Over the past 15 years, fresh herb sales have increased from 1% or less of a store’s produce sales to over 3% as consumers have taken a bigger interested in incorporating fresh rather than dried herbs into their cooking. As Generation Z and younger Millennials – the first generation raised on meals cooked with fresh herbs – take over their own kitchens, grocers have a huge opportunity to increase their sales even more.
What Drives the Sale of Fresh Bulk Herbs?
ProduceBusiness.com has identified three key factors that have led to an increased demand for fresh bulk herbs. They are:
- Consumers have become more interested in experimenting in the kitchen. The popularity of cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Chopped, and Master Chef have inspired a generation of home cooks to make their meals more interesting, and the pandemic has only fueled this desire by making restaurant meals less accessible.
- Ethnic foods are increasingly popular in the United States, and that means shoppers are moving beyond traditional herbs like basil and parsley and cooking with other fresh bulk herbs like cilantro, lemongrass, and saffron.
- Fresh herbs are viewed as healthier than dried, and today’s consumers are more conscious of making healthy choices when they plan meals at home.
How Can Grocers Increase Fresh Bulk Herb Sales?
Grocers have a great opportunity right now to sell even more fresh bulk herbs and capitalize on a growing demand. There are several ways businesses can successfully meet the demand and increase profits at the same time.
- Variety: Stores are sometimes hesitant to expand their fresh herb display beyond the basics like basil and parsley, but more and more shops are finding success by offering a large selection of traditional and ethnic herbs. Some are carrying 10 or more fresh herb varieties and selling them easily to consumers who are eager to expand their cooking styles.
- Recipe-Ready Packaging: Re-packers have found a market for recipe-ready fresh herb selections that include the right amount of several different herbs that are used in classic recipes like stuffing, chicken soup, seafood, or spaghetti sauce. These appeal to home chefs who don’t want to create waste or purchase more than they need at any given time.
- Know Your Audience: Grocers need to think about their specific customer needs. In New York City, for example, consumers tend to have smaller refrigerators and purchase smaller quantities. Stocking fresh bulk herbs that are packed in smaller amounts will lead to more sales than selling a large bouquet (that may only be appropriate during the holiday season). Knowing what ethnicities and ethnic foods are popular in your area is another way to meet customer demands without stocking items that won’t sell.
What Is the Best Way to Market Fresh Bulk Herbs In-Store?
You’ve expanded your selection, planned the right quantities, and offered a variety of packaged options. Now what? The biggest challenge for grocers trying to increase their fresh bulk herb sales is a lack of education on the consumer’s part. Some excellent marketing tricks for fresh herbs include:
- Featuring fresh herbs near other relevant produce: You might pair cilantro with avocados and tomatoes, key ingredients for a favorite recipe, guacamole. Chives can be placed near potatoes to remind consumers how well they go together.
- Including recipes or images of fresh herbs in use: Shoppers don’t always know how to use fresh herbs in their cooking, so make sure to show them by featuring new recipes or take-home recipe cards, pictures, and in-store demos to engage them at the right time.
- Offering small discounts: Encourage consumers to try something new by reducing the price point just a little bit. Fresh bulk herbs don’t have a lot of pricing ups-and-downs, so there isn’t a lot of wiggle room for promotions, but there is some.
Let’s make 2021 the best year yet for fresh bulk herbs! Contact us today to set up your account or place a new order.