Summer Demand Heating Up for California Grapes
- by Robert Schaulis
FRESNO, CA - This summer is looking to be a hot one for the California grape industry, with demand heating up and shipments on the rise. And the California Table Grape Commission (CTGC) has important tips and insights for retailers looking to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by the beloved fruit.
According to the CTGC’s research, 96 percent of primary shoppers in the U.S. say they prefer grapes grown in California vs. another country when prices are the same, and 77 percent say they still prefer California grapes even if they’re priced higher than grapes from other origins.
“These findings confirm that California grapes continue to be in strong demand in the U.S.,” said Cindy Plummer, Commission Vice President of Domestic Marketing. “It is important to advertise often to get grapes on the lists of those shoppers who make many of their purchasing decisions before they even step foot in the store.”
The same research also offers insight into how shoppers typically go about purchasing their grapes. More than half of U.S. shoppers (52 percent) purchase grapes once per week or more, and 45 percent of grape purchasers make the decision to purchase grapes before they go into the store.
To maximize sales, the CTGC recommends promoting California grapes three to five times per month; doing so, the commission noted, can increase sales by 30-57 percent. Front page ads create the greatest impact on the grape category followed by front page ads coupled with in-store price reductions.
While many shoppers pre-plan their grape purchases, there is still a large percentage, over 25 percent, who buy grapes on impulse. Abundant, fresh, high-quality, and well-maintained grape displays, the CTGC noted, can generate increased sales for California grapes.
The commission recommends the following merchandising and display tips designed to drive sales and maximize profitability:
- When building a display, bagged grapes should be gently stacked no more than three layers high. Two-pound clamshells can be stacked up to four layers high, and four-pound clamshells in original shipper boxes can be stacked up to six layers high. These stack height recommendations will assist in decreasing shatter and breakdown of the grapes.
- Refrigerated grape displays will have an increased shelf-life.
- Remove any poor-quality, tired, and non-appealing grapes from the display.
- Display grapes with proper country of origin signage as well as variety and price information.
- Expand display space for grapes with large abundant displays that are frequently refreshed and generate increased sales.
- Cross merchandise grapes with various food items. For example, pair grapes with cheese and crackers for an easy portable picnic, with small bags or containers to make them more portable, with bread and peanut butter for the ultimate easy snack.
- Create multiple or secondary displays to drive additional sales and highlight unique varieties or showcase premium grapes, value grapes, organic grapes, etc.
- Build creative displays that grab the attention of consumers that include overhead signage, balloons, etc. The commission offers price cards and danglers to retailers to decorate their displays.
“Summer holidays, such as Labor Day, as well as picnics and BBQ themes, are the perfect time for retailers to get creative with their displays for California grapes to draw consumer attention and increase sales,” added Plummer.
The commission also offers promotion incentives through traffic radio, where retailers have the opportunity to tag their store name onto 10-second announcer-read promotional messages that includes mention of California grapes and a retail chain. Traffic radio is available to those retailers who upgrade their ad to a front page or multiple variety grape ad.
AndNowUKnow will continue to report on ways in which retailers can capitalize on the opportunities California table grapes offer.