Grapefruit may finally be attracting a younger, hipper crowd.
According to The Packer’s Fresh Trends 2012 study, grapefruit purchases climbed by 5 percentage points from 2011-12.
Moms with two children at home were the most likely to purchase, according to the study, and there was only a 3% difference between purchasers in the 59+ and the 21-39 age groups.
Grower Trent Bishop, vice president of sales for Lone Star Citrus Growers in Mission, Texas, said he’s convinced grapefruit consumption is increasing.
“Our grapefruit looks good in the stores this year and it tastes great, which is driving people to come back for more,” Bishop said.
He advises ignoring articles that warn consumers away from grapefruit because of its interaction with certain drugs.
“Scientists I’ve talked in the A&M Extension Service tell me there’s always a substitute medication available that will allow you to have grapefruit as well,” he said.
Paula Fouchek, marketing director for the Edinburg Citrus Association in Edinburg, Texas, said a number of articles in women’s magazines and online have promoted the virtues of grapefruit.
“We believe once consumers have the opportunity to taste our fruit, no matter what their age, they will love it,” Fouchek said.
She encourages retailers to provide samples whenever possible and offer recipes in-store and online that showcase grapefruit’s versatility in salads, appetizers and desserts.
The Texas industry’s promotional arm, TexaSweet Citrus Marketing, has a variety of materials available to retailers for use in marketing citrus, she said. They include recipes, signs for demos and a CD filled with photos, logos and other tools.
National Grapefruit Month in February, when supply is at its peak, is the perfect time to highlight grapefruit in the produce department, Fouchek said.
“Engage customers with samples and recipes and capture their attention by cutting red grapefruit in half so customers can see their beautiful interior,” she said.
She also advises offering fancy bulk fruit with a choice bag option for value, and using buzzwords like healthy, nutritious, delicious and sweet in display signs and in ads.
Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day also provide great opportunities to tie in grapefruit, Fouchek said.
For Super Bowl, think healthy chips with a fresh fruit salsa instead of a heavy dip, she said. For Valentine’s Day, she suggests promoting sweet red grapefruit for dessert by merchandising it with raspberries, strawberries and extras like waffle bowls, crepes, angel food cake and whipped topping.