Grocery Outlet cross-merchandises bananas with Nilla wafers and California clementines. In early December, Olson was preparing to launch a kiwifruit program by setting up a shipper display of the fruit in front of the bananas.
“That helps sell kiwis,” he said.
Suppliers offer a number of programs to support retail banana sales.
Dole Fresh Fruit introduced its 366 Ways to Go Bananas campaign Jan. 1, said Bil Goldfield, communications manager for Dole Food Co., Westlake Village, Calif.
The initiative will be supported by a 12-month multimedia marketing effort encompassing a campaign-specific microsite, traditional and digital advertising, sticker program, public relations, social media, and blogger and other third-party partnerships, he said.
Dole also will work with retailers across the country to develop in-store promotions, point-of-sale materials, sampling events and other programs.
Miami-based Banacol Marketing Corp. also will roll out a number of promotions throughout 2012, said Bill Sheridan, executive vice president.
The company likely will have loyalty card programs for consumers and display contests and sales competitions for retailers, he said.
Turbana Corp., Coral Gables, Fla., has many tools to help retailers grow their banana and plantain business, said Bianca Pastor, marketing communications coordinator.
One tool is Hispanic marketing assistance.
“Turbana is a specialist in marketing to the Hispanic community and can be a valuable partner for retailers to help capture the Hispanic market segment,” she said.
Another is the firm’s ability to offer private label products.
“Offering private-label produce can help a retailer differentiate themselves and is essentially another advertising medium,” she said.
Offering Fair Trade-certified bananas is one more way retailers can grow their business, she said.
Suppliers also have some useful merchandising suggestions.
Sheridan recommends merchandising bananas prominently in the produce department and implementing a two-color program.
“Making sure you have the right color really helps sell bananas,” he said.
“Handle bananas with the care used with fragile eggs and maintain storage temperatures between 56 and 65 (degrees),” he said. “The key to merchandising bananas is to keep a large display full of bananas in a single layer that is prominent throughout the produce department.”