Chris Franzoy, president of Young Guns Produce Inc., Deming, N.M., said summer holidays are an important time to promote onions.
“We plan to target the Fourth of July, and Labor Day as well. We’re expecting to promote New Mexico sweet onions in various pack sizes,” he said.
Sherise Jones, marketing director for the Parma, Idaho-based Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee/USA Onions, said grilling promotions are a great way to leverage Labor Day promotions.
“We encourage outdoor grilling and the utilization of outdoor onion recipes,” Jones said, mentioning the committee’s alliance with Weber Stephen Products Co.
Jones said no specific promotions are in place yet but that it’s important for retailers to remember that grilling and onions go hand in hand with the holidays.
Medium onions may see more attention this year, while jumbos may see higher prices, according to Matt Curry, president of Curry & Co., Brooks, Ore., which markets onions for Hermiston, Ore.-based River Point Farms, among others.
“This year’s crops seem to be peaking on medium-sized onions versus jumbos, so we feel you’ll see more mediums in the marketplace and a higher-than-normal premium price on jumbo onions,” Curry said.
He believes the smaller profile crop is mostly a result of weather conditions so far this spring.
Curry believes that by taking some chances and making a few changes, such as trying bins if you only have bags or taking advantage of regional trends and multiple bag size options, retailers can see strong results.
“If you give your onion program some TLC, you can drive sales. Change up your program a little bit here and there and you’ll see an increase in sales,” he said.
Kim Reddin, director of public relations for the Greeley, Colo.-based National Onion Association agreed.
“There are some items that are just not as commonly put on ads, but if retailers can work with suppliers to put onions on ad more frequently, it will make a difference,” she said.
Reddin said that even promoting off-season onions can be helpful.
“There’s definitely a lift in sales when onions are placed on ad, even if they are just on ad for the regular price,” she said.
Retailers need to remember that stable items can’t be overlooked.
“Just because it’s a staple doesn’t mean they don’t serve the department when on ad,” Reddin said.
Displays also help create excitement for the onion category, according to marketers.
“Eye-catching displays with high-graphic bins are always good,” said Corey Griswold, president, ProSource Inc., Hailey, Idaho, which markets onions for Rincon, N.M.-based Lack Farms.
In fact, Griswold said that using bins rather than bags can help create interest and excitement.
“It helps give onions a more ‘farm-fresh’ feel,” Griswold said.
However, Griswold also noted the importance of effective bag designs.
“When you have good information on the packs, it’s a good selling point,” he said.
Both bags and bins can be used to build large, effective displays.
“That’s why we provide bags, bins and boxes that work well to complement each other and feature the product with bright and colorful imagery to draw consumers’ eyes and attention,” said John Shuman, president and director of sales, Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga.
The location of these displays is important.
“We suggest placing sweet onions in the center of the produce department for maximum effect. Secondary displays are recommended during peak season and holiday promotions to take advantage of the incremental sales increases seen during those periods,” Shuman said in an e-mail.