Retailers can increase sales of the sweet and visually interesting pineapple through a variety of merchandising tactics, especially around spring and summer holidays.
“We are looking forward to upcoming promotions for the weeks leading up to Easter as well as the weeks leading up to Memorial Day,” said Mike Anderson, vice president of international procurement for Idaho Falls, Idaho-based Kingston Fresh.
Jack Howell, senior vice president of sales for Fyffes North America, suggested produce departments build excitement with displays that connect pineapples with occasions like the first week of spring, first week of summer, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July and Father’s Day.
Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets under the Melissa’s brand, recommended the same for baby pineapples and suggested merchandising them alongside the standard fruit. Their smaller size appeals to kids and small families, said Robert Schueller, director of public relations.
Alex Berkley, sales manager for Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Specialty Produce, noted that baby pineapples can be merchandised with other tropicals.
“Baby pineapples do well when merchandised with other tropical fruits, like dragon fruit, jackfruit, passion fruit and rambutan,” Berkley said. “The shoppers looking for variety will be looking at the exotic fruit destination for something interesting, like baby pineapples.”
Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce, also suggested cross-merchandising, along with eye-catching point-of-sale material and strategic displays.
"Placing displays close to the checkout and entrance of the store is another time-tested successful tactic," Christou said. "We also encourage retailers to be mindful of seasonal demands, such as summer road trips, tailgating events and holiday-themed displays. Enhanced display sizes also tend to increase sales of pineapples.
"Our category managers help retailers develop category strategies, design plan-o-grams, perform sales analyses, conduct business reviews and assess promotion and pricing initiatives," Christou said.
Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole, recommended showing shoppers how to prepare pineapples and providing recipes for usage inspiration.
“In-store cutting demos and materials is an excellent way to excite and educate consumers on the correct way to cut a pineapple — helping dispel the myth that pineapples are hard to prepare and enjoy,” Goldfield said. “When sampling events are combined with unique new recipes – such as the pineapple appetizer, entrée, salad and smoothie recipes found on Dole.com – the results can be an impressive increase in pineapple sales.”
Listing pricing for more than one pineapple is also a good way to grow sales, said Jamie Postell, director of sales for North America for Chiquita.
“Selling at a 2/$3.00 or 2/$5.00 seems to create a lift at retail,” Postell said. “Keeping displays fresh and full for maximum appearance and appeal are also great ways to help drive additional sales.”
Suppliers reported steady consumer interest in the fruit, and Patterson McDulin, key account sales executive for Schmieding Produce, noted that ad movement on pineapples has increased demand.
Allan Acosta, tropical category manager for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Robinson Fresh, noted that demand for value-added items in particular is increasing.
“Family sizes are smaller, and many shoppers are willing to pay for the added convenience that small packs and value-added options offer,” Acosta said. “This is a big focus for us in 2019 – to work more with fresh cut processers to provide more value-added products to customers to meet consumer demand.
“Shoppers have changed where they spend their food and beverage dollars for good reason—convenience and efficiency,” Acosta said. “Based on IRI US data, the majority of sales come from bulk pineapple, but that’s not true for sales dollars. Last year, more than half (55%) of retail sales dollars in pineapple came from value-added options. Not surprisingly, what is ringing through the register half of the time is already cut for the shopper.”