While low food prices are important to consumers during a weak economy, Silbermann said this may create a problem for fresh produce. He cautioned against creating a “low-price future” by failing to emphasize unique fruit and vegetable qualities for which consumers may be willing to pay more.
“A price focus screams ‘commodity,’ a value or flavor focus says ‘my product is unique, my product has value,’ Silbermann said. “For many of today’s consumers, it says ‘buy me.’ Why have use-by date on your package when you can have a guaranteed-delicious-by date? Which one would you buy?”
“We are not in the commodity business — we are in the fresh food business,” he added. “We will not increase consumption … we will not achieve greater profitability until these challenges are resolved.”