"People select to shop at a grocery store based on its produce
offering," says Mark Chenoweth with Carlson AirFlo. It's the
big driver of sales at the grocery store. "This department is a
very competitive market place and we support the retailer in
merchandising its products well. Our equipment can be found in
about half of US grocery stores," adds Chenoweth.
Increased sales and reduced shrink
"Our customers see the immediate effects of merchandising
produce well," said Chenoweth. "First of all, with our equipment
more attractive displays are created which results in higher sales
numbers. Additionally, our equipment supports retailers in
controlling their inventory better. They don't have to put too much
produce out in the store for a display to look attractive. For our
equipment we use anodized aluminum, which keeps temperatures at
desired levels and reduces shrink."
"By upgrading their produce merchandising, it's not uncommon for
retailers to see 5 to 25 percent increases in their sales.
Recently, one of our customers shared that their produce sales
increased by 18 percent and their shrink went down 13 percent after
installing equipment at multiple store locations", mentioned
Trend of vertical merchandising
"In the past four years, we have seen a majority of retailers
going vertical, creating abundant looking displays which maximize
the holding power of the cases. With an ever-increasing
number of SKU's and the trend in organics, retailers need
additional space within the cases, vertical merchandising is a way
to accomplish this," added Chenoweth.
Glass door merchandising
"Over the past few years, we have worked with many retailers
around the country installing glass door merchandising due to the
energy and food safety benefits as glass doors contain better
temperatures. We feel that all retailers will eventually be
guided into using glass doors as governmental regulations from the
Department of Energy and the EPA become more stringent on case
manufacturers to improve case efficiency," said Chenoweth.
"Retailers have challenged the AirFlo team with developing
solutions to keep product faced, easily accessible and to prevent
shrink from excessive product being loaded into the deep cases."
Retailers around the country have started installing glass doors
in their produce area, from California to Iowa to North Carolina.
"A majority of the retailers have found that their sales volume per
store is not affected by the installation of glass doors, in fact,
their produce areas are more profitable from reduced energy,
reduced wear on their refrigeration equipment / less maintenance
and a substantial reduction in shrink. One retailer told me
"for the first time in my company's history, I can honestly state
that our bagged salads are at temperature."
Re-design is overnight
Changing the look of the grocery department doesn't take much
time. Overnight, a retailer can swap out the old equipment with
new, exciting equipment which elevates the department and the store
is ready to open the next morning. "Premium grocery stores as well
as low-end retailers are doing quite well," said Chenoweth. "It is
the mainstream retailers that are struggling with their grocery
departments and would like to make a change. Ranging from $5,000 to
$20,000 we can dramatically change the look of the produce
department," Chenoweth added.
Photo collection helps with decision-making
Retailers have different options for the re-design of their
produce department. A collection of photos can be checked out on
Carlson's website. "People are very visual and usually make a
decision for their re-design based on photos. Our staff of
engineering experts uses the equipment of the customer's choice and
plugs it into a drawing. That way, the customer can immediately see
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