Fresh Produce Display Ideas and Merchandising Tips

Guidelines for setting up produce displays.

In many ways setting up visually interesting and exciting produce displays is much like establishing a garden.

The five most important elements are Colour, Landscaping, Texture, Containers and Props, Communication and Decor.

The following are a few tips on using these five elements to help you create appealing displays for your customers, increase sales and maximise profits from your produce department.

For photographic images showing suggested ways to set up a produce department have a look at our Photo Gallery #1 and for some great in-store images see Photo Gallery #3


  To find out more about produce Display Ideas and Merchandising Tips scroll down the page: 





  •  As a consumer how often do you go to a shop to buy just one item .... but you come out with several items you did not plan on buying?
  • Your customers are the same. Over 65% of their buying decisions are made on impulse inside your store. Creative, eye-catching produce displays will encourage your customers to maximise these impulse purchases.
  • Typically the produce section is the first section they see when they walk in to a shop. If it looks unpleasant they are likely to make the decision to shop elsewhere.
  • It is vitally important that your produce displays look as appetising as possible. If your customers see poorly organised displays of fruit and vegetables when they walk in to your shop they are likely to think that all of the produce is of poor quality. Even if you have the freshest produce available if it is not displayed well it might as well not be there.
  • Great produce displays can be achieved by carefully layering, stacking and arranging the items according to tried and true principles. You staff should be properly trained in these principles.
  • You can learn a lot about creating stunning produce displays by visiting the produce departments of the major supermarket chains or gourmet produce retailers. The following five elements are some of their secrets.

DISPLAY ELEMENT #1: The Importance of Colour



  • The use of contrasting colours is one of the simplest ways to quickly add visual impact to your produce displays and make the produce more tempting to your customers.
  • Produce should be displayed to make the colours appear more vibrant, attractive and mouth watering. Take the time to plan your display so it shows off the rainbow of colours of the products you have in stock. By repeating blocks of contrasting colours throughout your displays also encourages your customers to scan the entire display and view all you have to offer. Greater time is spent looking at the produce which increases impulse purchases.
  • When setting up your vegetable displays start with warm tones such as those of tomatoes and them move into green vegetables  like, asparagus, lettuce and cabbage. Try and avoid overlapping the different colours and types of vegetables. Repeat these rainbow arrays for the fruits. Start with the warmer toned strawberries and citrus and them move to the grapes for example.
  • In the larger supermarket chains it is uncommon to see a large cluster of green vegetables all together. Green fruits and vegetables are interspersed with brighter coloured produce. Green lettuce will be displayed next to red lettuce and radicchio. Green peppers are next to red and yellow peppers. Green apples next to red apples.
  • Some stores set up their displays by grouping related products rather than just concentrating on the colour aspects of the display. For example, grouping the salad produce together and arranging the lettuce, tomatoes and other salad ingredients in the same location. Arranging your produce in this way will seem logical to your customers. And by adding related items like salad dressings, croĆ»tons, and fresh herbs it will make it easier for customers to select the ingredients they may require for their favourite recipes. Even if you decide to group your produce by type rather than colour still aim to create that visually exciting rainbow effect of alternating colours.
  • Also see Lighting for Fresh Produce Displays




