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  • Food Fight In The Grocery Store?

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    9 times out of 10 when you walk into a grocery store, the fruits and vegetables are the first thing you see. There is something nice and refreshing about this....but how long will this last? Sarah Nassauer of The Wall Street Journal discusses the possible redesign of grocery store in her article:

    Supermarkets, trying to redesign their stores amid increasing competition, are confronting a growing truth: Packaged-food manufacturers want to sit next to the lettuce.

    Packaged-food manufacturers that make products like cheese and juice hope to cozy up to colorful and fragrant tomatoes, apples and pumpkins—in some cases fundamentally changing traditional store layouts.

    The produce section has become the equivalent of the popular kids' school-lunch table. The area is increasingly located near the supermarket entrance, so every shopper passes through it. And stores are finding that consumers consider even packaged foods placed there to be fresher and higher quality—researchers call this a "halo effect."

    But some grocers are grumbling, wanting to keep packaged goods from invading the produce section, which they say gives them "freshness credibility" that distinguishes them from the competition, such as warehouse clubs and convenience stores. With limited space, grocers are most likely to display fresh, high-margin items in the produce section.

    In a Supervalu Inc. survey of consumers in November, 92% of shoppers said fresh produce was the No. 1 factor in choosing a grocery store. (Meat came in second.) Fresh produce is "the first thing people see and really sets the tone for somebody's shopping experience," says Mike Siemienas, a spokesman for Supervalu, the third-largest traditional grocery company in the U.S.

    Kraft Foods Inc. has envisioned its ideal setup. In the old way, dairy cases were located at the back of the store, so shoppers would be tempted by other products on their way to buy milk and eggs. In the Kraft vision, the dairy department would be moved to the front, near produce, meat and seafood, says Art Sebastian, director of shopper insights and category development for the company. Research at Kraft, the world's second-largest packaged food company, after Nestle SA, shows that the move, along with other measures, would help "play up the fresh factor, the cooking factor," of its products, he says.

    Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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