LODI, Calif. — The bigger the display, the better when it comes to pear promotions, say grower-shippers.

Go big with pear displaysRetailers who want to move more pears also may want to consider creating a summer fruit display that includes pears alongside stone fruit.

Dave Parker, marketing adviser for Lodi-based Rivermaid Trading Co., said research conducted several years ago by the now-defunct California Tree Fruit Agreement supports the marriage of pears and stone fruit.

“If you display your bartletts with peaches, plums and nectarines, you’ll see an 11% lift with your pears sales, which is pretty significant,” said Parker, who used to work for the agreement. “Over the years, they’ve found it’s been proven repeatedly.”

Rivermaid Trading Co. preconditions all of its early fruit to ensure consumers have a good eating experience, he said..

Bartletts are known for changing from green to yellow as they ripen, something that many shoppers seek.

Some retailers may be hesitant about carrying bartletts in transition because of perceived increase shrink, Parker said. But he said they actually may experience less shrink because the fruit sells faster.

“When they begin to break (color), that’s when shoppers are attracted to them,” Parker said. “They stimulate sales more than anything. A good-sized display in the store front with breaking fruit, it does wonders for sales.”

David Thiessen, sales manager for David J. Elliot & Son, Courtland, said this year’s early start to the pear season, from a week to 10 days, should bode well for summer fruit promotions.

“Independent studies have shown that adding fresh bartletts to the summer fruit section gives the whole summer fruit category a bump,” he said. “So an early start offers a great opportunity to add something new to the summer fruit line-up, and it dovetails right into the fall and winter season.”

David J. Elliot & Son also preconditions its early fruit unless retailers request otherwise.

Since pears are an impulse purchase, Thiessen said coupons and in-store promotions have proven successful for many retailers. So have print ads and in-store samplings.

As consumers become more interested in the origin of food they’re buying, he said highlighting the California-grown aspect has become more important.

“I also believe consumers nationwide appreciate hearing the grower’s story and feeling a connection with the source,” Thiessen said. “The Elliot family has been farming pears in the Sacramento Delta for over 160 years and has a rich history in the area. This history resonates with many consumers, since they can feel a part of sustaining a way of life that in many areas is disappearing.”