MARKETING & MERCHANDISING OPPORTUNITIES
The marketing of imported fruit is much the same as domestic fruit, according to Viva Tierra’s Probst. “Retailers can promote the freshness of fruit harvested in the off season. There is a definite flavor advantage to imported, new-harvest fruit over fruit which has been many months in storage. Our company has introduced new retail packaging that conveys our emphasis on seasonal freshness and the advantages of sourcing produce from multiple growing areas in order to follow the harvest. The new packaging will be available on our imported apples and pears in early 2020.”
The premium for organic fruits and vegetables can still be a challenge when it comes to promotion.
“The availability of organic fruits and vegetables has certainly increased year-round year. The only issue sometimes is getting something for a price that won’t slow up the volume of sales,” says Marc Goldman, produce director at Morton Williams Supermarkets, a 16-store chain based in Bronx, NY.
That said, price differences between domestic and imported organic produce is often ruled by supply and demand, says Robert Lichtenberg, director of purchasing for Earl’s Organic Produce, in San Francisco. “It costs the same whether you’re flying or sailing in conventional or organically grown produce. It’s the produce itself that costs more. However, with greater supplies worldwide in the future, organics overall should become more affordable.”
Lastly, adds Viva Tierra’s Probst, “Retailers open to stocking different sizes or varieties of fruit may be able to take advantage of surges in supply to negotiate discounts. Preset volume programs are also a good way to go, although they do require planning and commitment.”