Most supermarkets offer both items year-round, but many see an uptick in sales during the summer, as shoppers take them home to make a cool citrus drink, add a refreshing tang to iced tea or complement the flavor of grilled fish.
If the price is right — like 3 for 99 cents — Apple Valley Market in Berrien Springs, Mich., can pump out 30 cases of 75-count lemons a week, says Stephen Milanowski, produce manager. Regular price is 49 cents.
In late May, Milanowski already was setting up large end cap displays of lemons twice a month, and he plans to continue that practice throughout the summer.
He features lemons on ad as much as possible — at least twice a month — and sees a 50% sales increase during summer.
His display is 6 feet wide by 4 feet deep and includes overflow boxes of the fruit.
Milanowski used to offer 2-pound bags, but he says he cut that out “because of quality issues.”
“It’s easier just to go with the bulk,” he says.
Shoppers at Palmer’s Supermarket Inc., Darien, Conn., prefer “decent-sized” lemons, like 95 count, says Mike Manginelli, produce manager. He’s tried putting out 75s and 115s, but 95s always generate the most sales.
He goes through almost two cases a day and merchandises them on top of the grapefruit display.
Sales are steady year-round, he says, with maybe a little increase in summer, when his customers cook a lot of fish.
He doesn’t feature lemons on ad very often, but he says, “They sell great anyway.”
Occasionally, he puts bagged product on sale, but his customers prefer loose lemons.
Many of Palmer’s shoppers like to make their own lemonade.
“They’re big health fanatics,” he says.
Regular price for lemons at Palmer’s is 69 cents apiece — 20 or 30 cents less if they’re on ad.
Summer parties with cool drinks and grilled fish prompt patrons of the five Highland Park, Ill.-based Sunset Foods Inc. stores to latch onto lemons, says produce director Vince Mastromauro.
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