A recent study in the US has found that while consumers prefer loose over packaged fruit, the trend is starting to shift. Fusion, a business-to-business integrated marketing and research agency, sought to uncover the reasons. The number one motive for purchasing fruit in a package is that it makes the selection process easier for consumers.
“Packaged fruit accounts for nearly 80% of category incremental dollar sales growth over a 52-week period compared to the prior year, which added $850.6 million to the category,” the study said. Despite these findings, bulk fruit still accounts for a larger share of total sales. Data shows that 70% of consumers prefer selecting their own fruit, while the remaining 30% opt for packaged goods.
Shoppers also preferred purchasing bulk fruit over packaged due to the perception of freshness, with 64% of shoppers surveyed indicating that they considered fruit to be fresher when in the display bin compared to 36% that indicated packaged was fresher.
Sustainability is another relevant aspect, as consumers are more likely to purchase fruit if it is packaged in eco-friendly or biodegradable packaging. Consumers also preferred bulk fruit to reduce plastic and packaging pollution that is harming animals, their habits and the environment.
Additionally, some shoppers were concerned about their perception of preservatives in prepackaged fruit. Many consumers preferred choosing their own fruit and indicated that “packaging often hides the damaged fruit in a bag or container.
The study concludes that even though bulk fruit is preferred, there is a lot of opportunity for packaged produce to increase sales.
“The industry can take full advantage of this trend with sustainable packaging. We also found that consumers looking for convenience and to make a quick purchase decision will select pre-packaged fruit and smaller package sizes are trending upward,” says Matt Schraut, Fusion’s vice president of analytics and client services.