Masters of Merchandising: DOLE

Sponsored Content



It’s easy to see why bananas continue to reign as America’s favorite fruit. Convenient, economical, nutrient-packed, naturally sweet, just the right size for kids’ lunches, and offering their own bio-degradable packaging, they are practically the perfect food. In fact, bananas are consistently one of the top-selling items sold across all items in grocery stores nationwide with upwards of 90% household penetration.

After a spike during the early months of COVID-19, banana demand returned to pre-pandemic levels and an average purchase quantity of 2.5 to 3 pounds, similar to what it has been for years.

What can retailers do to entice shoppers to buy more of the sweet, yellow fruit they love?


• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• First impressions are everything. Keeping your displays fully-stocked with bright, beautiful, unblemished DOLE® bananas is the key to attracting consumer attention.


Despite global pandemics, lockdowns, hurricanes and other ongoing challenges, the thousands of men and women at Dole and throughout the banana industry continue to work hard to support those in need and keep the fruit in stock.

Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit back-to-back in Central America in late 2020, causing widespread destruction in Honduran and Guatemalan communities that support banana farms and workers. The portion of North American banana supply that comes from these two countries was decimated.

And more than that, people lost their homes, crops, possessions and entire livelihoods. Flooded towns created the immediate need for food, clothing, supplies and potable water.

Thanks to the interconnectedness of the banana industry which links employees at Dole and elsewhere to those in need globally, a relief and fundraising program was established to allow the public to help. Every $25 collected is being used to purchase a food basket containing red beans, rice, corn flour, vegetable oil and powdered milk that can feed a family of five for a month. Local Dole volunteers are personally distributing the food baskets in Dole communities.

Of course, the hurricanes cap a year of ongoing complexities associated with COVID-19 that saw our employees, growers, shippers, truckers and retailers go above and beyond the call of duty to keep supermarket shelves stocked.

The catastrophic product shortfalls from Honduras and Guatemala have created an urgent need to implement emergency alternative sourcing – coming at the cost of an incremental surcharge. Despite this translating into a relatively small increase to the consumer retail banana price, data shows that pound sales for bananas have not been negatively impacted and are actually up.

We believe consumers understand this and that those retailers raising banana prices to these sustainable levels will realize higher banana revenues.


Shoppers continue to demand transparency and a commitment to environmental and social responsibility from their favorite brands – and a willingness and excitement to support organizations that make these values a priority. As one of the most trusted brands by Millennials, Dole in 2020 released The Dole Way, our expanded sustainability initiative calling for packaging recyclability or compostability for DOLE® Bananas and reaching net-zero emissions from managed operations. The program also sets Dole’s first-ever enterprise-wide sustainability goals in water and carbon footprint management, soil conservation and sustainable packaging. 2021 will show even more evidence of the pivotal role that bananas play in this space.


Dole continues to offer the on-trend programs that allow our retailer partners to sell more DOLE Bananas and create a better world. In alliance with Dole Packaged Foods, we forged a partnership with No Kid Hungry to facilitate fruit and vegetable donations in impacted U.S. cities, and nutrition education and at-retail initiatives to ensure all children have access to three healthy meals a day, especially during summer months when school lunches aren’t available.

We’re also launching the next chapter in our nutrition collaboration with The Walt Disney Company: a healthy-living tribute to Disney’s Ultimate Princess Celebration featuring original Dole recipes, digital and social interactives, virtual events and in-store activations inspired by the famous heroines, and committed to encouraging kindness and courage in all aspects of daily life.

To learn more about in-store POP, product packaging, educational materials and other ways to get involved, contact your Dole representative.


200 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Read the entire Masters of Merchandising supplement.