DISPLAY ELEMENT #4: Landscaping and the Use of Use of Props


  • By landscaping we mean displaying the produce at varying heights throughout the display. This creates visual excitement and more appealing displays. And uses less stock to maintain the look of abundance.
  • If you look at the produce displays of the major supermarket chains you will notice that most, if not all of the displays are tiered or angled. Very little of the displays are flat and horizontal.
  • The lowest part of supermarket tiered displays are typically at the front and the display rises up towards the back. The largest or bulkiest items on these tiered displays are at the bottom and the smallest items at the top. This method of display is used to present more produce to the customer in a small area.
  • Presenting the produce in this tiered way also makes the display look more attractive. The displays always look full. And less produce is required to create the look of fullness.
  • Typically a variety of products are used to make these tiered displays appear even more attractive. The use of tiered and angled merchandise when combined with the use of contrasting colour discussed above creates an artistic arrangement that subliminally tempts your customers into buying.
  • Fruit and vegetable look their best when they appear full and heaped up in their containers.
  • Do not select containers that are too large. Half empty containers look unappealing. And over-large large containers filled to capacity can cause damage to the items at the bottom. Instead, select the most appropriate size container and maintain a look of abundance. Continually heap fruits and vegetables as customers take from the top. Tilt the containers forward so they appear filled.
  • Use the space you have available wisely. If your shop is small use smaller display containers and put less of each item out on display.
  • Many fruits and vegetables display better if they are removed from their original packaging. Fresh, bright red carrots are a good example. And this allows your customers to better assess the quality and freshness of the produce. Leaving the leaves on new season carrots for example adds to the appearance of freshness.
  • If items are supplied to you with excess stems or leaves, such as celery or carrots, remove the excess pieces so that the item fits attractively and firmly into the display container. Special display containers are available for items like celery, spring onions leeks and fennel.


Ramps will add the appearance of
fullness to your Produce Binss.


 Use the correct size tubs and trays
on sloping supports to present more produce to your customers.


 Special curved display modules
are available to correctly display
large cut fruit. 





 Fruit Separator Trays will help you to create stable stacks of fruit with the minimum amount of stock.

Use tiered display units to display
items like punnets and bagged

Use tiered display units to display
items like punnets and bagged

DISPLAY ELEMENT #3: Texture and Contrast


  • Varying textures throughout the displays helps create visual interest. Opposing textures work well - rough with smooth, shiny with dull etc.
  • Specific use of textural contrasts in produce displays include the mixing of containers made from natural-look display materials (for example, poly-wicker-type containers) with synthetic containers like plastic display tubs.
  • Feature displays of apples can look great in barrels and timber crates. Don't fill the entire container. Use filler such as raffia. Or lay a few of these special containers on their sides and arrange the produce so it is cascading out of the barrel for example.
  • We are all familiar with how contrasting colours are used when displaying the green and red of truss tomatoes. Or baby carrots with the leaves left intact. Or leaving some of the green leaves on rhubarb. But how about leaving the contrasting glossy green leaves on lemons and oranges.
  • Add several large or one super large pumpkin to the display to add visual interest and create a talking point.
  • Or add a basket of decorative gourds or heritage pumpkin varieties to your displays.




DISPLAY ELEMENT #4: Communication of Product Information


Effective signage is an important component of successful produce merchandising. Discerning customers require more information about the fruit and vegetables they purchase:

  • Accurate Prices
    And retailers require flexible ticketing systems to change price instantly.
  • Product Description
    It is no longer acceptable to just call an item "Grapes". Customers demand more information. Are they new season? Are they seedless? Do packed products contain allergens?
  • Units of Measure
    Is the item being sold by the kilo, pack, or bag. Is the displayed price a "2 for $5.00"?
  • Country of Origin
    The information is now required by law. Click here for details.
  • Organic or Non Organic
    There is an increasing trend to organic produce. Click here for more information.
  • Nutritional Information
    Supplying additional information is a great way to increase sales.
  • Cooking Methods
    Is the potato suitable for boiling, frying or roasting? Or all of these cooking methods.





Decor - The Finishing Touch


  • Decor refers to the finishing touches for your displays.These tie the other 4 elements together to attract your customer's attention.
  • Examples include adding high quality imitation fruit and vegetables to the display. Or adding large format graphics to add to the ambiance of you store. Talk to your graphic designer or signwriter about the best way to incorporate wide format graphics into your displays.




Please Note


The information contained on this page is provided for the general interest of our customers.

It is beyond the scope of this web site to provide advice to individual customers on setting up produce displays. We are not display consultants.