Fresh Trends says that 44% of consumers purchased garlic in the past month. That’s a lot of customers buying garlic, but it could be even more, with the right approach.

Never mind that the popular bulbous plant, which belongs to the lily family, has been enjoyed since ancient Egyptian days, some 4,000 years ago. It was — and remains — a favorite in numerous culinary applications. Its distinct aroma and intense flavor are instantly recognized during preparation and always hints that “something good” is cooking in the kitchen. Here are a few thoughts on how to generate more sales of this much-loved item for your customers’ enjoyment.

Merchandising tips

Sure, you want to display garlic on the potato and onion display table. That’s about where your customers looking for it are bound to seek and find it. Order and display as many garlic varieties as your supplier offers for best impact. Isolate each variety and set off the garlic section by display, using adjacent red potatoes or red onions as a natural color break.

However, consider further garlic merchandising to boost sales considerably. Many sharp chain operators do this by incorporating garlic displays into their tomato table. This ‘flavor center’ table can include (besides tomatoes) a hearty garlic display, lemons, basil and specialty onions.

Since tomatoes are your volume-driver item, something that many customers purchase, the garlic display prompts an ‘Oh yeah…garlic!’ thought as the very sight ignites the impulse purchases we so often see in successful merchandising. If you can slow down your customer for just a few seconds, the added sale can occur.

Keep it fresh

Garlic can dehydrate quickly, and heavily shopped displays can result in the section becoming a pile of loose cloves and skins. Avoid this scene by carefully cleaning and culling the section daily. Then, with each stocking, ensure that you offer the absolute freshest garlic, stock it fully, place the price sign in a visible spot, and make sure like all your fresh produce, that the display has nearby bags for filling.

Demonstrate and sample the goods

Who doesn’t appreciate celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Rachael Ray’s quick flat-knife garlic-peeling method when they prepare fresh garlic? It’s little demonstrations like this that get the attention of customers who may think they have to spend a lot of time preparing garlic cloves.

Use the talent you have in your store’s demo team and encourage them to prepare garlic-centric recipes in your department as a part of their rotation. Along with the stir-fry vegetables or other produce you are calling attention to, be sure for the demo team to point out that the garlic they’re using is fresh, easy to prepare and, above all, show customers how to go from bulb to clove to pan in a matter of seconds. Sampling is worth every penny spent.

Appeal to the health-conscious customer

In a big heart sign, you can easily sing garlic’s praises: Antioxidant, anti-blood coagulation, antiviral, lowers cholesterol, anti-cancer properties, helps fight the common cold, helps maintain a healthy blood pressure – among other garlic positives such as how it wards off vampires (of course) and that it adds a wonderful kick buttered on a roll with a serving of a basic spaghetti.

A couple of recipe suggestions

Speaking of applications. A favorite garlic recipe I enjoy is this: As I prepare a beef roast (any cut) I like to make several little incisions throughout, then I insert a single garlic clove within, deep into each cut. After roasting the garlic flavor is infused throughout, and the bulb serves a nice bread spread.

I also like putting garlic into my cookout ‘potato packets’ – dish-sized foil sheets filled with sliced spuds, onions, chili peppers, a pat of butter, seasoned, and a clove or two of garlic. Place the packets on the grill for a few minutes and serve as a side to whatever else is grillin’ that night.

Fresh garlic is one of those items that, when diced and sautéed, it doesn’t matter what main course it’s going into, you and your guests just know it’s going to be a good meal. Worth waiting for, and definitely worth promoting in the produce aisle.


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