Highlighting Flavor of Specialty Citrus is Key to Increasing Sales

Winter and the Holidays

There are ample ways to promote citrus during the winter months.

“Peak citrus season is during the winter months, from December through April,” says Joan Wickham, communications director at Sunkist Growers, a Valencia, CA-based cooperative that works with family farms in California and Arizona. “More consumers are interested in eating seasonally, and promoting peak-season citrus is a great way to capitalize on that trend during the winter months when there is not a lot of domestic fruit in season.”

Make sure the fruit you want to highlight is in a prominent location. “Creating end cap displays during the peak periods of citrus is one way to capture the consumer because many of the sales today are impulse buys,” says Al Finch, president of Florida Classic Growers, a grower owned cooperative located in Dundee, FL. “If you’re able to get your product on the end cap display, you do a better job of capturing that sale.”

Winter holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving are an ideal time to promote these products.

“Bright and beautiful citrus can liven up winter dishes with a burst of flavor and color that is fantastic for holiday entertaining and even décor,” says Wickham.

“Halos have a lot of association with Christmas,” says Adam Cooper, vice president of marketing for Wonderful Halos, Los Angeles. “They’re part of many holiday snacking occasions that are out there, and people put Halos in stockings.” To draw attention to Halos around Christmas, Wonderful Citrus will be providing wraps that fit across multiple displays and feature the Halo mascot driving a sled through a winter wonderland.

“There’s definitely more demand for 5-pound boxes around Thanksgiving and Christmas,” says Paul Coffman, sales manager for LGS Specialty Sales, a produce importer and distributor based in New Rochelle, NY. He recommends putting boxes of Clementines on half or full pallet displays in stores to create “can’t miss” destinations

Don’t forget about other holidays that are celebrated in the winter months.

“Those who celebrate the Chinese New Year will purchase oranges, Mandarins and Pummelos because they symbolize good fortune and wealth,” says Monique Bienvenue, director of communications with Bee Sweet Citrus, a citrus grower/packer/shipper based in Fowler, CA.

As citrus season gets longer, try merchandising the fruit for other, less traditional holidays as well. The red interior of Cara Cara and Blood oranges makes them ideal for Valentine’s Day. People can give them as gifts or use them in special home-cooked meals.

Wonderful Citrus will do a Halos wrap with the Easter bunny in March and April. “There are times of year that we know are great snacking occasions when people are looking for healthy snacks,” he says. “These include holidays, but they also include major sporting events and other special occasions. Don’t hesitate to merchandise Tangerines and other citrus as the perfect, easy-to-eat snacking alternative for the Super Bowl, March Madness and other times when people throw parties,” says Cooper.