Hallows recommends retailers merchandise asparagus in two locations. One location is in a wet rack, standing in clean water. The other is in a lead position in the produce department standing in water on a dry display. He suggests cross merchandising asparagus with chicken breasts, displaying green, white and purple asparagus together, or placing vegetables such as baby carrots and pepper slices with asparagus in overwrapped trays.
Good signs are important in selling asparagus at retail. Retailers should use point-of-purchase materials to draw shoppers to asparagus displays, Tjerandsen said.
“It’s a high-impulse purchase item,” he said. “You have to really call attention to it.”
The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market has a new program to help local retailers sell Bay Area asparagus. Many consumers in the area prefer locally grown produce, so the market worked with a design firm to create point-of-sale materials that distributors can provide to their customers, said Michael Janis, general manager.
The initiative promotes asparagus that is grown within a 160-mile range of San Francisco. Materials include cards for racks and posters. Retailers had requested more information about local produce so they could communicate it to their customers, said Scott Salisbury, manager for Jacobs, Malcolm & Burtt Inc., San Francisco. He said the initiative has gotten good support and he expects it to expand to other local items.
Tim Hallows, Western region marketing manager for Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., said offering recipes at the point of sale is a good way to inform shoppers about the many ways to prepare asparagus. Mission provides display-ready boxes, recipes on bags and other point-of-sale materials.
Gourmet Trading offers a merchandising pack during Washington asparagus season, Inestroza said. It promotes asparagus for grilling with bilingual English and French or English and Spanish tags, and 11 inch by 7 inch POS posters. The company has used the pack for several years.
Carb Americas can work with retailers on point-of-purchase fliers, endcap promotional programs and in-cart advertising, Friedman said. The in-cart ads are small cardboard inserts for shopping carts that advertise asparagus and feature the CarbAmericas logo and the retailer’s logo.
Carb Americas supplements its 11-pound case program with a value-added case of 10-ounce bunches of asparagus. The bunches are packed 17 to a box, instead of the typical 11 1-pound bunches in a box, which reduces the per-bunch freight costs and allows retailers to advertise at a lower price, Friedman said. The 10-ounce bunches are rubberbanded and labeled with traceability stickers.