C.H. Robinson includes cutting instructions on packaging and provides recipes and information that retailers can add to their websites and Facebook pages , Castagnetto said.
Consumers want to learn all they can, said Karen Caplan, chief executive officer of Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc.
“Consumers are always looking for information, especially at point of sale,” Caplan said.
Information-rich labels, signage and recipe tear-offs are particularly effective teaching tools, as are quick-response codes for smartphone users, Caplan said.
The most important tool, though, is experience, Caplan said.
“A great way to educate consumers is to do sampling,” she said. “We recommend when a fruit ripens — like cherimoyas — that instead of throwing them out, cut them up and sample. It’s a great way to build sales and introduce the fruit to new shoppers.”
Retailers, on the whole, haven’t held up their part of the educational bargain, said consultant Dick Spezzano, owner of Spezzano Consulting Service, Monrovia, Calif.
“I don’t see them doing a really great job on that,” he said. “There’s probably some regionals in my area that do a decent job, but it’s all about information and how well you train the produce people.”
Less knowledge means fewer sales, said Bill Sheridan, executive vice president of sales with Banacol Marketing Corp., Miami.
“We find the best (approach is) having a demo person very familiar with the products and how they should be prepared,” he said.
Coral Gables, Fla.-based Turbana Corp. tries to aim its messaging at consumers, said Scott DiMartini, regional sales manager.
“We have assistance with that now, with the boom of food networks and fusion-themed restaurants,” he said.