Dragon fruit, purple kohlrabi, feijoa, malanga — today’s produce department has become a multicultural feast of vibrant and enticing offerings.
Fueled by a combination of growing ethnic demographics, self-proclaimed foodies, and millennial shoppers who want what’s new and different, sales of exotic produce are on the rise.
“With over 66% of consumers eating a greater variety of ethnic foods today than five years ago, it makes sense that the consumer response to tropicals has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Marion Tabard, director of marketing for Turbana Corp., in Coral Gables, Fla.
When people hear the word “exotic,” colourful, faraway lands typically come to mind. In some cases, however, unique produce is closer to home than one might think.
The produce department has never been more important to a supermarket’s success than it is today, according David Ciancio, senior customer strategist with Dunnhumby, an international customer science firm based in Ireland, with US headquarters in Cincinnati.
“What’s exotic to one person might be an everyday item in a different ethnic group, so be careful what you define as ‘exotic,’” he adds. “Cherimoya is not exotic in the Latin community. It’s also important to understand the shopper’s level of affluence and lifestyle.”- Progressive Grocer