More than most other categories, stone fruit tends to be seasonal in nature. While stone fruit is available year-round, the high price of out-of-season fruit tends to limit its sales in the winter. Stone fruit made up 2.1% of produce sales in 2012, according to Fresh Look Marketing. Although stone fruit doesn’t make up a huge portion of produce sales, it can boost your department’s sales figures, especially in the summer.
On the shelves
Stacking stone fruit is a bad idea because of its tendency to bruise easily. Create a large display during stone fruit season of peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots to encourage consumers to try a little bit of everything.
Many consumers don’t make repeat purchases of stone fruit because by the time they eat it, it doesn’t taste good. Help consumers avoid eating under-ripe fruit by making sure they know how to ripen it at home. Caution shoppers against putting the fruit in the refrigerator, which stops the ripening process. Research shows that if consumers have a bad experience with unripe or mealy stone fruit, they will not buy it again for two to three weeks.
The stone fruit category includes plenty of variety. Offer at least some of that variety to your customers by including both white- and yellow-flesh peaches and nectarines, black and red plums, and donut peaches and pluots in your display.
Making the sale
Peach pie and cobbler are summertime staples for many. Bring those flavors to mind by cross-merchandising pie shells and cobbler supplies near the stone fruit display.
Stone fruit is a popular canning item, so offer canning and jelly-making supplies near your display.
Use the popularity of berries to make stone fruit sales. Encourage consumers to make a tasty summer salad of berries and stone fruit. Include recipes and preparation tips in your display.
Peaches, plums and apricots can liven up a boring salad. Offer serving suggestions that include adding stone fruit to green salads.
Fresh stone fruit is a tasty summertime treat, but many consumers are not familiar with the specialty varieties. Encourage consumers to think beyond peaches, nectarines and plums by offering samples of less-familiar varieties like pluots.
Sweeten up the grill this summer by promoting stone fruit as a grilling item. Many people don’t realize stone fruit can be cooked and grilled. Offer recipes and serving suggestions that move stone fruit from snack status to a side dish option.
Like citrus, stone fruit is easy to put in the lunch box. Encourage shoppers to view them as an easy way to make a summertime lunch a healthy one.
Stone fruit is usually priced by the pound. Use pricing to draw consumers to the produce department. During peak season offer larger containers of peaches and plums at a discount to capture those interested in canning or making preserves.