Bulk displays are still common, particularly with fancy-grade citrus, but bagged product seems to be gaining prominence at retail, particularly for value-conscious shoppers, according to citrus marketers.
“We’re seeing retailers utilizing both bag and bulk for citrus,” said Al Finch, vice president of sales and marketing with Lake Hamilton, Fla.-based Florida Classic Growers Inc.
“There seems to be a little more push on our bag promotions because of the economy, where people are watching their dollars more and they feel they’re getting more value by upsizing to a bag versus loose. So, we’re seeing more bag promotions today.”
Bags seem to have an edge over bulk in terms of convenience, said Andrew Brown, a grower and a director with Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual.
Retailers also make use of bulk citrus displays, said Tom Wollenman, general manager of Lindsay, Calif.-based LoBue Bros.
“If I go into one of the local chain stores here, I’ll see a big display in the citrus category, and they have everything,” said Wollenman, who also serves as California Citrus Mutual chairman.
“They’ve got minneolas, satsumas, navels and cara caras. Part of that will be a bulk display and at the same time, you’ll have bagged product that is in 4- and 5-pound bags. Normally in those types of things, there’s a little more value for the consumer.”
Mission, Texas-based grapefruit grower-shipper Rio Queen Inc. packs in bags and also ships bulk, said Mike Martin, president.
“It seems we’re doing a little more bagging each year,” he said.
“I think that’s more from a value proposition. A 5-pound bag is a better buy for the consumer than the fancy loose fruit. I think that’s part of it.”
The balance of bag versus bulk remains steady, said Randy Jacobsen, sales manager with Cecelia Packing Corp., Orange Cove, Calif.
“I think at least as far as navel oranges are concerned, the bag-bulk separation has been fairly stable from year to year,” Jacobsen said.