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Innovation Needed

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Speakers this morning at IDDBA’s seminar/expo all talked about innovating to stay ahead of the pack, and later I saw a display that stood out as a good example of what they meant, I think.

Jeff Noddle, executive chairman of the board of Supervalu, said retailers must be consumer-centric in order to succeed. Looking hard to see what consumers need and then providing it is a must, he said. Then, the next speaker, Dr. Oren Harari, economist and marketing expert, said that in order to grow, retailers must continually offer something the customer isn’t expecting. Top quality products and quick and friendly service are taken for granted, he said. “You have to do better than that.”

After listening to a morningful of suggestions about surviving – and thriving – by implementing new and sometimes wacky-seeming ideas, I walked into IDDBA’s Show & Sell Center and saw people crowding around one particular display. In fact, I had to wait till they cleared away in order to get a good look: Cone-shaped, see-through containers filled with salad were hanging in a row from the top of a display case — right at eye level. I took the photo seen here.

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You could see all the ingredients. There were pepper slices, carrot slices, hunks of crunchy-looking lettuce, beans and chickpeas, and slices of hard-boiled eggs. A customer could dump the whole thing in a bowl at home.

I learned that the flexible, see-through containers were actually pastry bags. They cost retailers about a nickel apiece. Right below those hanging salads, was a line of sub sandwiches, hanging from a rod. They were just about at a child’s eye level.

All I had heard this morning in the seminars I heard again in my head. “Innovate. Think of something different. Get their attention, then you can sell.”

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Liz Webber

Liz Webber is Engagement Director / Fresh Market Editor at Supermarket News. She covers fresh foods for the magazine and creates multimedia, blog posts and other content for the website. She joined...
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