Los Alamitos, CA (May 2020) – With COVID-19 and local social distancing restrictions, summer this year may feel a bit different. In order to help understand consumer sentiment and how it may impact the produce aisle, Frieda’s Specialty Produce commissioned consumer research to help predict shopper behavior and aid retailers in their planning this summer.

The May 2020 survey1 shows that 56% of consumers say they plan to vacation less and feel less excited about summer than in the past because of social distancing requirements. So, what will consumers be doing to cope?

“Based on our research, we predict that consumers will be looking for small moments of fun and escape, as the new normal takes hold,” says Cindy Sherman, Frieda’s director of marketing. “We like to call these #microescapes. You may not be able to go on vacation, or even out to dinner, but you can turn an afternoon in the backyard into a Polynesian escape with a fresh coconut.”

During times of economic uncertainty, consumers are likely to avoid big expenditures like new cars, but small splurges like a latte or smoothie help keep spirits up. And, grilling at home and picnicking will be in full force, as consumers look to get outside in small social circles and as they have a little extra time on their hands to kick things up a notch.
What does this mean for the grocery store and the produce aisle? Now—more than ever—a variety-driven assortment is key. A treasure-hunt mentality will be strong this summer, as shoppers look for unique items to make their picnics and grilling extra special. Grilling shishito peppers and jackfruit pods, and pairing them with cocktails by the backyard kiddie pool, is the new beachside dining. In lieu of sampling, retailers may want to use a hands-off approach this summer and instead use signage to make these items inviting to try.

Consumers are also turning to tropicals to help them #microescape. Fruit and cheese platters with dragon fruit, rambutan and lychee bring a slice of the exotic to any picnic or kitchen table. Frieda’s recommends taking advantage of this by making sure your tropicals tables are bountiful and enticing to encourage these impulse sales.

Call your Frieda’s account manager today for assortment recommendations and POS support to make the most of your summer sales and help your shoppers #microescape.

1 May 2020. C+R Research Omnibus Survey. Sample size of 1,000 people. Representative of total U.S. demographics.

About Frieda’s Inc.

Frieda’s Specialty Produce has been inspiring new food experiences for friends, families and food lovers everywhere since 1962. From kiwifruit and dragon fruit to Stokes Purple® sweet potatoes and habanero peppers, Frieda’s has introduced more than 200 unique fruits and vegetables to the U.S. marketplace. Founded by produce industry trailblazer Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan, subject of the 2015 documentary “Fear No Fruit,” the family company is owned and operated by Frieda’s daughters, Karen Caplan and Jackie Caplan Wiggins, in Orange County, California. Find Frieda’s on Facebook, @FriedasProduce and Friedas.com. Inspire. Taste. Love.

Yes, you read that correctly. This past Sunday I completed my first half-marathon—13.1 miles.

That may not seem like a big deal … but, please note: I am not a runner. The last time I ran a 5K or a 10K was more than 15 years ago. You might wonder what motivated me to complete a half-marathon, so here goes.

Let me start with my goals for the year. Many of you know that I started a new process back in December of setting some annual goals for myself (read about it here).  Some were weekly (number of workouts), some were monthly (number of books I read or dinners with my family) or annual (number of trips or vacations). Many of those goals were centered around fitness, such as how many times a week I would exercise. Plus, I wrote in my annual goals that I would complete a 10K this year. But frankly, I thought that accomplishment was far-fetched, since I couldn’t even run a full mile continuously.

Then enter the COVID-19 pandemic. No more visits to the gym I had just joined. No more weekend cardio-intense fitness classes at Orangetheory Fitness. No more twice-weekly weight training sessions with my strength coach. I was very concerned about how I would maintain the fitness level I had been working on. Obviously, without the disciplined fitness routine I had, my biggest concern was: would I gain weight?

So, my partner Jack and I started taking evening walks at the end of our work days. What began as a “sauntering walk” around the neighborhood evolved into two-hour mini-hikes. With our phones and tracking devices, we found ourselves making sure we completed at least 3 miles each night, and oftentimes those evening walks were 5-6 miles long. Sometimes the route was flat; other times we did a battery of hills and mountain trails. Our favorites were when we could walk the beach trail and see the sunset. But, thanks to the virus, those beach trails were closed, and we had to stay in the hills near our house.

One of the things that made these evening walks so enjoyable was that I had a partner. And I noticed we weren’t the only people in our neighborhood going for long regular walks. Over time, especially since mid-March, we started to see more and more groups of people walking together. Sometimes families (adults and children together), sometimes couples, and sometimes groups of same-sex friends. And over time, we saw more smiles—people got friendlier!

We started to see groups of runners or people riding bicycles together—it actually was quite a phenomenon! Since our goal was to walk every night, we started to meet our neighbors. We noticed who had dogs. One day, as we were leaving the house, a couple walked past and stopped to announce, “Hello – we think we are your next door neighbors!” I don’t know about you, but because I was usually at work from early morning until early evening, I never got a chance to meet or see my neighbors. Now that I am often working from home, and walking around the neighborhood, we are starting to meet them. What a nice side benefit of walking the neighborhood!

So, back to the half-marathon. Early last week, Jack said to me, “I think we should do a half-marathon this weekend.” I’m like … “What????” (Full disclosure, Jack has run 95 marathons, completed 15 Ironman Triathlons and is very into running.)

He said, “I have been watching you ‘build your base’ of walking strength, and you are easily completing one or two 5-mile walks a day. A half-marathon is only 13.1 miles, and we can walk it!” Wow—I never thought about completing a marathon by walking it, but that definitely sounded more doable than running it. He said, “The Marines are hosting a ‘virtual half-marathon’ this weekend and we can register online. And that means, once we complete it and give proof of our time and mileage (by uploading a photo of his Garmin Watch), you will get a really cool medal and T-shirt to commemorate your first half- marathon!”

