In its most recent Feedback Group national grocery shopper survey, conducted in May 2022 with more than 1,200 instore shoppers, Lake Success, N.Y.-based Retail Feedback Group found that produce is the second highest rated department, in terms of satisfaction, across all channels, with a rating of 4.29 on a five-point scale and with 51% of those surveyed rating it a five.

While grocery scored higher (4.35), all of the other departments measured received lower satisfaction scores including in-store bakery (4.23), in-store deli (4.19), meat (4.18), and seafood (3.99). 

When shoppers said the produce department in their local store did not meet their expectations, Retail Feedback Group wanted to know why, said Brian Numainville, principal.

Top reasons were price and in-stock availability of product, followed more distantly by variety and quality.

“This price finding isn't surprising, since produce is also the third most mentioned category in our research, in which shoppers would like lower prices, with 8% indicating so, while meat was mentioned by 42% and dairy by 15%.” 

On the plus side, Numainville said, the produce department is an area where shoppers have pleasant interactions with employees.

Among shoppers who indicated they had a pleasant interaction with an employee on their most recent trip, produce registered third with 28% of shoppers mentioning this department, behind only the checkout area (60%) and meat (32%).

“This illustrates the importance of produce in fostering a positive store experience,” he said.