Presentation, transparency shaping consumers’ perception of freshness: Study

New study from Culinary Visions offers ideas on how retailers can utilize displays and packaging to help convey freshness

SHUTTERSTOCK/Maria UspenskayaSHUTTERSTOCK/Maria Uspenskaya

A new study from Culinary Visions finds that retailers can get a product’s freshness across to customers with a few merchandising tips.

“Consumers gravitate towards fresh merchandising cues such as clean and fully stocked display cases. Uncluttered shopping, dining and ordering spaces are also important aspects to consumers’ perceptions on freshness,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions.

According to the Culinary Visions Fresh Perspectives Study, 76% of consumers surveyed reported that a fully-stocked shelf or display case was important to determining freshness.

The cleanliness of merchandising displays is also important to more than 90% of consumers. In addition, roughly two-thirds of consumers surveyed said a clean display case was extremely important to consider food as fresh, while 28% of consumers described that factor as moderately important.

Clutter is also counterproductive to perception of freshness. According to the study, 90% of consumers surveyed said it was important to have a clear and uncluttered shopping, dining or ordering space when buying fresh food. Further, nearly half of consumers surveyed said it was extremely important, while 41% of consumers said it was moderately important.

Looking specifically at on-site foodservice, consumers indicated cleanliness and presentation of a service counter, salad bar or an action station as significant, transparency also plays an important role in defining freshness.

Eighty-five per cent of those surveyed said transparent packaging was “moderately important” or “extremely important” to them when considering freshness of food. In addition, 88% agreed that a label stating when the food was prepared was an important factor in their consideration of the freshness of food.

However, looks aren’t everything. As Culinary Visions found, consumers also allow online and word-of-mouth assessments of stores and restaurants to influence their decision to purchase fresh foods. Specifically, 88% said the reputation of a retail store was important when buying fresh foods.

The Culinary Visions Fresh Perspectives Study surveyed 1,500 consumers to gather comparable data about the key influencing factors impacting fresh food purchasing decisions at home and away from home. This comprehensive report explores fresh perception between age demographics, as well as topics such as merchandising, flavor preferences, customization and convenience.

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