YAKIMA, Wash. — Combining pears with apples in displays is one way to boost retail produce department bottom lines, but that is not the only successful approach for pear merchandisers.
“When you promote apples and pears together, the volume of both fruit increases 7.5%,” said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima.
To accomplish that sales gain, Queen said merchandising the fruit side by side is effective in creating color separation between numerous bicolored apple varieties.
“You might have three feet of gala, a foot of anjous, three feet of fujis, a foot of bosc,” he said.
Steve Clement, general manager of Sage Fruit LLC, Yakima. said he believes apples and pears are best merchandised side by side.
“We feel like pears do better in the store when they are next to apples,” he said.
Retailers who want to optimize pear sales need to place them in a visible location, said Steve Lutz, vice president with West Dundee, Ill.-based Perishables Group.
“Pears are one of the higher-impulse items in the produce department,” he said.
“Consumers aren’t walking in the store and thinking about pears; they are thinking, ‘I’m going to buy bananas.’”
When retailers used to have wall units — a refrigerated rack that ran along the all — fruit would be displayed down the length of the rack, he said. Since retailers have moved to larger displays on Euro tables, Lutz said pears are not as easy to find.
“There doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason on how they end up where they are at,” he said.
Because of that, retailers need to work on growing demand by positioning pears in a high-traffic area to capture impulse sales.
Other sales strategies
Retailers are actively seeking various ways to increase sales, said Scott Marboe, director of marketing for Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers, Wenatchee.
Marboe said Oneonta has had success with a three-year-old program to match pears with cheeses or wine in display units.
“It is more of an impulse buy than a traditional pear display,” he said.
Looking at different approaches with different retail accounts is an ongoing process, he said.
In addition to merchandising pears with wine and cheese, Marboe said display bins and tote bags that reflect back-to-school promotions are popular.
Sage Fruit LLC, Yakima, typically ties in with the Pear Bureau Northwest’s promotions, said Steve Clement, general manager.
Sage runs a promotion with retailers based on points, driven by display space, ads, tote bag promotions and use of display bins. The contest is oriented toward produce managers, who can accumulate points for various awards based on their pear promotions.