Chelan Fresh's Mac Riggan Discusses Cherry Season, How Retailers Can Capitalize
- by Jordan Okumura
CHELAN, WA - Cherry seasonality is both our biggest opportunity and our most difficult challenge–this is what Mac Riggan, Director of Marketing at Chelan Fresh, tells me as we discuss the unique elements of the high-impact Washington cherry category. When I ask him what he means by this, he takes a moment to reflect.
“When you look at Washington cherries, their biggest opportunity is in the pent-up demand caused by their seasonality, or rather, shorter season,” Mac shares with me. “The challenge is that consumers are not always aware of the variations in seasons–when it starts and how long it lasts. Because of cherries’ brief season, consumers need to be reminded of their availability in order for retailers to take advantage of their impact on sales, and this is where retailers can create opportunities.”
While the end of the Washington cherry season may be approaching, it is nowhere near finished, and the chances to capture cherry sales in the produce department are nowhere near over.
“During the month of July, cherries are still the largest generators in dollars per square-foot in the produce department. Also, 43 percent of cherry consumers need to see cherries featured to remind them to buy, as their timing is constantly in question,” Mac says. “Nearly 72 percent of cherry purchases are impulse buys and that is what really drives the need for retail displays to be big, prominent, and front-and- center, or at check-out stands, as much as their environment will allow profitably.”
People get excited when they see cherries, and because they are such an impulse item, retailers can take advantage of the season by also creating awareness through those secondary displays, ad features, IRCs, in-store promotions, through social media, and even on their websites.
One of the ways that Chelan Fresh is helping to keep cherries top-of-mind is by extending their usage and versatility outside of the traditional season. With the company’s new Freeze for Later POS card, Chelan Fresh is inviting consumers to look ahead with freezing tips on enjoying cherries long after the season has wrapped up.
“There are still large portions of cherry sales we can capture. It’s about keeping cherries top-of-mind and keeping the displays full at all times. With cherries being such a high dollar-per-square-foot item, they warrant a little love,” he smiles.
While cherry time, all the time, may only be wishful thinking–for a consumer like me, we will take ALL the cherries we can get.