When it comes to fresh food, gaining a shopper’s trust is essential to secure their custom, writes HIM’s Alice Dolling. HIM data shows a significant and direct relationship between trust in a retailer brand and the quality of their fresh produce, meats and bakery. With one-quarter of c-store shoppers saying they would go elsewhere to buy fresh produce and meats, it is clear many shoppers lack confidence in c-stores’ fresh offerings.

In order to gain shoppers’ trust, retailers must first get the basics right, making sure their store is clean, tidy and brightly lit. In a recent millennial focus group, participants said that if a store was “dark and dingy” they wouldn’t buy fresh from it.

When it comes sales, though, retired greys is the group to be focusing on. This group is buying more fresh food than any other group and places the most importance on the quality of fresh produce, meats, baked goods and dairy. Therefore, retailers must ensure this group trusts the quality of their fresh range.

Locally sourcing items provides transparency to customers about where their produce has come from, in turn building confidence in the retailer’s range and increasing their fresh food penetration. Fresh produce, meat and dairy are the top three categories in which shoppers want to see a larger amount of local items. More than half believe locally-sourced products are better than branded and this is where independents, whose fresh food ratings are particularly struggling, could outshine super c-stores.

We know 52% of retailers consider fresh fruit and veg very important for the success of their store, and similarly 39% believe fresh meat and fish to be very important. Data shows an obvious correlation between shoppers’ rating of fresh and their likelihood to recommend the store to their family and friends, supporting the importance retailers place on the category.

Recently, we have seen increased competition from trustworthy retailers providing fresh food, such as Amazon Fresh and Sainsbury’s one-hour delivery. Shoppers now have more options to receive fresh food fast from other retailers they have confidence in - if there was ever a reason to step up your game on fresh, this is it!