Springtime is synonymous with strawberries, and suppliers are urging retailers to use the spring holidays — such as Easter and Mother’s Day — as a launching point for the season ahead.
“Rather than focusing strictly on promoting for the Easter holiday, we are encouraging our partners to look at that as a beginning for the spring season and to build that large display in the front of the department and keep it there as a destination throughout the peak season,” says Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for California Giant Inc., Watsonville, Calif.
That holds especially true this year, she says, with Easter falling so early — March 31.
Strawberries already are an important promotion item at many supermarkets.
Two or three times a year, the produce department at Weber’s IGA in Sedona, Ariz., couples up with the bakery department to cross-promote strawberries and bakery items, says store director Dave Miller.
click image to zoomPamela RiemenschneiderSpringtime is the perfect time to promote strawberries in your store. The bakery features tarts, cakes and parfaits made with fresh strawberries from the store’s produce section and puts up signs encouraging shoppers to pick up their own strawberries by visiting the produce aisle.
Meanwhile, the produce department lets shoppers know about the fresh strawberry treats available in the bakery.
“We try to hit them from two different sides,” Miller says.
In general, strawberry sales at the store depend on price, he says, which varies with the weather and other conditions that affect availability.
During the winter or when sales are slow, 1-pound clamshell containers of strawberries sell for $2.99 to $3.49 and are limited to three rows on a table to preserve freshness.
During the peak season, the display expands to both sides and an end of a 6-foot island, and strawberries are priced at as little as 89 cents per pound.
The store cross-merchandises strawberries with glaze, toppings and dessert cups.
“Dessert cups are a must,” Miller says. Besides the standard yellow cake cups, he also offers a devil’s food version.
Weber’s IGA also merchandises aerosol cans of whipped cream with its berry display, along with packaged powder mix and accompanying recipe ideas.
Piggly Wiggly Midwest, a chain of about 100 stores based in Sheboygan, Wis., had Florida strawberries on ad in late January, says Dan Dippel, produce director.
The stores increase their display size from about 4 feet to double that when strawberries are on sale for as little as 99 cents to $1.49 per 1-pound clamshell. Regular price ranges from $2.99 to $3.99, depending on time of year and availability.