That sounded so exciting to me—to have a medal, a completion certificate and a cool T-shirt—and so I said, “I’m in.” Jack was able to answer all my questions about best time of day to do it (early morning, when it is cool), proper nutrition (pack snacks with salt and plan where you can purchase water along your route) and what to wear (proper socks, running shoes, sunscreen, etc.)

I have to admit that I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this in advance, and I was a bit skeptical that I would be able to complete a 13.1-mile walk in a reasonable time. But, I did it! And it wasn’t as hard as you might have expected it would be.

Here’s how you can set yourself up for similar success, especially if you want to step outside your fitness comfort zone:

  1. Set a fitness goal for yourself. It’s okay if it seems a bit outlandish or far-reaching.
  2. Get a partner, an accountability partner, who shares your goal. It sure makes it easier, especially on those days you don’t feel like training.
  3. Set yourself up for success by having a regular training schedule. Record it manually (it reinforces your commitment by having to write it down).
  4. Tell everyone you can what you plan to do. It’s another way to hold yourself accountable, by making a public announcement. I chose to announce it afterwards, but feel free to enlist your supporters early!
  5. Celebrate when you achieve your goal.  You never know, by sharing your personal success or achievement, you might actually inspire others!

And that’s why I decided to share the story of completing my first half-marathon. I am pretty sure there are more half-marathons in my future. Now that I know that I can walk it, or mix in both jogging with walking, my next half-marathon goal will be beating my first completion time.

How about you? In this time of the pandemic, and virtual cocktail parties, why not sign up for a virtual 5K, 10K, or half-marathon? It’s a great way to step up your game!



During the last eight weeks, there has been a single topic on our minds: when will the sheltering in place and disruption of the COVID-19 virus be over?

Well, since no one has the answer to this question right now, I want to share a different perspective.

No matter what is going on in your mind or in your life, you should ask yourself this question: Are my best years behind me or are my best years ahead of me?

The reality is … we all get to choose! Frankly, I believe strongly that it is all a mindset (consider this great book: Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.).

Sure, you could lament about the “good old days” and “the way it used to be,” or you could change your perspective. If you buy into the idea that the best days in your life are truly ahead of you—and you believe in that—it can actually make it exciting to get up each day!

First of all, you would say to yourself: How can I make that happen? How can I ensure that the best days of my life are ahead of me? What would cause that to happen? And what stands in the way? Well, really nothing stands in the way.

It’s all about how do you want to live your life. How do you guarantee that your life is full of joy and excitement? What things would have to happen to make your future the best part of your life?

Start by making a list. Make a list of all the things that you want to do, or you want to happen. Places you want to go, people to see, hobbies to learn, and so on. List things that would make your future years the best ones.

Some might refer to this as a “bucket list.” It doesn’t have to be outrageous, unless there are some outrageous things you want to do. For example, bungee jumping is not on my list, but visiting the Grand Canyon is. Taking a vacation several times a year is on my list and so is having family dinners with my daughters at least once a month.

Think about it, to have a sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction, it’s good to create that road map with stops along the way. If this sounds too organized and goal-oriented for you, you might find it interesting to learn that more people spend time planning their annual one-week vacation than they do planning their life. Why not think bigger than only planning an annual vacation?

It’s long term thinking vs. short term thinking.

Back to the COVID-19 sheltering-in-place time we are in, it is easy to feel like the sky is falling. But let’s put this into perspective based on our own history.

It was over 30 years ago that HIV and AIDS were discovered and famed basketball player Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. He immediately retired from professional sports. When diagnosed, he could easily have thought his best days were behind him. Today, in 2020, Magic Johnson is better known for his incredible success as a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and civic business leader than as a basketball player. Clearly, his best days were in front of him, even when he was faced with what seemed like a life-or-death situation.

During the financial crisis of 2008, bankers and investors saw their fortunes disappear in the economic downturn. People could easily have told themselves that their lives as they knew it were over and that their fortunes would never be restored. The smart folks, with a growth mindset, didn’t give up and some of them are significantly wealthier today than they were pre-2008. They leveraged their experience and saw an opportunity for a different kind of success. Certainly, their best days were in front of them.

What about when the dot.com bubble burst in 2000? Sure, in the short term, many companies almost completely lost their value. But now, tech companies like Facebook, Alphabet (Google) and Amazon are all booming and their owners and investors are successful beyond belief. But in 2000–2002, it sure seemed to appear as if the world was ending. I bet Jeff Bezos would have said his best years were ahead of him.

Back to the question: Are your best days behind you, or are the best years of your life in front of you? Ultimately, you get to decide.

Perhaps you can think about the base of experiences you have built pre-COVID. The experiences, the contacts, the habits. Can you now leverage all that experience to make your future years even better?

For me, the easiest choice I make every day is to only worry about those things I have control over. Everything else is not worth a worry.

For example, my personal health and fitness are within my control. Some people would see it as a hurdle or excuse that all gyms are closed. For me, my trainer is now 60 miles away since I moved. But my health is within my control, and so instead I have taken up vigorous walking and hiking every afternoon. Five-mile walks with plenty of hills are my new routine. I dusted off all those free weights gathering dust in my garage and have now converted a spare bedroom into a mock gym.

So, as you are pondering how you can guarantee that your best days are ahead of you, consider these three perspectives:

For me, I know the best days of my life ARE in front of me and no pandemic or sheltering-in-place guidelines can stop me from enjoying life! How about you?