Veg sales soar when prices fall

Cutting the price of fruit and vegetables has the potential to drive a significance increase in sales, according to new industry research.

An in-store trial at Sainsbury’s showed a 78% uplift in promoted fruit and vegetable sales when prices were reduced.

It is the first finding in a series of retail trials aimed at shifting people towards healthier, more sustainable diets as part of a collaboration between IGD, food companies and the University of Leeds.

Sainsbury’s reduced the price of fruit and vegetables to 60p in stores across the country for four weeks in both January 2020 and January 2021. The supermarket also gave prominent placement to promoted fruit and vegetables, and used bright, visually appealing colours and taste cues to champion the health credentials of fruit and vegetables.

The price reductions led to a 78% uplift in sales of promoted products in 2020 and 56% during the January 2021 coronavirus national lockdown, compared to the baseline year. This was equivalent to an additional 4.9 million portions of fruit and vegetables sold across both promotional periods.

Fruit and vegetable sales also increased beyond the items on offer; and although sales of promoted fruit and vegetables did decline after the promotions ended, the rate of decline reduced year-on-year suggesting that some customers carried their healthier eating habits forward.

“This report explores our initial findings, which already shows a positive impact through nudge tactics, pricing and product placement,” said Susan Barratt, IGD CEO. “This is a hugely exciting project, demonstrating the genuine opportunity our industry has to make healthy and sustainable diets easier and more accessible for everyone.”

Further trials involving several UK retailers are already underway with results due to be shared in 2022.

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