Valentine's Day Snackchat with Jan DeLyser, Mac Riggan, Katiana Valdes, and Alisha Albinder

Valentine's Day Snackchat with Jan DeLyser, Mac Riggan, Katiana Valdes, and Alisha Albinder

SACRAMENTO, CA - Love might be in the air, but our industry's merchandising champions are making sure all those ooey-gooey feelings are directed at fresh produce, and fresh produce only. In this way, the produce aisle will be transformed this February into a dating hotspot—and consumers will be asking for a shopping cart for two: for themselves and all the fresh produce they're buying. To help retailers set the right mood in their produce aisles, we tapped a few of our industry's merchandising pros to see what tips and tricks they have to help the buy-side boost sales in the lead up to the holiday.

Here's what cross-merchandising best practices, stocking tips, and category trend insights a few of these marketing pros had to share ahead of Valentine's Day...

Jan DeLyser, Vice President of Marketing, California Avocado Commission

Jan DeLyser, Vice President of Marketing, California Avocado CommissionDid you know that once upon a time the avocado was considered to be an aphrodisiac? Let’s just say it had something to do with its shape. Nowadays, avocados are beloved just because their creamy taste is so versatile and satisfying. Remind consumers of their avocado love by merchandising them with signage showing two halves of an avocado together in a heart shape or build a heart-shaped avocado display in a tomato or red pepper display. Or, vice versa! And here’s some other news to love—the California avocado harvest is building with peak supplies expected in spring and summer.”

The California Avocado Commission offers unique merchandising techniques to the Valentine's Day lovers across fresh produce

Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing, Chelan Fresh

Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing, Chelan Fresh“One of the things we stress when we work with our retail partners is to drive awareness of the Pink Lady. We ship them when they have a really vibrant color and that flowing heart design, so it’s got a Valentine’s Day feel. We also emphasize the fact that a lot of people aren’t just doing chocolates anymore. Consumers are actually looking for the alternative because they’ve just come out of their New Year’s Resolution and they’re probably on a roll—working out at the gym, eating right—and they don’t want to ruin their progress with one holiday. A lot of people are buying into that, and I think we need to be aware of this as an industry, both on the shipper side and the retail side, and capitalize on the people who have made a commitment to change their eating habits. I think a combination of driving awareness at the store, putting a reasonable price on Pink Ladies, and ensuring high-quality product will help drive sales for Valentine’s Day."

Katiana Valdes, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Crystal Valley Foods

Katiana Valdes, Marketing Manager, Crystal Valley Foods“Since ancient times, asparagus has been a favorite vegetable associated with love. It also makes for an elegant looking side and, most importantly, an easy one to prepare for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. To boot, asparagus is typically plentiful in February as well. The vegetable pairs well with a variety of proteins so we recommend retailers make it front and center during the month of love and also consider cross-merchandising asparagus with meats, poultry, and seafood.”

Alisha Albinder, Owner-Operator, Hudson River Fruit Distributors

Alisha Albinder, Owner-Operator, Hudson River Fruit Distributors"Hudson River Fruit Distributors is excited to have RubyFrost® launched just in time for Valentine’s Day! These ruby red apples will steal your heart, and taste buds! Perfect for complimenting chocolate and wine, it’s the perfect romantic snack! Available now through May with merchandising support promotional funds and advertising campaigns."

Retailers, what are you waiting for?! There's a whole host of opportunites in the lead up to Valentine's Day to take advantage of! As one ANUK staff writer's favorite holiday approaches (guess!), the whole team will continue to keep you on top of all that the produce industry can do to make this February a record-breaking sales year for all of produce.

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