Stemilt's Brianna Shales Provides Insight on Cherry Market and Critical Buy-Side Opportunities
WENATCHEE, WA - Red means stop. A red stop sign or traffic signal on the road tells you to pump the brakes in your car. A bright red cherry display, on the other hand, tells shoppers to stop their carts—even for just long enough to add a few extra items to it. As the time nears for retailers to hone in on impulse purchases for this coveted fruit, Stemilt Marketing Director Brianna Shales joins me to discuss the current cherry market.
“Stemilt has the longest cherry season in the industry, running from May to late August, so we are just over the halfway point in the season,” she tells me. “We are entering a peak harvest and shipping time in the next week or two. These cherries are coming from multiple locales, including our Stemilt Hill cherries that are grown by fourth generation farmer Kyle Mathison.”
Stemilt is currently entering a promotional period for cherries, as its Washington-grown varieties have entered their second peak. For a limited time, the grower’s premium Kyle’s Pick® cherry program is available, which features bright-colored cherries with a high brix, picked by Mathison himself. Beginning in August, the grower will also kick off its A Half Mile Closer to the Moon® premium cherry program, providing delicious cherries grown on orchards literally a half mile closer to the moon.
Offering any of Stemilt’s unique varieties is a sure-fire way to uplift the category as a whole, as they have become a mainstay in the homes of many shoppers.
“Our brand is well-known for quality cherries, so there is an advantage when carrying our branded bags, clamshells, or Top Seals. We are always working with our partners to help them follow the cherry season, because it is always changing,” Brianna adds. “Staying with the season and taking advantage of the opportunities that come with it helps retailers succeed in the category.”
Brianna also notes that grocers can take cherry sales into their own hands this summer by creating full and vibrant displays throughout the produce department.
“There are great opportunities to drive repeat cherry purchases with shoppers that have already experienced them this season, or to help encourage impulse purchases among consumers who haven’t. Now is the time for big cherry displays at the front of the department, and we are seeing a lot of that at retail right now. Placement and promotion are crucial with cherries, and it’s always fun to work with merchandising teams to set up big, bold displays to drive sales of this impulse item,” concludes Brianna.
Just as no ice cream sundae is complete without a cherry on top, no fresh produce department is complete without a delicious selection of high-quality cherries, and Stemilt is ready to provide its retail partners with just that this summer.