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Valentine's Day Snackchat With Frances Dillard, Brianna Shales, Bob Haarhues, and Natasha Lichty

Valentine's Day Snackchat With Frances Dillard, Brianna Shales, Bob Haarhues, and Natasha Lichty

SACRAMENTO, CA - All the lovey-dovey goodness that comes with Valentine’s Day may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the produce industry, it makes for an ideal merchandising opportunity. Whether or not you have an avocado to cuddle with this year, it’s a paramount time to get ahead of consumer’s buying preferences in the fresh sector. To get a better sense of how growers and retailers alike are taking advantage of this love-struck month, we tapped some of our industry friends to share their expertise.

Frances Dillard, Senior Director of Brand and Product Marketing, Driscoll’s

Frances Dillard, Senior Director of Brand and Product Marketing, Driscoll’s“Driscoll’s makes it easy to say ‘I Love You’ this Valentine’s Day with incredibly easy, fun, and creative recipes for how to make Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. As one of the most requested recipes from retailers, digital SEO rankings (Search Engine Optimization), and social media engagement, Driscoll’s has developed several exclusive Chocolate Dipped Strawberry recipes for all strawberry lovers. Driscoll’s YouTube Channel and website provide consumers step-by-step instructions on the basics of creating a wow presentation. Each of our recipes is created and tested by chefs and our consumers rate them on-line. Check-out our highly-rated classic Black & White Chocolate Covered Strawberries with a 4.9 rating and more than 160 reviews. It will be your Valentine’s hit.”

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries cultivate great Valentine’s Day ideas from companies like Driscoll’s and more

Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager, Stemilt Growers

Brianna Shales, Senior Marketing Manager, Stemilt“Valentine’s Day is another great reason for retailers to run a cross-category apple promotion with 4 to 6 varieties on ad at a line item price. Put the popular Honeycrisp or any premium varieties at a separate price. Pink Lady® brand apples are a natural for the most romantic day of the year because of their pink-red color and zippy yet sweet flavor. Stemilt has a high-graphic pop-up display bin just for Pink Lady to help call attention to it during this special time of year. We also have many resources—from recipes to social toolkits—that retailers can use to support apple promotions digitally.”

Natasha Lichty, Brand and Marketing Director, Love Beets

Natasha Lichty, Brand and Marketing Director, Love Beets“Spread the LOVE (Beets) this Valentine’s Day! Healthy sweets for your sweet are easy to find in the produce section thanks to these ready-to-eat beets. Nicknamed ‘nature’s candy,’ beets are the naturally sweet veggie that pairs perfectly with greens, goat cheese, and nuts for a simple salad starter to a romantic meal. Heart-healthy and distinctly vibrant red, they couldn’t be more on theme for the holiday. Bonus fact, they’re historically known as an aphrodisiac if you’re looking for food to set the mood. For customers who have love on the brain, set up a shoppable display with a brand that’s got love in the name!”

Bob Haarhues, Director of Sales and Marketing, Bako Sweet

Bob Haarhues, Director of Sales and Marketing, Country Sweet Produce“Considered a ‘superfood’ by nutritionists and health advocates, sweet potatoes are in demand like never before. Driving consumer awareness, restaurant consumption is up over 73 percent! So I say, capitalize on the trend by merchandising a Valentine’s Day ‘Sweet’ potato recipe and displaying all the necessary ingredients (with copies of the recipe). I recommend brownies with sweet potato chocolate frosting, Valentine’s Day maple baked sweet potatoes, or sweet potato chocolate cake and coconut coffee frosting. This is a surefire way of increasing sales margins and reinforcing to shoppers that you’re a one-stop shop!”

Cupid is afoot, so get moving retailers! From displays draped in pink and red to packaging adorned with graphics to make consumer’s hearts sing, these produce operators have Valentine’s Day in the bag. Stick around as we continue to uncover the best Valentine’s Day tricks in the biz.

Companies in this Story

Country Sweet Produce

Country Sweet Produce and the Bako Sweet® brand represent the best of what a California fresh produce operation has to...


Family-owned for over 100 years, Driscoll's is passionate about growing premium fresh berries. Our strawberries,...

Love Beets

In 1990 the Shropshire Family bought a small and neglected beet factory. Over the next 10 years they set about turning the...


As the founding family of Stemilt, we’ve been farming apples, pears, and cherries in eastern Washington since the early...