Commodity: Squash, Winter
Squash sales continue to grow, which means it’s a commodity worth giving some attention. Capitalize on its growing popularity by offering different varieties and introducing it to consumers who may be unfamiliar with the many types of squash available.
- Squash offers a variety of health benefits. Summer squash is high in vitamin C, which can help boost the immune system and fight cancer. Many winter squashes are a good source of vitamin A, which helps protect eyes and skin. Butternut squash contains potassium, which is important for keeping bones healthy.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the following nutrient content descriptors for summer squash: fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, low in calories, and high in vitamin C. Descriptors approved for spaghetti squash are: low-fat, saturated fat-free, very low sodium, cholesterol free and low in sodium. Descriptors approved for crookneck squash are: fat-free, saturated fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories.
- Squash’s many uses make it a perfect cross-merchandising partner, so promote it with soup stock, stir-fry vegetables and spaghetti sauce for spaghetti squash, grilling seasonings and flour and seasonings for fried squash.
- Some type of squash is available year-round, so keep an eye on the calendar and offer promotion throughout the year.
- Fall: Fall is the perfect time for squash. Its shape and color fit in with pumpkins and gourds and gets people thinking about heartier dishes as the weather gets cooler. Include squash in your fall promotions.
- Winter: Winter squash is perfect for soup. Include it in soup promotions.
- Offer samples of different varieties of squash to familiarize consumers with the many flavors available to them.
- Offer multiple varieties of squash to your consumers. Clearly label each variety and offer some information on the taste and uses of each type of squash.
- Avoid stacking squash more than four layers deep to keep from crushing the squash on the bottom layer. Be careful when stacking to create a display that won’t tumble onto the floor when consumers remove squash.
- Display squash all together and create a larger squash display during the fall.
- Use squash’s multiple colors to create a color break among other cooking vegetables.
- Yellow squash has a high water content. Before using it in a cooked dish, blanch the whole squash or add salt to shredded, sliced or julienne squash.
- Cater to gluten-free customers by replacing noodles with spaghetti squash.
- Consider using the shell of a hollowed out winter squash as a soup bowl.
In The Backroom
winter squash 50-lb. 11⁄9-bushel cartons/crates 40-lb. cartons/crates 35-lb. cartons/crates RPC – 6411, 6413, 6416, 6419, 6420
fall and winter squash U.S. No. 1 U.S. No. 2
*Temperature: hard, 50 to 55 F, 10 to 13 C *Relative humidity: hard, 70-75% *Mist: winter, no *Typical shelf life: hard, 30 to 180 days *Ethylene-sensitive (Do not store or transport ethylene-sensitive items with commodities that produce ethylene.) *Hard squash is moderately susceptible to freezing injury (Able to recover from one or two light freezings.) *Susceptible to chilling injury (Damage sometimes is not apparent until the produce is returned to a higher temperature.) *Table queen and delicata will keep up to one month at 50 to 55 F, 10 to 13 C. *Do not can or freeze raw hard-shelled squash. However, cooked squash freezes well. *Refrigeration will change the flavor and texture of hard-shelled squash and high temperatures will cause deterioration.
- 26% of consumers said they purchased squash in the past year.
- The likelihood of a squash purchase increases as income rises.
- Consumers in the Midwest live in the region least likely to purchase squash.
squash_fresh-trends (416.61 KB)
1⁄3-1⁄2 lb. winter squash = about 1 serving 2-lb. peeled, trimmed squash = about 4 cups cooked or 4 servings 1-lb. summer squash = about 4 cups grated 1-lb. summer squash = about 2 cups salted and squeezed 1-lb. summer squash = about 31⁄2 cups sliced or chunked 1-lb. summer squash = about 11⁄4 cups mashed 1-lb. summer squash = about 3 to 4 servings