Big displays, regular ads and a wide selection of pack sizes are vital to moving large quantities of strawberries at retail.
The strawberry display at Ralph’s Red Apple market in Bremerton, Wash., one of several independently owned Red Apple stores in Washington, doubles in size, featuring about five cases of strawberries in the summer compared to its winter display, said John Walker, produce manager.
Sometimes the store also has a display at checkout, he said.
“Strawberries are one of the top fruit sellers,” Walker said. “They’re a customer favorite — up there with grapes as a nice, healthy snack.”
Strawberries aren’t an ad item very often during the winter, but that changes in summer, when they’re on ad about three times a month, he said.
Regular price is about $3.99 a pound, and a typical special is two for the price of one.
The store offers 2-pound clamshells on ad about once a month during peak season.
Walker cross-merchandises strawberries with glaze, dessert cups and other bakery products.
Cross-merchandising gives consumers use ideas and boosts sales of related items as well as strawberries and helps shoppers save time, he said.
Ralph’s Red Apple features organic strawberries from time to time, if the market is good, Walker said. Sometimes they’re featured on ad.
Strawberries typically rank third in produce sales — after bananas and avocados — during peak season at Bel Air Market in Sacramento, Calif., said produce clerk Steve Jacobus.
When they’re on ad, which is about three weeks out of the month, they come in second, he said.
The store regularly offers 1-pound clamshells and sells 2-pounders when they’re on ad.
Jacobus cross-merchandises strawberries with dessert cups and sometimes glaze. He features white and chocolate dip with stem berries.
Regular price during the winter at Bel Air Market is about $4.99 per pound. Sale price is two for the price of 1. During the summer, they sell for $2.99 regular and $1.99 or two for $3 on sale.
The store sells about 10 times as many strawberries during the summer as it does in winter because of the higher quality and lower price, Jacobus said.
Suppliers say one way to increase strawberry sales is to offer a wide selection of packages — not just the 1-pound clamshell.
John King, vice president of sales for San Diego-based Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce, said he recently met with several retailers.
“What we’ve learned is that there is success in featuring additional, larger pack styles,” he said.
“We see retailers adding every day either a 2-pound, 3-pound or 4-pound clamshell.”
Repeat business has been very good on larger pack styles, he said.
“What it comes down to is that one pound of strawberries is not a lot strawberries,” King said. “If they taste good and look great, it’s easy for a family to (consume) a pound with just one sitting,” King said.
Pricing a 2-pound clamshell for less than two 1-pounders offers an incremental incentive to buy more strawberries, he added.
Strawberries are a favorite item for holidays at Red Apple, Walker said. The store sometimes triples sales on special occasions.
If a holiday is coming up and he can get a good price, Walker creates a large strawberry display, but he said he is careful not to set out too many berries.
“I want to keep them fresh and rotated,” he said.
Stems are big sellers for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day at Bel Air Market. Jacobus expected to sell 10 cases of stems in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.
The store merchandises strawberries on an endcap, at checkout and near the front door during the summer.
“We kind of spread them out, especially when they look good,” Jacobus said. “They’re a good impulse buy.”
In winter, they get about a 4-foot display.