No grocery store or bulk warehouse is complete without a produce department. The colors, smells, and offerings of these departments are a staple of the shopping experience, and they contain many items vital to our daily lives — be it for healthier snacking or for crucial cooking and baking components.

But what does a top-tier produce department consist of? Behind the scenes (and in front of them) there are several factors that contribute to a produce department’s quality — most of which are rooted in the consumer experience.

Here are a few ways to make your produce department the best it can be.


Freshness is key

An obvious question commonly comes to mind when pondering the quality of any grocery department: are the department’s products fresh and safe? In produce, this question stands as the foundation of the department’s overall operation. A good produce staff should remain versed in freshness and ripeness indicators in every fruit and vegetable offered to consumers. For example, if a banana bushel has become brownish-black and bruised, it should be removed from the shelf as soon as possible (preferably long before it gets to this extreme to begin with). Make sure your produce workers are constantly keeping products fresh by means of a healthy rotation process and item turnover system.


Implement local tastes

If your produce department is located in an area rich in local produce production (farms, roadside stands, etc.), or an area known for the plentifulness of a specific crop, be sure to highlight these local strengths in your own produce offerings. For example, purchase and resell crops that have been grown locally and advertise them as such. You could also make a locally prominent crop an equally prominent centerpiece of your department (if you live in an area known for its apples, for example, put extra emphasis on a large apple section). In both scenarios, your shoppers will navigate your department knowing they are purchasing products that are especially fresh. After all, who doesn’t like food that is homegrown?


Beef up your displays

As previously noted, the appearance of a produce department alone is a highlight of many consumers’ shopping experience. Therefore, it might be wise to emphasize the display and aesthetics of your produce department as a whole. Put added effort into your displays so they are equal parts enticing and effective in terms of getting your products out in the open. If accomplished correctly, your shoppers will feel no other choice but to buy your products.