With a decade of decline for pears in the produce department, Stemilt Growers has created a new initiative, Operation Flavor, to put pears back in good standing with consumers.

“The pear category contribution to the total produce department dropped 0.08% in just one year’s time and is currently at an all-time low of under 1%. Operation Flavor is Stemilt’s journey to reverse this trend and get more shoppers to enjoy pears,” Roger Pepperl, marketing director, said in a news release.

The Wenatchee, Wash.-based company and its pear partners, Peshastin Hi-Up, have launched the initiative by appointing internal pear ‘pilots’ and ‘promoters’ to increase pear sales.

The pilots are leaders that will look for and enact change for Stemilt’s Rushing Rivers brand pears, and promoters are believers in pears that implement Stemilt’s flavor and quality standards, according to the release.

Stemilt hopes to recruit retail pilots and promoters in the future. “If we can increase the knowledge on pears shared throughout the supply chain, we can fine-tune the quality and flavor experience for shoppers. That will result in better category results for pears,” Pepperl said in the release.

Stemilt is also adding two ThermalTech TarpLess ripening rooms for its RipeRite ready-to-eat pear program, according to the release. The ripening rooms are located in the company’s Wenatchee Olds Station facility, and two employees dedicated to pear ripening are among the new pilots.