How to sell fresh produce in years of economic crisis

(this article was originally published on in January 2013)

In many European countries, the economic crisis is dramatically impacting consumption patterns. And this makes selling fresh produce even more difficult than normal.

Rising unemployment rates, additional taxes, flat salaries – people have simply less money to spend.

So, they postpone some purchases, increase the use of their credit lines, constantly shop for the best offers or price reductions.

In food, discounters and private labels are increasing their market shares.

Attention towards prices is going up and producers are more and more asked to grant promotions by their buying counterparts.

Cutting prices and increasing discounts seem to be the only way to keep on selling.


Unless you have a strong brand.

(ehi, let’s make a pause here: if you are interested in this article, why not subscribing to our Pisani Produce Marketing free newsletter? you wil not miss any new article and also get the free e-book “Introduction to fresh produce marketing”)

You might be thinking – do brands still have a role to play in this scenario?

The answer is yes.

In fresh produce, the main objective of a brand is to obtain a premium price versus unbranded competitors.

If I sell carrot and I have a strong brand, I will get a better price for my carrots than unbranded players.

But to reach this result, my brand has to justify its premium.

She has to explain consumers and buyers why it is worth spending more money for her vs. the others – she has to provide convincing, meaningful, relevant reasons for it.

If my brand does not do it, people will buy unbranded products.

This was the case since the beginning of brands.

The economic crisis has not changed the rules of the game.

The crisis has simply made this need more evident.

It has increased people’ attention to how they spend their money.

My brand will have to work harder and find even more convincing reasons to explain its premium price than before.

In consumer goods, the crisis will make weaker brands disappear.

Those brands that were not able to explain their difference will collapse.

Only strong brands will survive – together with retailers brands and low price products.

Same will happen in produce, where weaker brands will be forced to align their pricing with the lowest in the markets, and this way they will lose any function except indicating the producer name.

It is time to start seriously thinking about this, if you want to sell fresh produce in bad times.

In or out: make your brand a strong one or get organized to be the one that sells at the lowest price.


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