How to control product shrinkage by customers

Damage Control in the Produce Aisle 

For the uninitiated, fresh produce shrink is common to every produce department and is mainly caused by the handling of the product, which in turn induces enough damage to make the product unsellable at its full potential price. Unfortunately, the people involved in what’s technically referred to as ‘mechanical damage’ happens to be customers and employees. Thousands of hours and collective brainpower have been harnessed to combat this conundrum.

Produce Shrinkage - Bell Peppers

Shrink from customer interaction is typically caused by over handling or dropping of fragile items in a way that causes bruising or exterior damage. FreshSource takes a hands-on approach to helping produce managers understand how to best handle and display products we represent, with field representatives visiting stores and visually inspecting displays on a daily basis.

Below are five best practices that we advocate to reduce shrinkage from customer handling:

  1. Positioning: Do not place products on too steep of an angle — as customers shop, it increases the likelihood that the product will tumble to the floor and crack or bruise.
  2. Display: Position products in a manner that is easy for a customer to pick up and inspect. Displaying your broccoli all-stems-down may have an excellent visual appeal, but each customer will be grabbing the product from the top and breaking or crumbling portions of the florets every time they examine the display.
  3. Communication: Place a sign or sticker to indicate that a product is ripe so that customers do not feel the need to squeeze every peach or avocado in your perfectly arranged display.
  4. Packaging: Place loose items like field greens and beans in containers or bins that reduce the likelihood of the product being dropped or stepped on.
  5. Signage: For heavy items that require a helping hand, use sign displays to encourage shoppers to ask for assistance loading their cart. This will reduce waste from melons and pumpkins accidentally splattering onto the floor.

Although most produce departments come staffed with fully competent management and personnel, FreshSource ensures each store has the equipment they need to display and distribute our product vendor inventory 24/7/365.

Have questions regarding product shrinkage and how you can combat it? Reach out to us today for a complimentary product evaluation and we will provide you with tangible ideas on how to keep your displays in optimal condition.