Commodity: Broccoli


Commodity Overview

Broccoli sales topped the $1 billion mark in 2018, riding a nearly 10% increase in sales. Broccoli is popular with consumers who like cooked vegetables as well as those who want to eat it raw as part of a salad or as a dipping vegetable. Capitalize on broccoli’s popularity and year-round availability to bring profit to your produce department.


This commodity is not typically marketed by variety.


  • Broccoli contains a host of nutrients that will satisfy even the most picky health-conscious consumer. Cooked broccoli contains more vitamin C than an orange and is a good source of calcium. Broccoli also contains antioxidants that have been shown to help fight cancer. Research suggests that eating broccoli can help prevent cataracts, and eating broccoli can help prevent strokes.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for broccoli: fat-free (must state that broccoli contains less than 0.5g fat per 85g of broccoli), saturated fat-free, low-sodium, cholesterol-free, low in calories, high in vitamin C and a good source of folate.

Sales Strategies

  • Broccoli is a versatile vegetable with many uses. Leverage that versatility by cross-merchandising it with dips, cheese sauce, salad dressing, bagged salads and cheese.
  • Broccoli is available in good quantities year-round, so have a year-round marketing plan.
  • Fall: Promote broccoli as a warm, hearty side dish for fall meals. Include it in football game-day promotions as part of your veggie trays.
  • Winter: Add broccoli to your holiday adds as it is a popular holiday side dish. Include it in winter soup displays and in post-New Year’s promotions to the health-conscious consumer.
  • Spring: Include broccoli in spring vegetable promotions as a side dish and as an addition to springtime salads. Include it in Easter and Mother’s Day promotions.
  • Summer: Broccoli grills well, so include it in summertime grilling promotions. Be sure to offer preparation tips to those unfamiliar with how to grill it.
  • Promote stir-fry mixes and vegetable trays that include broccoli as a time-saving measure for busy consumers.

Dynamic Displays

  • Offer both broccoli with stocks and broccoli crowns. Include bags of florets on your display. Time-crunched consumers will appreciate the fresh-cut option.
  • Make sure broccoli gets enough air by only stacking them one or two deep to keep air circulating between the heads.
  • Broccoli’s deep green color makes a striking contrast to other vegetables. Pair it with cauliflower or summer squash to create an eye-catching display.
  • Include recipes for broccoli on your display to help consumers think of it as more than just a side dish.

Food Service

  • Cook broccoli just until it’s tender. Overcooking causes it to lose its valuable nutrients.
  • Offer broccoli in cheese sauce as a side dish or include it in a mixed vegetable dish.
  • Include broccoli in soups.
  • Add broccoli to salads and salad bars.

In The Backroom


Bunched 23-lb. cartons/crates, 14s and 18s RPC 6419, 6420, 6423, 6425 Crowns 20-lb. box, bulk RPC 6419, 6420, 6423, 6425 Consumer packs Broccoli packs are available in florets, bunch, broccoli coleslaw, spears and stalk cuts (which are available diced, coin-cut and shredded). Value-added packs Florets come in cello bags packed in 9- to 18-lb. cardboard cartons and 8-oz. and 1-lb. retail packs. Fresh-cut spears are offered in 10-, 15- and 20-lb. loose-packed cartons. Florets (2-inches or less) are available to foodservice in 3-lb. cello bags and loose. Broccoli coleslaw (shredded broccoli, red cabbage and carrots) is available in 8-oz. and 1- and 5-lb. bags. Iceless broccoli also is available.


United States U.S. fancy U.S. No. 1 U.S. combinations U.S. No. 2


Temperature: 32 F, 0 C Relative humidity: 95-100% Mist: lightly (unpackaged) Typical shelf life: bunched 10 to 14 days, packaged 14 to 16 days Ethylene-sensitive. Do not store or transport with commodities that produce ethylene. Moderately sensitive to freezing injury. Dunking in cold water can revive slightly wilted broccoli.


Fresh Trends

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Nutrition Labels


1 pound = 4.5 portions or two medium spears

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