ORLANDO, Fla. — Leading retailers worked together this year to brainstorm and build the Fresh Ideas Marketplace, a regular installation at the Produce Marketing Association's annual Fresh Summit convention, where retailers, growers and distributors alike can check out some of the best ideas in produce merchandising.
A simple, attention-grabbing children's display stood out in this year's exhibit. Empty cardboard apple boxes decorated with popular Nickelodeon characters such as Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants were stacked high around open merchandising crates filled with bagged apples, bulk apples, pears and bananas. An adjacent cooler was filled with grab-and-go fresh cut produce snacks, such as baby carrots with ranch dressing and apples with caramel dip.
“Creating a destination [for kids] is very important,” explained Bridget Bennett, produce specialist for the U.S. Defense Commissary Agency. “It's something that kids can identify with, more than a couple of items in a mass display.”
When creating a kids' display, retailers should pay close attention to scale and height, keeping a selection of items at a child's eye level, she added.
Gary Ruggiero of Raley's agreed, noting that “when a kid picks up a fruit or vegetable and brings it back to the shopping cart, are moms really going to say no?”
Other ideas included a fall-themed produce display, where gourds added splashes of color to tiered bins of onions and potatoes. And a value-added display, where new items like Del Monte vegetable trays with snow peas, carrots and broccoli paired with Sabra hummus were displayed next to packaged vegetable mixes for stews and kabob kits with thick-cut red and green peppers and red onions.
Making a colorful display is easy with produce, but the trick is to strike a balance between eye appeal, cross-merchandising and stocking sufficient volume of top-selling products, Ruggiero noted. He pointed to an exotic fruit display stacked with plantains, mangos, bananas and avocados, and peppered with items like rambutans and mini pineapples.
“Items like avocados and bananas will draw [customers] here, and then they have the opportunity to pick up another item and ask, ‘What is this?’” he said.