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sell more fruits + veggies!

So you’ve made the big leap into healthy food retail. Maybe you’re expanding your store’s inventory of fresh produce. Or maybe your store hasn’t sold fresh produce in the past but is ready to go in that direction. Either way, your neighborhood (and the health of its residents) will be all the better for it.

But let’s not forget that DOING GOOD FOR YOUR COMMUNITY can also be GOOD FOR BUSINESS. Below are a few simple tips you can use to make sure that your fresh produce really works for your store.




Tip #1: Maintain consistent freshness, supply and quality. (Only display stuff you are proud of).

  • Cull through your produce every couple of days to ensure that nothing is rotting, or looking limp. Throw away rotting produce—if you leave it, it will make items next to it rot faster. Pull off and throw away any limp looking leaves.
  • If possible, get smaller, more frequent produce deliveries to ensure that your food items are the freshest possible.


Tip #2: Get produce out of tubs and boxes.

  • Display fruit and veggies in baskets or some other container made of light-colored, natural material.
  • Line them with fabric or plastic to keep your fruits and veggies free of bruises.
  • Display all produce and food products at least six inches off the ground.


Tip #3: Create the illusion of bounty.

  • Keep things heaped up.
  • Tilt containers forward so that all of the produce is visible, even from a distance.
  • Pile up produce so that it fills the space that it is in and looks abundant.
  • Use a smaller container/basket if you only have a small amount of an item.
  • Have produce artfully “spill over” from containers—the “waterfall effect”.
  • Consolidate items as they are sold to give the appearance of abundance, even when there is not abundance.


Tip #4: Freshen Up.

  • Mist your broccoli, lettuce + other leafy greens with a spray bottle throughout the day to keep them looking fresh.


Tip #5: Grab Your Customer’s Attention.

  • Display something eye-catching near your produce. Putting something unusual at your produce display - a huge pumpkin, for example, gives customers something to talk about, attract people to your produce area, or makes people slow down when passing your market (if visible from the street).





Tip #6: Keep fruits + veggies in the same place.

  • In other words, don’t change the location of your food items for sale from week to week.


Tip #7: Make your items easily accessible to all people, including the physically challenged.


Tip #8: Items should not be placed higher than eye level.


Tip #9: Show names of food items + prices accurately, all the time indicating clearly + legibly the unit price.

  • Signs are best placed above and behind a vegetable
  • Laminate your sign so you can change prices
  • Include product variety name, if you know it





Tip #10: Arrange in baskets or provide bags for items too small or fragile to pack with larger items (ie. figs, cherry tomatoes, peas).

Customers will buy more if items are easy to pick up.


Tip #11: Display items that go well together visually and are commonly used together in recipes.

  • For example, complementary colors like tomatoes + basil


Tip #12: Get your customers excited about new items.

  • The week before trying out a new item, place a sign that says “Coming Next Week: (Name of Fruit or Veggie Here)!”





Tip #13: Smile! Be pleasant with all of your customers, whether they buy or not.

  • They will remember your kindness.


Tip #14: Check out the competition. Educate yourself about what other markets are carrying.

  • That way, you can be of help when customers are looking for certain items.
  • It will also give you ideas for your own market.


Tip #15: Have tips on how to cook or freeze food.

  • Suggestions for shopping healthy on a budget
  • Free recipe cards


Tip #16: Explain how to store items to make them last longer.

  • Customers will buy more.
  • This will help establish the storeowner as a knowledgeable, trustworthy resource.


Thanks to the UC Santa Cruz Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture, from which the above tips are adapted.



Learn more about HEALTHIER INVENTORY . . .


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