Merchandising Organic Bananas in the Holiday Season

Organic Odes strawberry banana candy canes

When customers think of holiday fare, turkey, potatoes, cranberries and frosted sugar cookies come to mind. While organic bananas are a staple for most households, during the holiday season they can be lost in the mounds of specialty items and in-demand produce. Understanding the seasonal ebbs and flows of various produce can help you position Organics Unlimited bananas within your produce department for maximum sales.

Jeff Fairchild, produce buyer for New Seasons Market in the Portland, Ore. area, offers insights on what items are most popular during the holidays and how his stores merchandise GROW organic bananas throughout the year.

“Organic bananas have been a staple in our produce department for more than 35 years,” said Fairchild, who notes that New Seasons Markets are about 75 percent organic.

While GROW organic bananas are a year-round program in his stores, Fairchild acknowledges that demand shifts throughout the year — and the season — for the fruit. In the beginning of December, it’s back to basics he says, and most customers adhere to their normal buying patterns, including organic bananas and plenty of citrus such as tangerines, grapefruit, lemon and lime.

“People in the Northwest get tired of wet, rainy, dark weather, so we try to bring a little sunshine to their eating palate,” said Fairchild. “Organic bananas fit well with being something sweet and a little more tropical.”

As Christmas approaches, the focus changes to specialty items that customers may be looking for in order to create a special meal or a dish for entertaining; asparagus, Belgian endive and chicory are hot-ticket vegetables and blueberries, strawberries and pineapple are popular for fruits as Christmas comes closer. Specialty citrus such as heirloom navel oranges and Rio Star grapefruit typically see the spotlight, but since organic bananas pair well with citrus fruits, there’s certainly a place for cross-merchandising among the fruits.

Fairchild notes it’s also a popular time of year to highlight the GROW program, as New Seasons Market sells exclusively GROW by Organics Unlimited. “It differentiates the brand from the larger banana companies and lets people see the value in supporting a socially responsible organization,” he said.

Retailers can highlight the GROW program, organic bananas and other specialty items through the use of various POP materials. Fairchild says his stores use weekly fliers, a weekly circulator in the newspaper, social media callouts and aggressive in-store sampling. New Seasons Market also provides printed recipes near displays to give customers ideas on how to prepare various produce. Banana cream pie and healthy banana cookies are great ones to suggest during the holiday season.

While organic bananas may not be the first food that customers think of during the holiday season, they are certainly an important purchase. Understanding how to merchandise them during this busy time of year will help boost sales and provide an easier shopping experience for your customers.

Follow Organics Unlimited on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on the latest recipes, retail marketing tips and organic banana facts. Use #GROWTURNS10 on your social media posts to celebrate 10 years of the GROW program.

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