This weekend I had an experience that reinforced the importance for growers and retailers of knowing and managing the remaining shelf life and quality of their fresh produce.
As I typically do on weekends, I went shopping at my favorite gourmet/high-end grocery store. This is the store I visit when I want to purchase superior quality produce and meats. As I was about to enter the store, my attention was drawn to a fresh produce display sitting just outside the store’s front door. I noticed a sign promoting raspberries at something like $2.50/clamshell. I like raspberries and they’re a nice treat but generally cost $4-$5/clamshell. So, when I saw $2.50 I thought it was a great price and decided I’d spoil myself.
Much to my surprise, when I checked the first clamshell I picked up I found I wasn’t about to spoil myself because I was staring a fuzzy, gray spoiled raspberry right in the face. It wasn’t just starting to mold – it was well on its way to being 100% rotten. Needless to say, I didn’t buy any raspberries that day and I will be suspect of both that brand and the store in the future.
What’s surprising and disappointing about this is that this was a MAJOR BRAND raspberry being sold at a locally well known high-end grocery store. What does it do to their respective reputations when they are offering high-cost fruit for sale that has already expired?
From the retailer’s perspective, if he had known the raspberry had one day or less of shelf life, he could have rejected it and, who knows, maybe it would have found its way onto the shelf at a discount store. From the berry producer’s perspective, the next time I shop for berries, I’ll look for their competitor.
Shelf life prediction − made possible by pallet-level temperature monitoring − can help ensure that this problem never happens. My experience that day cost the store/berry producer my $2.50 but who knows how many other shoppers came away with the same experience I had?
Senior Director of Marketing