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    United Fresh & NACS Provide a Primer on Produce

    Report offers trends analysis and practical ideas.

    ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, and the United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) published a primer to help sell more produce in convenience stores. Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores combines analysis of industry and consumer trends with practical ideas to develop an enhanced produce offering in stores.

    "We have seen a dramatic increase for customer demand for fresh produce at convenience stores, and this resource was developed to communicate the huge opportunities for everyone in the distribution chain, from farm to store," said NACS Chairman of the Board Steve Loehr, vice president of operations with La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. "A recent NACS member survey reaffirms the importance of produce; 62 percent of members say that produce is important to their business plans in 2015."

    This publication is the first deliverable from the partnership that NACS and United Fresh formed in June 2014 to identify best practices to grow c-store produce sales. More than two dozen retailers, distributors and produce companies helped develop and review the booklet.

    The primer can be downloaded here in PDF form.

    "Through contributions from NACS and United Fresh member companies participating in this effort, we have identified solutions in the distribution and merchandising of fresh produce, which ultimately will lead to new opportunities for produce suppliers, distributors and convenience store retailers to grow sales," said United Fresh Chairman of the Board Ron Carkoski, president and CEO of the Four Seasons Family of Cos.

    A first step in this process is to build the business case for selling produce in c-stores to the three critical groups: suppliers, distributors and retailers, according to the announcement.

    The 26-page primer includes:

    • Demand, products and consumer trends that can affect sales success;
    • An overview of produce customer demographics and sales trends in convenience stores;
    • Key elements to consider in developing and executing a successful produce program;
    • Suggestions for how to start a program based on one retailer's experience; and
    • An example of a fresh build-to book including background methodology.

    NACS and United Fresh are developing follow-up resources to help interested retailers determine the level of fresh produce they can efficiently offer at stores and a checklist of critical areas to examine, as well as planning educational sessions for upcoming industry events. They are also examining how to manage costs associated with more frequent delivery of fresh produce to stores, merchandising techniques and handling procedures to minimize spoilage, and marketing strategies to communicate this offer to consumers.

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