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The key to retail sales success, where Vidalia onions are concerned, is visibility, suppliers and marketers say.

“(Consumers) like to see a big display, but you’ve got to have what the customer wants, and we’re pushing the appearance,” said Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia, Ga.-based Vidalia Onion Committee.

Retailers have plenty of point-of-sale materials available to enhance any display, Stafford said.

“We’ve got some stuff we send out, but most of our growers send it out themselves,” he said.

Retailers need to put up plenty of signage to maximize sales, said Delbert Bland, president of Glennville, Ga.-based Bland Farms LLC.

“The biggest possible thing that retailers need to do to sell Vidalia onions is put up a sign, let people know what they got,” he said. “Just putting onions on the shelf ain’t the way things are. You’ve got let people know what you’ve got.”

“I see retailers getting better and better every year at their in-store promotions and use of POS materials and just paying attention to details ... that sales are increasing every year for most,” said Walt Dasher, co-owner of Glennville-based grower-shipper G&R Farms. 

Store merchandisers can expect plenty of conventional and organic Vidalia onions this season, from roughly mid-April through August, said John Shuman, president of Reidsville, Ga.-based Shuman Farms.

“Based on our consumer research, we know that merchandising Vidalia onions throughout the produce department is important to maximize sales.”

It’s also important to recommend that retailers focus on the importance of seasonality, holidays, and consumer trends during Vidalia season, Shuman said.

“For example, we are seeing the topic of ‘meal planning’ driving search inquires and purchases just as much as the spring holidays,” he said. 

“We encourage retailers to build easy-to-shop displays for consumers with a variety of ingredients, including Vidalia onions, to help them get dinner on the table quickly.”

Versatility and visibility are keys to strong retail sales of Vidalia onions, said Mike Blume, sales and marketing director with Greencastle, Pa.-based Keystone Fruit Marketing, a division of Progressive Produce LLC.

“Nothing says ‘buy me’ quite like big, prominent bulk and consumer bag displays,” he said. 

“End caps, stand-alones, value-added product offerings, multi-size categories and consumer bagged displays offer consumers multiple buying options.”