Commodity: Cucumbers


Commodity Overview

Cucumber sales rose 6.6% in 2018, accounting for more than $1 billion in sales. Cucumbers have a wide variety of uses, making them popular across a wide spectrum of consumers. Make cucumbers a part of your year-round marketing plan to get the most out of their popularity.


  • Cucumbers contain many important nutrient, but many are in the skin. Cucumbers contain some vitamin C, which boosts the immune system and helps to fight cancer. The cucumber’s skin contains fiber, which aids in digestion. Cucumbers also contain silica, which helps keep skin healthy.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for cucumbers: fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories.

Sales Strategies

  • Cucumbers are a prime candidate for cross-merchandising. Consider cross-merchandising them with other salad vegetables, bagged salads, salad dressing, croutons, bacon toppings, cheese and canning jars and spices.
  • Cucumbers are available year-round, so give them ample promotion all year.
  • Fall: Promote cucumbers as a healthy snack for lunch boxes as kids head back to school.
  • Winter: Include cucumbers in holiday promotions as a great addition to holiday salads. Include cucumbers in winter soup displays. Promote them to health-conscious consumers during New Year’s promotions.
  • Spring: Promote cucumbers as an addition to springtime salads. Promote them as a cool and refreshing snack.
  • Summer: Include cucumbers in grilling displays and picnic promotions.

Dynamic Displays

  • Include seeded and seedless varieties in your display. Be sure to label them so consumers know what they are getting.
  • Add specialty cucumbers to your display to increase sales and encourage consumers to try something new.
  • Include cucumbers in salad vegetable displays. Display them next to carrots for a striking color contrast.
  • Remind consumers that they can keep cucumbers fresh after cutting by wrapping the end in plastic wrap before putting it in the refrigerator.
  • Keep cucumbers and zucchini separate as they can be difficult to tell apart.

Food Service

  • Use hollowed out cucumber skins as a bowl for condiments like bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
  • Serve fried cucumbers as an appetizer with spicy mustard or cocktail sauce.
  • Serve fresh cream of cucumber soup for a different and refreshing soup flavor.
  • Cucumbers can be made into a sauce that pairs well with cold or hot meat.
  • Include cucumbers as a topping for sandwiches and wraps.

In The Backroom


55-lb. bushel and 11⁄19-bushel cartons/crates 55-lb. 3.56 dekaliter cartons 30-lb. cartons, 48s 28-lb. 5⁄9-bushel cartons/crates 28-lb. cartons, 36 to 42s 24-lb. cartons, 36 to 42s (California) 2-lb. cartons, 24s RPC 6419, 6420, 6423, 6425, 6426 Foodservice packs Whole cucumbers often are packed in cartons with six or seven pieces on top; smaller product is shipped in 12-count cartons. A 24-count pack also is offered from most growing regions. Like peppers, radishes and onions, cucumbers are offered sliced as a ready-to-use salad vegetable.


Field-grown cucumbers U.S. Fancy U.S. Extra 1 U.S. 1 U.S. 1 small U.S. 1 large U.S. 2 Trading usually is done by the specification of the pack, using terms like Super Select, Select, Small Super, Small, Large and Plain. These are not USDA grades but a grading system the industry uses.


Temperature: 45 to 50 F, 7 to 10 C Relative humidity: 90-95% Mist: no Typical shelf life: 10 to 14 days Ethylene-sensitive. Do not store or transport with commodities that produce ethylene. Susceptible to chilling injury. Damage sometimes is not apparent until the produce is returned to a higher temperature. Chilling injury can cause water-soaked spots, pitting or tissue collapse. Extensive decay will develop when cucumbers are removed from low temperatures.


Fresh Trends

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