Dole Food Company's Bil Goldfield Discusses Popular Holiday Products and Merchandising Tips
CHARLOTTE, NC - The beauty of our industry—or I should say one of the many beauties—is that we fall at the intersection of celebration and sustenance. Consumers make memories and festivities around food and herein lies one of the greatest opportunities as an innovative, creative, and health-forward industry. With the holidays top of mind, I checked in with Dole Food Company for a few insights on holiday meal-making as well as tips on how to make the most out of category merchandising.
“We know that the holidays can be stressful, and much of that pressure comes from needing to satisfy family holiday meal expectations for tradition, taste, and dietary preferences,” Bil Goldfield, Director of Corporate Communications, tells me. “Fortunately, Dole’s fruit and vegetable prowess and packaged salad products—both new and classic—offer consumers easy, delicious, and nutritious solutions.”
Let’s take a look at some of the ingenuity that Dole has rolled out in recent months, starting with the new DOLE® Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kits, offering ease and convenience for holiday cooking.
“Dole strives to always be at the forefront of food and culinary trends that can drive exciting new products. One example which is ideal for the busy holiday season is our Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kits which launch this month,” Bil reveals. “These came about after considerable research and trend analysis and allow us to deliver on exactly what consumers want: great-tasting, convenient, one-pan healthy meal solutions.”
These kits combine fresh, ready-to-roast vegetables with perfectly paired seasonings which can be used on both the vegetables and consumers’ favorite lean protein of choice. Shoppers can cook the meals on a conventional sheet pan to produce a restaurant-quality meal in minutes. On top of that, consumers only have one dish to clean up afterward.
Additionally, Dole’s Chopped! Salad Kit line is another healthier holiday offering for consumers and pairs great flavor with fast and simple preparation right out of the bag or as a base to add and experiment with.
And, as the season generates excitement around give-back efforts, Dole’s core products—including ubiquitous bananas and pineapples—contribute to hunger-relief in the U.S., hurricane-rebuilding in Honduras and Guatemala, and sustainability efforts associated with The Dole Way. These can become a great way to connect with the shopper and emphasize a range of core values.
So, what is to be done with this host of diverse products? Merchandise!
“Baking is king during the holidays. A great merchandising opportunity this time of year is with creating recipe centers that collect key ingredients and offer usage ideas. Bananas, pineapples, and tropicals are important holiday baking ingredients and should be showcased,” Bil states. “Since bananas are the most-purchased produce item, Dole encourages retailers to devote space to both the Cavendish and other unique varieties like Baby, Red, and Manzano bananas to increase purchase size and frequency or just encourage trial.”
Playing up the tropical note also does wonders. Versatile plantains are an important product in many global cultures and stocking them alongside other tropicals adds another draw to the department, Bil adds. Pairing whole fruit and meal convenience tells the shopper that retailers are listening to their needs and Dole is delivering on them.
“The past year or two has never more clearly shown how intrinsically interconnected we all are. In many ways, our food supply chain has both literally and figuratively been a lifeline that has kept things moving, and we have much to be proud of as an industry,” Bil tells me. “Despite external inflationary pressures, from the family farmers to the truckers, transportation and logistics specialists, grocers, Produce Managers, supermarket employees, we all continue to do what we can to ensure shoppers have a steady supply of fresh produce.”
With a range of fresh fruit and vegetable products, healthy-living initiatives at the consumer level, and retailer in-store resources, Dole will continue to innovate, extend its popular product lines, and support retailers and local and global communities in 2022.