Here’s a joke only a produce retailer can fully appreciate:
Why did the mushroom get invited to the best parties? Because he was a fun-gi!
As in the mushroom category. Are you positioned with the best possible varieties, using the best product placement, extending your offerings with ideal packaging and assortment choices? Then you might just be more than a fun-guy, but a mushroom sales superstar.
Here’s a few thoughts on getting in on the um, fun.
- Build upon your ‘normal’ mushroom destination marketing. If you have a dedicated section for mushrooms, great! If you don’t its high time you worked one into your produce set. Many stores devote a 4-foot or larger section with multiple layers of mushrooms: bulk, package, fresh and dried. Help call attention to the section with point-of-sale available from your buyers or mushroom supplier.
- Build displays away from the destination. All right, this might sound like it contradicts point number one. However, imagine how secondary placement might sell even more pounds of mushrooms. One example comes to mind of a produce manager who regularly brought in an extra 40 cases of 8 oz. sliced white mushrooms each Friday during the spring and summer. Each weekend day he cross-merchandised several cases of the mushrooms near the steaks in the meat department. The impulse sales were predictably strong (and at regular price boosted volume and gross profit margins) and had almost no cannibalization effect on the base, destination set mushroom sales. Which by the way, averaged only about three cases per day.
- Offer the basics, in bulk and package. Mushroom sales are best when the product is fresh, culled, well-stocked and faced so customers can see the goods. Most mushrooms sold are the common white, Agaricus bisporus variety. By offering an assortment of bulk buttons, large and an assortment of packages (whole and sliced) your destination set will appeal to most levels of what shoppers are looking for.
- Get out of the basic comfort zone and push some variety. Let’s not forget the ‘other’ basics: Crimini, Portabellas, baby Ports, Shitake, Lobster, Chanterelles, Morels, Oyster and Enoki. Considering the scores of other commercially and even some regionally-available mushrooms available, your set should offer a sprinkling of variety to appeal to the discriminating (and adventurous) shopper.
- Promote and work into your sample rotation. If your store has a demo team, working in mushrooms for regular sampling will pay huge dividends. Since many customers haven’t tried more than a couple varieties of mushrooms, a cooking-sampling demo will light up their taste buds and prompt plenty of additional sales. Be sure to offer a range of varieties, from the familiar to the obscure - to get the most bang for your demo buck.
With flavor and variety being the focus of culinary types, the subject of television food chefs, new food blends (such as mushroom-infused burgers) and your customers looking for the ‘extra’ ingredient to set off a dish, mushrooms certainly fit the bill. Ensure like any produce item, that you keep your mushroom displays neat and clean, your signing accurate with attached recipes, keep the product culled and fresh and fully stocked. This will help maximize sales and keep shrink in check.
As we used to write in middle school limericks: “There’s a fungus among us.”