WINTER SPRINGS, FL – Putting produce at the center of the plate, retailers can find lots of increased sales opportunities with watermelons. With consumers searching for more convenient options with healthy overtones, how can retail and foodservice operators alike tap into consumers’ prolonged love for the watermelon?
As the team from the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) recently told me, a mix of value-added and trending dishes can help push retailers sales during the colder seasons.
“Convenience is very important to today’s consumer, as their lives continue to get busier,” Juliemar Rosado, Director of Retail Operations and International Marketing, tells me. “For this reason, convenient fresh cuts in chunks, spears, and slices can increase sales as consumers have access to an easy meal in just as much as they need.”
The NWPB is also looking to increase consumption of watermelon through the ongoing development of tasty recipes featuring trending ingredients.
“Watermelons are a versatile fruit and available to North American consumers year-round with imported product,” details Stephanie Barlow, Senior Director of Communications. “It’s easy to develop recipes that are specific to the winter holidays, or push consumption of watermelon past the summer season with smoothies and salads.”
The NWPB emphasizes that only 49 percent of consumers are aware of the health benefits the watermelon offers, according to their 2016 consumer study. These benefits can be highlighted with winter-themed recipes such as the following, which promote the fruit as a source of antioxidants, vitamins A and C, lycopene, and potassium:
- Watermelon cranberry sauce
- Candy cane cocktails
- Cranberry coconut and fig chutney
With further exposure to the diversity the fruit offers, consumers can use the entirety of the fruit with other fun activities such as carving watermelon penguins, a watermelon snowman, and watermelon ornaments.
Megan McKenna, Director of Foodservice and Marketing, details that watermelon offers a deluge of opportunities for foodservice in addition to retail.
“Watermelon is one of the fastest growing fruits on smoothie and salad menus, according to our 2015 MenuTrends Research. To increase the penetration of watermelon throughout foodservice, we offer education on topics such as handling, cutting, yield, shelf-life, and usage with the foodservice audience,” she says.
As watermelon continues to prove a worthy selection throughout the entire year, the team reveals that NWPB has even more plans in the works to keep watermelon top-of-mind. From further waste alternatives, increased consumer education, and recipe cultivation to the growth of its foodservice platform, NWPB is prepared to launch watermelons into consumer baskets this holiday season and beyond.