Who doesn’t love grapes?
The Packer’s Produce Market Guide conveys a lot of information about the fruit in a tight space: Keep grapes refrigerated; do not mist; store away from items like onions as grapes will absorb those odors; white or green grapes have an amber color at their taste peak; handle carefully to minimize shatter.
And yet there’s much more to this popular and high-volume category.
There are thousands of varieties in the world between table grapes and wine grapes. In retail we usually talk in terms of green (or white), red (or flames), and black seedless. Why even mention seedless? Because it wasn’t that long ago that, prior to Chilean and Mexican grape availability, plenty of seeded grape varieties adorned late fall produce department shelves before a long supply gap.
Yeah. Ask Grandma, who pitted those (admittedly flavorful) things for Thanksgiving fruit salads.
With year-round availability these days, grapes are a produce department staple. Some say (erroneously) that they sell themselves. Is it possible to build on the natural appeal and drive sales to greater heights? Of course. Here’s a few thoughts on the subject.
Display grapes in your refrigerated sets, along with berries — grapes technically are berries, after all. Group your display using the natural color breaks to call attention to the fruit.
Secondary displays, outside the destination set, are a great way to build sales. Consider promoting value-priced grapes, or grapes on ad, in prominent displays near the store entryway or in other high-traffic areas.
Grapes naturally tie in with many items. Try building grape displays with fresh apples, cheese, crackers or even wine. This will spark sales as shoppers recognize the popular serving suggestions.
If you’re displaying grapes out of refrigeration in these sets, ensure the fruit remains fresh with frequent stocking and rotation.
Build wide, not deep
Grapes have come a long way with today’s source-bagged and stand-up packaging – as opposed to the bulk displays of yesteryear. But grapes remain a very volatile, high-respiration-rate fruit.
Handle carefully to minimize shatter and resist the urge to pile up the display. Stock no higher than two bags deep, and cull and rotate the display frequently.
Packaging pros and cons
Speaking of packaging, what a blessing grape packs provide now in the way of convenience and safety –
far fewer slip-and-falls. The downside? Packaging also can conceal the contents, which can deter sales. You know there’s grapes inside the bags. The customer zipping past the display trying to get shopping done in time to make dinner may see only a big patch of plastic.
A suggestion to remedy this: Remove some of the packed grapes and place in a small container or lined basket that shows off the goods. Produce sales is all about shoppers buying with their eyes, so a rotating, fresh representative basket of grapes may slow them down long enough for a second look.
To allow spur-of-the-moment sampling – or not?
For eons customers have sneaked a sample grape or two, glancing around and feeling like they’ve just stolen the Hope Diamond. But they still do it. Remove whatever guilt this action presents and encourage customers to go ahead and sample the grapes. If you already have the representative basket near the display, post a small sign that encourages a taste – and make sure the grapes are rinsed.
Otherwise you can try the passive-sampling method with the domed plastic sampler and individual cups of grapes. This is an excellent way to use the shatter grapes, by the way.
Keep your orders tight to ensure freshness. Build prominent, abundant-looking displays in high-traffic areas. Incorporate tie-in displays with grapes being the feature item. Sample the grapes and encourage shoppers to do so. Sign the displays well according to variety, with selection tips and nutrition facts.
One example: The Packer recently posted this grape fun fact. The fruit is the only one that contains the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin, so toss a few sliced grapes into a small bowl of yogurt for added calcium and you’ll have a perfect before-bed snack.
Promote grapes. Consume grapes. You and your customers will sleep a lot more soundly.