Suppliers expect plenty of papayas these first few months of the new year.

“Lots of volume, promotional opportunities available, mostly on the large formosa papaya from Guatemala and Mexico,” said Melissa Hartmann de Barros, director of communications for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based HLB Specialties. “Golden papaya from Brazil is going well, but volumes are reaching capacity due to program commitments.

“The first half of the year are best for promotions, when weather conditions are stable and volumes are plentiful,” Hartmann de Barros said.

Peter Leifermann, vice president of sales and marketing for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals, also reported strong volume for the months ahead.

“We expect a return to very good availability and high quality as the fruit harvested in the first quarter of the year is among the year’s best,” Leifermann said. “Both our large Caribbean red papaya and the smaller Brooks solo papaya should be in very good form.

“Demand is typically high during the first half of the year, and summer promotions are ideal,” Leifermann said.

Denise Gomez, marketing assistant for Miami-based J&C Tropicals, also expected plenty of availability.

“The only period we typically have lighter volumes are in October/November,” Gomez said.

Suppliers are united on a key handling detail for the fruit — don’t store papayas below 45 degrees.

Robert Schueller, director of public relations for Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets under the Melissa’s brand, said temperatures in the 60s are ideal for best shelf life. Storing at cooler temperatures can create chill damage inside the fruit.

“Papaya love room temperature,” Leifermann said.


Merchandising Tips

  • “Don’t throw away fruit with slight scars or blemishes! As papaya ripen, their thin skin begins to show — but that’s when they’re the sweetest, and the aficionados are looking for just that.” — Peter Leifermann, Brooks Tropicals
  • “Stock displays with yellowest (ripest) fruit on top and continually rotate as product ripens.” — Denise Gomez, J&C Tropicals

Use these tidbits from Melissa Hartmann de Barros with HLB Specialties as “Did You Know?” facts for your point-of-sale material: “Papayas are very high in Vitamin C, even higher than oranges. They are an excellent digestive aid, so they go very well as a dessert after a heavy meal or as breakfast to start the day off with powerful vitamin blast. For an easy and healthy breakfast smoothie, simply blend papaya, banana, berries and yogurt, and enjoy!”

  • “Display bottoms-up with limes and chili-salts (such as Tajin) and halved fruit in the refrigerated pre-cut area.” — Peter Leifermann, Brooks Tropicals
  • Along with calling out nutritional information, note on POS material how many servings shoppers can get out of a piece of fruit. — Robert Schueller, Melissa’s


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