Originally printed in the February 2018 issue of Produce Business.
Tadych’s Econofoods, a six-store supermarket chain headquartered in Iron Mountain, MI, experiences strong sales with 3-pound bags.
“All of our customers love the mandarins,” says Jim Weber, produce director at the six-store chain headquartered in Iron Mountain, MI. “The 3-pound bags sell the best over the 5-pound bag/box. I advertise them twice a month from November to March.” Big displays work best all season, though customers seek them out, he says.
Shippers supply a variety of packaging, notes Brian Josephs, vice president of produce and floral with Topco Associates, an Elk Grove Village, IL, cooperative that provides grocery stores and other businesses with aggregation and management services. “Mandarin suppliers have listened to consumers and changed their packaging, moving from 5-pound boxes and containers down to 2- and 3-pound bags,” he says. “People can buy them more frequently, and they go through them a little quicker, so they buy more of them.”
Josephs is also an advocate of offering mandarins in bulk. “If you get one bad mandarin in the bag, it’s good to have an ability to repack them or sell them loose,” he says.
Regardless of how they’re packaged, mandarins should be kept in a cool location. “A mandarin’s shelf life can be extended if it’s rotated constantly and stored in a refrigerated area, if possible,” says Monique Bienvenue, director of communications for Bee Sweet, a grower-packer-shipper based in Fowler, CA. “This will help the citrus maintain its freshness and sweet taste.”
Sun Pacific’s Cuties are available in 2-, 3- and 5-pound bags, as well as 5-pound boxes. Offering a variety of packaging sizes is helpful, as it allows consumers to select the size that best fits their household, says Howard Nager, vice president of marketing and business development for the company, based in Pasadena, CA. Smaller sizes appeal to smaller households and have a lower entry point, while larger sizes appeal to families with a better per-pound value, he says.
“Large displays in high traffic areas help to increase incremental purchases and drive sales,” explains Nager.