Petroulakis cross-merchandises lemons by the seafood and limes by the beer.
The store offers bagged local lemons from December through March and also features bagged key limes and limes.
Don’t overlook the organic category.
San Francisco-based Pacific Organic Produce/Purity Organic packs organic lemons almost year-round, says John Stair, domestic commodity manager.
Unfortunately, during the summer when demand is strong, supplies are tight and f.o.b. prices are at their highest, he says, and it’s tough to promote organic lemons.
Stair says he sees a steady increase in sales of organic lemons as more retailers make lemons part of their organic programs.
“Lemons are a cornerstone of the organic citrus deal in the U.S.,” he says.
Mastromauro says Sunset Foods sells two or three cases of organic lemons and limes per store per week.
And Petroulakis says, “Organic lemons and limes sell the best” at Whole Foods.
Secondary displays work
Secondary displays are a great way to garner incremental lemon sales, says Julie DeWolf, director of retail marketing for Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Sunkist offers corrugate display units that she says are ideal in such locations as the seafood department, the liquor section and/or beer aisle and even in the water and tea sections. Sunkist also has a new header card that encourages the display of lemons with bottled water, titled “Lemons and Water: The Ultimate Diet Drink.”
“We also have our ‘S’Alternative’ header card that suggests consumers use lemons as a flavor enhancer and substitute to salt,” she adds.
Most retailers prefer larger fruit for bulk displays and smaller fruit in bags, says Paul D’Albora, program manager of Mexican lemons for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla.
He says that for the most part, lemons are not a seasonal item; they’re a commodity whose sales don’t seem to benefit from a price cut.
Shoppers tend to pick up a few each week for cooking or to flavor drinks, he says. If the price is cut, they may buy more one week, but fewer the next.
It’s better to try to gain incremental sales by cross-merchandising them or offering them with fish or in other departments, he says.