Providing Fresh Produce in Small Food Stores
Distribution challenges & solutions for healthy food retail
Around the country, healthy food retail initiatives are seeking solutions that increase produce quality and quantity in small stores.
The produce supply and distribution networks present real barriers for small retailers seeking to source produce. Some wholesalers have minimum purchase requirements or delivery fees that are cost-prohibitive for small food retailers. Others offer produce only by the case, in quantities that are too large for small stores to sell before the product spoils, or they charge fees to cover the cost of splitting cases. For stores in remote rural communities, the cost of transportation to deliver produce may be another significant barrier.
Even in places where produce is available through local distributors, store owners may lack the skills or equipment to properly manage produce. Store owners may perceive a lack of demand or lack the tools to assess customer demand for fresh products. When produce lingers on the shelf, quality quickly deteriorates, which leads to waste and loss of revenue. These factors work together to push owners toward a business model that relies on heavily-processed foods, tobacco, and alcohol.
ChangeLab Solutions developed Providing Fresh Produce in Small Food Stores to provide a range of promising, innovative strategies for overcoming the challenges of sourcing and marketing fresh produce at affordable prices.