned many of our stores and will constantly monitor the competition”.
Training, innovation and enhancement , also in terms of spaces, of fruit and vegetables: these other keywords dear to Bartolomei, who cited the Ori Project on the theme of distinctiveness . Launched in 2010 and gradually declined in various areas, from Valle D’Aosta to Tuscany, from Lazio to Sardinia, it aims to enhance the regional fruit and vegetable production with a sort of umbrella brand that also involves those who work upstream of the supply chain: “It was born to testify the presence of Conad in the territory and to guard it and so far it has gone beyond every rosiest forecast “.
The Ori project sees the business partner becoming an ambassador of the distinctive value of localism, guaranteeing its client certified quality and convenience; there is an involvement in the selection of products and in the sharing of the project. “The commercial entrepreneur partner is trying to bring his logic to the producer who owns small farms , also to guarantee him income” , added Bartolomei. “And we are also starting this path in the north of the country”.
Because, also and above all for fruit and vegetables, the game is not played on flyers, on paper offers, but on the shelf, which must be clear, attractive, complete . It is able to compete with e-commerce , “destined to grow, even for the very fresh, but without stifling physical stores”.
The department of service products meanwhile is back on its feet after the annual horribilis in 2020 : “But we are not yet returned to pre-Covid levels, especially for the V range” , said Bartolomei during the webinar Think Fresh Preview. The buyer from Conad Nord Ovest, especially for this category, believes that “it would be useful to bring the culture of packaged wide consumption to the fruit and vegetable department”.