California Citrus: More Popular Than Ever

Displays That Work

Sunkist Display

Photo courtesy of Sunkist

New varieties have made the California citrus category more exciting than ever, and veteran shippers advise giving this fruit its due on the department floor.

“Build compelling waterfall displays front-and-center that shout, ‘Buy me!’ Four- to 12-foot-wide displays can all be effective; use available POS to call out the product and draw in the consumer,” advises Bob DiPiazza, president emeritus of Sun Pacific Marketing, Pasadena, CA. “Display contests capture the creativity and competitive spirit of your produce managers. A price that offers your customers good value is always a plus.”

One tempting strategy to reject is using citrus as breaks between different varieties of apples, pears or other fruit.

“Sunkist recommends retailers avoid using citrus as a color break. Create a citrus section that allows consumers to shop the category and explore the versatility of citrus,” says Joan Wickham, director of communications at Sunkist Growers, Valencia, CA.

Some grower-shippers offer assistance in developing displays and promotions.

“We think retailers know what’s best in terms of displaying product; however, we are always happy to provide supplemental marketing and POS material to those who think they’d benefit,” says Monique Bienvenue, director of communications at Bee Sweet Citrus, Fowler, CA.

One shipper has a robust promotion program designed to help citrus merchandising the entire year. “Each week we share Tasti-Tuesday tips with our grocery partners, who provide tips on how consumers can use citrus,” says John Chamberlain, director of marketing at Limoneira, based in Santa Paula, CA. “These short videos can be added to marketing efforts to give their shoppers additional uses. We offer a calendar of promotions that are complimentary and value-added for our grocery partners. We also offer our grocery partners free promotions monthly to help them sell more citrus.”

There is also little that is new when it comes to citrus packaging.

“A few companies are trying four to six smaller fruit in a clamshell, but the bagging is the same as it has been,” says David Roth, president of Cecilia Packing, Orange Cove, CA.

Aside from these experimental clamshells, citrus is bulked or bagged depending on the variety.

“Most major retailers are not selling bulk Mandarins; Mandarins are sold in mesh 2-, 3-, and 5-pound bags, and 5-pound boxes,” says DiPiazza. “Three pound bags and 5-pound bags and boxes are the most predominant. Very little is sold bulk. Navels are sold in 4-, 5-, 8- and 10-pound mesh or poly/mesh bags. And Navels are also sold in bulk. Generally, lemons, limes and grapefruit are sold both bulk and bagged. For oranges, 45 percent is loose, 55 percent is bagged. For lemons, 64 percent is loose, 36 percent is bagged.”

Shippers generally offer many sizes of bags for their easy-peeler varieties.

“We’ve noticed that the 2-, 3-, and 5-pound bags are the most popular for our Mandarins,” says Bienvenue. “There is not much bulk; most of our product is sold in bags.”