Anticipation for Vidalia onions ramps up at retailers

03/29/2012 01:04:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

“The Vidalia onion is a very popular sweet onion throughout the year,” he said.

“It’s synonymous with springtime and outdoor cooking. We recommend Vidalias remain centrally located within the produce department.”

Shuman said 5-pound consumer bags remain the most popular Vidalia retail offering. He said consumer bags constitute 40% of Shuman’s total sales, up from 15% 10-15 years go.

R.E. Hendrix, president of Hendrix Produce Inc., Metter, said Vidalias generate much excitement among consumers and retailers.

“They (the retailers) are ready for a change,” he said.

“Everyone’s ready for something new. If they’ve been doing Mexican onions, they’re ready for something new. Vidalias are still a premium. Like a Texas guy told me, when we start, their business goes south. Their sales go to foodservice, where they ship more into that area. The chain store business goes to the Vidalia.”

In sweet onions, Vidalias remain the star in the produce aisle, said Benjie Richter, a partner in Richter and Co. Inc., Charlotte, N.C.

“The Vidalia is a magic name,” he said.

“Of course, there are sweet onions year-round, but there’s only one Vidalia. That name is synonymous with the sweet, mild and wonderful flavor of the Vidalia. A lot of our trade has built up tremendous retail reputation on the Vidalias.”


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