California Giant Berry Farms' Kyla Oberman Provides Insight on Tight Strawberry Market
- by Peggy Packer
WATSONVILLE, CA - Bold and vibrant strawberry displays never fail to draw me in as I explore my local produce department, and I know many consumers feel the same. As the berry category continues to maintain its basket share, I get in touch with California Giant Berry Farms’ Director of Marketing, Kyla Oberman, who gives me exclusive insight on the tight strawberry market.
“Shoppers are focused on consuming healthy, good-for-you foods now more than ever,” Kyla tells me. “We’re seeing a lot of new data from various resources that all prove that berries have performed very well through this past year. Retailers should continue to boost their merchandising displays, regardless of the time of year, with California Giant’s berries.”
As demand remains steady across the category, California Giant’s summer strawberry harvest in Watsonville and Salinas, California, is still going strong, with the Santa Maria, California, harvest just beginning. The grower is currently harvesting Monterey, Cabrillo, San Andreas, Sweet Anne, Albion, and Portola strawberry varieties out of these regions.
“The season is looking really good,” Kyla adds. “Growers got off to a late start this spring, but have been able to rebound from any volume deficits by having a later-than-typical summer harvest. While supply has remained strong and steady, the market continues to be tight.”
With its Santa Maria operation beginning harvesting this month, the supplier is anticipating volume to ramp up by early September, helping to maintain supply out of California through November, when Mexico production will then start to ship. Overall, California Giant is reporting great quality and is preparing retailers for the opportunity to capitalize on the ever-growing demand for berries this season.
To boost strawberry sales, and the berry category as a whole, buyers should ensure shoppers have the full patch available by displaying all four berries together. Retailers can also enact the same strategy via online ordering platforms by developing custom digital plans—and if there’s any time to put innovative new merchandising strategies in place, it’s ahead of the back-to-school season.
“Parents like me are struggling to get back into the swing of things now that the kids are back in school and need healthy and quick breakfasts, snacks, and packed lunch boxes. Berries, especially strawberries and blueberries, are ideal school snacks for their portable, pop-able, and colorful features that kids love. Parents love them too for their massive health benefits, as berries provide ideal fuel power to get kids through the day,” Kyla mentions.
With this sales-driving season presenting buyers with the chance to maximize ROI in the berry set, retailers can confidently reinvigorate their strawberry displays, while also planning ahead for California Giant’s peak of season availability of raspberries and blackberries.
Start planning your promotions now, because a bevy of high-quality berries is sure to be a boon for any produce department.