Organic and locally produced fruit and vegetables are to be at the heart of Asda’s plans for its fresh produce aisle.
The retailer will increase the number of lines from 25 to 39 in July and 44 in September.
Catherine Fay, marketing manager for produce, said Asda had until now concentrated on basic items, but will now extend its organic lines to include exotic fruits such as melons and kiwis, as well as prepared salads.
In September, it will introduce new English apple varieties to the section, including Braeburn and Cox.
Fay said those who believed typical Asda shoppers were not turned on by organics were wrong. “We over-index on young mothers and when we sit them
down and talk to them about their shopping, they make it very clear they are interested in organic fruit and vegetables.”
Meanwhile, local sourcing has proved such a success for Asda that it is rapidly rolling it out to other parts of the country where it thinks it could be successful.
Strawberries have become the standard bearer for the local-sourcing initiative.
Three years ago, just four Asda stores stocked locally sourced strawberries. By last summer that figure had risen to 42, but this year it will rise to 70.
Mary Ling, Asda’s local produce marketing manager, said that stores stocking locally sourced strawberries had recorded a tremendous surge in sales.
“In some stores where we have introduced local sourcing, we are seeing incremental growth in strawberry sales of 200% year-on-year.
“We are having to recruit more growers in some areas.”
Locally produced apples, potatoes, tomatoes and rhubarb had also been successful.
However, Ling said the concept only worked in stores situated in areas where shoppers had a close affinity with the countryside.
Richard Clarke