Get fresh right and everything else will follow.

That’s what Bestway controller of fresh and chilled food Steve Carter told RN recently as more indies wake up to the opportunities to grow profits by matching mults on fruit and veg.

A good display of produce can create a good first impression that sets the tone for the rest of the store.

It is not the easiest category to get right and, for some, wastage levels continue to be an obstacle.

As part of RN’s ongoing How To guides, we spoke to leading retailers who share their tips on getting the most from fresh.

Display isIndependent convenience retail the single most important factor in getting fresh right. We have gone down the route of stocking fruit and veg in wicker baskets and it really does help to sell more. It’s not a big investment but it creates a really good look. We use a local supplier along with Nisa. The local supplier is great for filling gaps and topping up between deliveries from Nisa. Retailers also need to be ready to change focus at the drop of a hat. For example, we have been selling broccoli and cauliflower since the weather turned a bit cooler. Using a couple of suppliers can help you react quickly.

Harj Dhasee, Nisa Village Stores, Mickleton, Gloucestershire

The most important thing is to make sure you have a supplier who can help you to minimise wastage levels. We work with a local company which means that, not only is everything sourced from with a few miles, but we can put in daily orders as small as a single cucumber. That allows to be fully stocked all the time, but never overstocked. If we have anything that is on the turn, we take it home and eat it. It creates the wrong impression – people don’t even want it reduced. Sourcing fruit and veg locally is important for us. It one of the shop’s main selling points.

Peter Lamb, Lamb’s Larder, Bells Yew Green, East Sussex

We’ve gone foGary Pilsworthr the rustic look. I have a lot of produce out at the front of the store on an old market barrow when the weather permits and I sell twice as much. The trick to keeping it looking good is not to overbuy. I’ve got a local wholesaler and I’ve also got an agreement with another local retailer who travels to the markets in London and sells to me at a slight mark-up. I get a supply every day and I only buy the very best quality. Anything that looks bad has to come straight off.

Gary Pilsworth, Great Offley Stores, Hertforshire

Keeping the display well stocked is absolutely crucial. We get a delivery every day from Musgrave and we’re buying in big enough quantities that that allow us to keep prices competitive and see the volumes pull through. But the biggest advantage of working with a symbol is that we get professional looking PoS that highlights all the new season products. It’s not an easy category to manage and retailers should use their symbol groups to do as much of the work as they can.

Eddie Poole, Poole’s Supervalu, Moira, Craigavon