Placement is key for retail sales of garlic and herbs.
Garlic is often sold in a dry rack close to other root vegetables, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations for World Variety Produce Inc., Los Angeles.
“It’s often by the various onion varieties, with the pearls, boilers and shallots, because a lot of times those products complement each other,” Schueller said of garlic’s shelf placement.
Christopher Ranch, Gilroy, Calif., has found success by letting garlic stand out more by moving it away from potatoes and onions.
“We find the best way to promote it is to put it with some color so it stands out. It is great between tomatoes and avocados because the color tends to attract people’s eye and it looks like the Italian flag with the red and green,” said Patsy Ross, vice president of marketing.
Louis Hymel, director of purchasing and marketing for Spice World Inc., Orlando, Fla., said the company offers garlic in a variety of options, with various display options for different products.
“We offer several different seasonal displays for our ready-to-use jars and squeeze garlic,” Hymel said.
The company can custom fill these displays with a mix of items depending upon customers’ requests.
“Cross-merchandising is strongly encouraged with retailers and can be an effective means to increase sales. Incremental sales equal increased profits,” Hymel said.
Another way to promote garlic is to price it by the bulb instead of by the pound, Ross said.
“Sometimes the perception is that garlic is expensive but you aren’t buying several pounds at a time so the bulb pricing seems to fit people’s budgets more,” she said.
Using recipes, colorful display boxes or other techniques are also good options.
“We work with retailers to do whatever makes sense for them, whether it’s a price program or using a specific size of garlic or some display boxes,” Ross said.
Christopher Ranch offers bulk packs in various sizes, bags and netted options. The company also has several peeled, jarred and refrigerated products.
“A lot of stores have a little garlic center with all those items available so consumers can decide if one day they don’t have as much time and want one of those options,” Ross said.
Jim Provost, president of Kelton, Pa.-based I Love Produce, said that a garlic section is a good solution.
“It’s a one-stop-shop to find all the garlic products, whether loose, bulk, packaged or jarred. This way, if people buy garlic to fill a recipe need, they might also try something new,” Provost said.
Still, Ross said fresh bulk garlic is the standard.
“The highest percentage of retailers takes that option,” she said.
Provost said he’s seen a pretty even split between a five-bulb packaged product, which is usually an import, and the bulk option.
“The five-pound bag is attractive to get a larger ring at the register, and there’s less merchandising work involved because bulk bins can require clean up with loose skins in the display,” he said.
Schueller said herbs are often hung up in the refrigerated section, usually over the leafy greens.
Basil, however, sometimes stands alone outside the section, often placed near tomatoes.
“It’s merchandised in the summer in a larger package next to the tomatoes, and like that it’s usually priced pretty nice in a larger quantity,” Schueller said.
Placing the garlic outside of the refrigerated section also helps prevent it from getting damp.
“It needs to be out of reach of the misters,” Schueller said.
Camilo Penalosa, vice president of business development for Infinite Herbs & Specialties, Miami, agrees.
“Basil works best next to the tomatoes because it does better there than in refrigeration where it can get burned and turn black,” Penalosa said.
Schueller said very few retailers offer herbs in bulk bunches, choosing packaged varieties instead.
“They can become messy when people don’t know the difference between herbs and they get mixed up. Probably 97% of the time, herbs are sold in packaged clamshells for easy ring-through,” he said.