Extending Shelf Life

Retail display at Sacramento Natural Foods

With the holidays looming, properly receiving and storing your produce is of the utmost importance. As a very perishable item, produce needs to be received and stored in the right temperature zone as quickly as possible to reduce loss of product quality. Oliver Wyman, an international retail consulting firm published in a 2014 report titled “A Retailer’s Recipe, Fresher Food and Far Less Shrink”* in which they noted, “Customers who are satisfied with freshness will spend 33% more in the produce department of their primary store compared to those who are not satisfied. At the same time, customers will spend 8% more of their total grocery spend exclusively with the retailers whose produce they are pleased with than the shoppers who are not happy with that store’s produce.”


  • When an order arrives at your store, sign the invoice or packing list; keep one copy for the store and return one to the driver.
  • Review the order for accuracy and damaged product including:
    • Quantity and sizes ordered match product received.
    • Quality meets store standards (note if any issues exist and if credits/returns are needed.)
    • Keep any notes with the invoice and communicate with the vendor in a timely manner to resolve issues.
  • Make sure received product is logged for accounting purposes.


  • Organize and clean coolers and dry storage areas in preparation of a delivery.
  • Never put product directly on the floor to avoid exposure to contaminants.
  • Use a standard dating system for each box as it enters the store; when storing, ensure the date faces out so older produce is pulled first. Educate everyone in the department to understand the dating system.
  • Understand the proper storage area for each item of produce.



*The full Produce Department Manual can be found at veritablevegetable.com in the Customer Toolbox.