Roger Pepperl Shares Stemilt Growers’ Merchandising Tips and Product Availability
WENTACHEE, WA - The holidays provide an ample opportunity for bringing fresh produce to the forefront of the retail spread. Whether with bins of fruit that line a path for the consumer into the store, well-detailed displays, or cross-merchandising departments to bring fresh to the basket—the best suppliers tap into the season to bring more value to their retail partners.
Stemilt Growers offers a go-to program as we get into the holidays, with vision and resources to carry the buyside into the new year.
“Lucky for us, apples, pears, and their organic versions are key holiday items in the fruit category. So for us, we promote a lot of bulk larger-sized apples and pears for the holidays as people put them out in baskets and cut them up for holiday snacks,” Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director, shares with me. “We are really featuring Honeycrisp in a big way. We also have big features on Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji, and, yes, even Red Delicious because of its brilliant color. Our trademarked variety, Piñata®, is also a great variety because of its superiority in the kitchen for baking, salads, and sauté uses.”
While I love apples just as they are, it is ideal to have a variety like the Piñata with its great culinary usages due to a parentage of Golden Delicious, Orange Cox Pippen, and Duchess of Oldenburg. The apple takes heat very well and has the acids that deliver flavor with great texture that doesn’t diminish when in use.
“We also will have Cosmic Crisp® starting to ship on December 1st and this is the first season of Cosmic Crisp for Washington State,” Roger says. “We expect a quick sell-out period with the limited supplies, but great sales are to be had while the supplies last.”
On the pear front, Stemilt will feature Bartlett, Anjou, Red Anjou, and Bosc during the holidays. Stemilt has garnered much attention and positive feedback due to an industry-leading ripening program which makes the Anjou a delicious item like it was always meant to be. In addition, Stemilt is featuring some of its Stemilt Apple Lovers 5 lb pouch bags in Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Piñata in very promotable prices. These bags are promotable in both conventional and organic versions.
When it comes to key merchandising best-practices for retailers to drive traffic through the produce department as well as sales during the holidays, Stemilt has always been a resource at the top of my list.
“Waterfall displays into colorful Stemilt boxes is a great way to feature fresh apples this season,” Roger tells me. “We also have a couple of tools such as our display-ready cartons for our Apple Lovers bags. These display-ready cartons can create a great wing display off of an existing apple section. We also have a very nice value pear bag in a display-ready carton for Anjou which is a great way to promote larger sales of pears during a heavy use period.”
When it comes down to viewing merchandising as a balance between art and science, the design and layout of a produce department can impact sales and the ring at the register. And, as Roger shares, using the colorful cartons is a very impactful and easy way to win attention. Other ideas include building displays with signage around the vast variety in the apple category. Stemilt has pop-up display units which can really be impactful.
“We also have a unit called an EZ Pallet Display which comes with 30 Euro cartons of fruit in which we can ship 10 cases of three varieties. This EZ pallet is a cardboard unit that lifts off the pallet of fruit and slips over five empty pallets and becomes a colorful display table. What a great way to build a display. We have a graphic for apples, pears, Lil Snappers®, and organic items, all available in the same format described,” Roger expresses. “This can be very successful in building sales in items like organics. In a test program, we showed an increase of 40 percent using this display in a 10-store test market verses a control store group. 40 percent sales growth is huge as we all know in the fruit industry.”
Need some quick tips for the holiday season? Keep checking back with AndNowUKnow for a little festive cheer and insights to boot!