With just under $100 million in sales, eggplant accounts for 0.2% of produce sales. However, it does attract a larger proportion of Asian consumers than other mainstream vegetables. It is also a popular meat substitute in vegetarian diets. Market eggplant well to these demographics and watch your eggplant sales rise.
- Eggplant offers a host of health benefits. It has been shown to help protect brain cells. Eggplant also contains antioxidants, which have been shown to help fight cancer. Studies on animals have shown eggplant to be effective at reducing cholesterol. Eggplant can help regulate diabetes because of its high fiber and low soluble carbohydrates.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for eggplant: fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories.
- Eggplant is most often used as an ingredient in other dishes, which lends itself well to cross-promotion. Cross-merchandise eggplant with frying batter, deep fryers, olive oil and vegetarian items, such as tofu.
- Eggplant is available year-round, so offer promotions throughout the year.
- Fall: Stuffed eggplant is a hearty option for a meal as the weather gets cooler. Promote eggplant as a great option for autumn meals. Promote eggplant when you promote squash.
- Winter: Include eggplant in New Year’s promotions aimed at the health-conscious consumer as it is often a vegetarian meat substitute. Include eggplant in Chinese New Year promotions as it is popular with Asian consumers.
- Spring: Promote eggplant as a different option for the spring holidays. Include it in Mother’s Day and Easter promotions.
- Summer: Eggplant is an excellent grilling vegetable. Include it in summertime grilling promotions.
- Broaden your display by offering both full-size and baby varieties of eggplant.
- Stack eggplant no more than two layers high to avoid bruising the bottom layer.
- Place eggplant next to squash for a delightful color contrast. Both vegetables can be served stuffed, so it’s a natural pairing.
- Eggplant’s purple color contrasts well with tomatoes or bell peppers. Use its unusual color to create an eye-catching display.
- Include plenty of preparation tips and recipes on your display as many consumers do not know how to prepare eggplant.
- Eggplant can be cooked in many ways, including baking, broiling, scalloping, marinating, deep frying or sauteeing. Serve it as both a side dish and an entrée.
- Eggplant can be served as a meat substitute. Consider topping it with mushrooms, sour cream, yogurt or tomatoes.
- Stuffed eggplant makes a unique, attractive dish. Stuff it with meat, fish or vegetables.
- Saute eggplant in olive oil for a healthy side dish.
- Consider offering fried eggplant as an alternative to french fries.
In The Backroom
33-lb. bushel or 11⁄19-bushel cartons/crates/baskets 33-lb. 3.56 dekaliter cartons 26- to 28-lb. cartons/crates/lugs 25-lb. cartons 22-lb. L.A. lugs/cartons, 18 to 24 count 17-lb. 1⁄2- and 5⁄9-bushel lugs RPC 6419, 6420
U.S. Fancy U.S. No. 1 U.S. No. 2
Temperature: 46 to 54 F, 8 to 12 C Relative humidity: 90-95% Mist: yes Typical shelf life: 10 to 14 days Ethylene-sensitive. Do not store or transport with commodities that produce ethylene. Odor sensitive. Do not store next to ginger or onions. Susceptible to chilling injury. Eggplant is sensitive to temperature extremes and requires a cool atmosphere to cut moisture loss. If left at room temperature for several days, produce becomes soft and wrinkled. Small scars on eggplant, commonly caused by wind, do not affect quality.
- 17% of consumers said they purchased eggplant in the past year.
- Consumers making $100,000 a year or more were more than twice as likely to purchase eggplant as those making less than $25,000.
- Consumers older than 59 make up the most likely age group to purchase eggplant at 18% but are followed closely by 18- to 39-year-olds at 17%.
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