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costs by picking and delivering as quickly as possible and  guring out better solutions for the last mile.”
Steve Oroszlany, procurement manager at Wakefern Food Corp., Keasby, NJ, echoed
the view of others that stores must become part of the community and tailor product mix to customer in order to be successful.
Vic Savanello, vice president of produce for The Fresh Market, Greensboro, NC,
noted that “produce must be extraordinary to attract retail customers in a competi- tive marketplace. Its format, package or recipe has to differ from the competition. In specialty retail, I need suppliers to get new products to me that have great  avor and are ahead of the curve.”
Caitlin Tierney, director of produce and  oral for 99 Cents Only Stores, Los Angeles, pointed out her chain’s customer “is trying to cut corners and  nd ways to drive cost down. Produce is the largest department in the store; it differentiates us and it drives foot traf c. Customers buy with us because they can’t get the same item for the same cost at other places.”
Maria Wieloch, senior category manager fruit, vegetables and  owers for ICA Gruppen in Helsingborg, Sweden, wants vendors to set taste as a priority. “We believe that consis- tent taste drives consumption. Customers also want variety. Swedish values have been changing, so we rely on individual prod- ucts that support values-based retailing, for example, environmentalism. We take into account what customers want, and we have those items our stores.”
Stephan Weist, director of category management for Rewe Group Buying GmbH in Cologne, Germany, noted that growth in discounters has pushed lower pricing with better margins. “For the past 10 years, we have focused on service and freshness across our overall assortment. Plus, sustainability is important to consumers. We have been growing much faster than discounters. Today, we don’t start our journey in production; we start with the consumer and work backwards to specify which varieties should be grown. We’ve diversi ed supply and look for part- ners in other countries that have the right social standards. We have a responsibility to the marketplace.”
Tim York, president of Markon Cooper- ative, Salinas, CA, noted that today’s kids don’t go to the supermarket, and people in general spend more food dollars away from home. “Foodservice in markets is the fastest-growing segment because of conve- nience; people can eat in the store or take food home. Delivery is the biggest challenge because it has to deliver an experience.”
‘Produce must be extraordinary to attract retail customers in a competitive marketplace. Its format, package or recipe has to dif- fer from the competition. In specialty retail.’
— Vic Savanello, The Fresh Market

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