The 3 Rs: Retrim, Refresh, Repurpose–Part 1

By Anthony Totta

Labor is at an all-time premium—especially skilled, experienced labor—in today’s perishable departments. However, a perishable department that is committed to keeping the fundamentals of merchandising front and center of each and every day will be highly successful. Why? Because it is the consumers’ expectation. The care in merchandising is noted by every single shopper—whether loyal or causal. Shoppers want fresh, high-quality produce.

One hallmark of an exceptional department is the leafy green veg and veg salad sections. Loudest praise, or strongest critical statements, are about these sections. Crisping is a key I learned early on as I managed the produce department. Keeping these items crisp and visually pleasing set the freshness stage and message for the entire department.

  • Napa
  • Bok Choy
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Bulk Spinach
  • Leafy lettuces
  • Green top radishes
  • Leeks
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Green Cabbage
  • Red Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Green Onions

In a perfect sales environment, daily sell-through of everything on the “wet rack” is the ultimate goal. BUT for those items that did not sell-through today, focused attention must be given at the end of the day to keep up the image and the customer satisfaction. This attention involves the items being RETRIMMED, REFRESHED, OR REPURPOSED.

In 2008, I created a Facebook public group page called Produce Pros. The purpose of this group is to allow anyone who is a merchandiser/retailer to post photos of their merchandising skills. Recently, a comment came up about the idea of trimming and crisping products and that total sell-through is the ideal of Plan A, but Plan B is to re-trim, re-package, or re-purpose. I think most produce people know what re-trim is but maybe re-purpose needs some explanation.

What for the next post to that will outline more details and steps for the 3 Rs.

Interested in joining our Facebook Group: Produce Pros? This group’s purpose is to encourage and showcase the merchandising of those working in retail produce departments. Produce Pros

Here’s the results of the FreshXperts survey on Crisping.

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Jennifer Lawson



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