Besides standard sweet potatoes, O’Brien’s offers red Japanese yams.
Camarillo cross-merchandises sweet potatoes with such items as marshmallows and nuts.
He advertises sweet potatoes a lot during fall and for the Easter holiday and features them occasionally during other times of the year.
Typical ad price is 2 for $1 compared with a regular price of $1.49 per pound.
Sometimes, especially around the holidays, the stores feature 3-pound bags of sweet potatoes, which shoppers like for their convenience. But O’Brien’s specializes in top-quality produce, so consumers usually prefer to pick out their sweet potatoes themselves from bulk displays, Camarillo says.
O’Brien’s also features cubed and cleaned sweet potatoes in 1-pound cello bags for the holidays, and 1-pound bags of organic sweet potatoes also are good sellers, he says.
Thibodaux, La.-based Rouses Enterprises LLC, which operates a chain of 38 supermarkets, specializes in “local” sweet potatoes from Louisiana and Mississippi, says produce buyer Pat Morris.
Besides traditional varieties, the stores offer specialties like the jewel, which it procures from Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif.
Morris expands displays from 3 feet to 4- to 6-feet around Thanksgiving and Christmas, when sweet potatoes are on ad nearly every week.
During the rest of the year, Rouses features sweet potatoes about once a month, and sometimes they’re written up in the in-house healthy-living magazine, which publishes farmer profiles.
The stores offer regular and petite sizes and sometimes merchandise 5-pound bags. The chain also offers organic sweet potatoes in bags and sources clamshells of cubed product from a South Carolina processor.
Want to sell more sweet potatoes?
The U.S. Sweet Potato Council suggest that you offer two sizes — No. 1s and jumbos; offer loose, bagged and individually wrapped sweet potatoes; offer two colors, such as rose and cream colored; and stock up for Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Year’s, Easter and Mother’s Day.
Large, well-positioned displays, cross-merchandising and offering several colors help move more sweet potatoes, Graves of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council says.
“You’ve got to show off the sweet potatoes, put them where people can find them in a volume that they can see,” he says.
Finally, never store sweet potatoes below 55 F (12.8 C).
“They should definitely not be put in a refrigerated storage case, “Stoddard says. “That’s the best way there is to ruin a sweet potato.”