2023 Masters of Merchandising: DOLE


Bananas continue to reign as America’s favorite fruit. They are practically the perfect food: convenient, economical, nutrient-packed, naturally sweet, just the right size for kids’ lunches, and offering their own bio-degradable packaging. In fact, bananas are consistently one of the top-selling items sold across all items in grocery stores throughout North America with upwards of 90% household penetration.
With their ubiquity, bananas are the satisfying, all-natural comfort food your customers turn to when times are uncertain. Despite rising inflation and food costs across the board, bananas have done better than most other produce and household staple items in maintaining their appeal for consumers and holding their average basket size of 2.5 to 3 pounds. For shoppers looking to stretch their food dollar, the beloved yellow fruit remains one of the best values throughout the entire supermarket.
Savvy retailers and produce managers can remind shoppers of this to leverage the banana’s staying power by leaning into the fruit’s premium nutrition story, classic taste, low-unit price and unsurpassed value as an all-daypart recipe ingredient and healthier, economical alternative to breakfast and energy bars, snack foods, post-workout sports drinks and just about everything in-between.

So how can retailers entice shoppers to buy more of the fruit they already love?


  • Offer Organic! Industry stats prove that organic produce is now a mainstream product. Your customers may be actively looking for organic bananas and will trade up for them, so it’s an important option to keep in-stock.
  • Sell bananas at every stage. Bananas are versatile at all stages of ripeness. Consumer tastes vary widely so offering multiple-color stages appeals to broader shopper usage preferences and demographics, and may increase purchase size.
  • Don’t limit bananas to the produce section. Secondary displays near the cereal aisle, dairy section or check-out can promote bananas as an impulse purchase or single-serve snack option.
  • Educate shoppers about their bananas. Most shoppers are eager to know where and how their bananas are grown and surprised to learn how many steps it takes to get those bananas from the farm to their smoothie, cereal bowl or favorite recipe. The more they know, the more they will appreciate their favorite fruit.
  • First impressions are everything. Keeping your displays fully stocked with bright, beautiful, unblemished DOLE® Bananas is the key to attracting consumer attention.
  • Present Inspiration. Shoppers know everything about bananas – or do they? Offer unexpected usage ideas or recipe suggestions at the point of sale to create an impulse to buy a few more fingers.
  • Go beyond the Cavendish. The yellow Cavendish is still America’s favorite banana, but other exotic varieties such as DOLE® Red Bananas, Plantains and Baby Bananas are increasingly popular. Stocking these varieties can boost incremental banana sales.
  • Leverage the power of the world’s most famous brands. Dole’s national nutritional alliance with Disney and partnerships with various health, wellness and hunger-relief groups offers myriad in-store, POP and other exclusive merchandising opportunities.


Dole has a mission to Make the World a Healthier Place. And yes at Dole, we have a broad definition of health.

Of course, it includes nutrition and wellness, but it is more than that. It is a healthy planet with clean water and renewable energy; healthy farms with rich soils and quality products; healthy living with sustainable labor and wages; and healthy production with low emissions and smaller carbon footprints.

We have the privilege of being part of an organization that delivers highly nutritious products bringing health benefits to people across the world, with a comparatively low environmental footprint compared to most other food types. Dole recognizes that we have an essential responsibility, as an industry leader, for the people we employ, the local communities in which we operate, and the natural environment which allows us to produce and deliver fresh fruits and vegetables every day. We have a duty of care to ensure that we treat the very earth from which we harvest our produce with all the attention it so rightfully deserves and put back much more than we take out.

At the end of 2022, Dole released its latest The Dole Way sustainability report to highlight the good work done to date, but also to demonstrate the plans the organization has for the future and the targets, milestones, and timelines we have set ourselves to achieve objectives and continue to develop Dole as an ever more sustainable business. As the company’s largest and most prolific crop, bananas will continue to play a pivotal role in this bold path moving forward.

For retailers looking to address the growing calls for partner transparency, a premium Dole banana program with unique advantages—from a controlled supply chain, a focused account team and reliably sourced and delivered volumes to the ability to convert this rising consumer passion for sustainability and authenticity into increased sales and customer loyalty—stands ready to partner with you to make the world a healthier place.


Dole offers retailers access to some of the most powerful – and appealing! – characters, alliances, healthy-living initiatives, social media platforms, follower groups and online recipe libraries in produce.

We were proud to renew our partnership with No Kid Hungry for 2023 to combat childhood hunger and striving to ensure all children have access to three healthy meals a day. Dole continues its long-term nutritional alliance with The Walt Disney Company featuring integrated in-store and digital health and wellness campaigns inspired by Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films, characters and special celebrations.

2023 will also be the year of Bobby Banana, Dole’s beloved mascot representing the energy, exuberance and healthy, all-audience fun of America’s most popular produce. Look for Bobby’s reemergence this year as the face of DOLE® Bananas for back-to-school, at special events, in the media and as the star of Dole web, social media, marketing and retail programs.

With some advance planning, Bobby can also be the star of your store! Check with your Dole sales rep about character appearances – and to learn more about in-store POP, merchandising tips, recipes, nutrition education and other ways to leverage DOLE® Bananas.

To learn more about in-store POP, merchandising tips, recipes, nutrition education and the myriad other ways to leverage the heroic possibilities of DOLE® Bananas, contact your Dole representative.

200 South Tryon Street, Ste 600, Charlotte, NC 28202