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To help retailers play up the fall selling season with colorful, healthy, flavorful fare, specialty produce distributors Frieda’s, Inc. is now shipping a diverse selection of gourmet autumn produce to offer shoppers value and delicious versatility.
From the well-known butternut and acorn squashes to the increasingly popular Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) variety, retailers can encourage shoppers to try out new, lesser-known hard-shell varieties with informational signage that describes flavor profiles and includes usage ideas. “Winter squash is surprisingly easy to prepare,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of the Los Alamitos, Calif.-based, family-held Frieda’s. “Almost every variety can be halved and baked or microwaved in a covered dish with just a bit of water. The steam helps keep the squash moist and tender as it cooks. Just season with salt and pepper or butter and cinnamon.”
To draw consumer interest to squash displays, Caplan recommends that retailers overwrap cut squash to show the attractive contrast between the skin color and the vibrant golden flesh color. Variety squash bins add a rustic and bountiful feel to produce departments, and complementary fall items such as miniature hay bales and Indian corn can impart a creative harvest theme to squash displays.
Potatoes have stayed a top seller throughout the recession, priming shoppers to experiment with new spud varieties like fingerlings and organic Klamath pearls. “The beauty of new crop young varieties is their thin skin and ultra-tender flesh -- no need to peel,” said Caplan, noting that retailers are in a perfect position to capitalize on the growing culinary attention that specialty potatoes are now garnering in food media.
To that end, Frieda’s recommends merchandising specialty potatoes among standard bulk russets with its creative, eye-catching packaging that adds visual interest and color to large potato displays. Retailers can further boost potato sales by featuring specialty varieties in weekly ads with usage suggestions.
Onions are also one of the most frequently used ingredients, “and today’s home cooks are looking for more than just the standard brown cooking onion,” Caplan explains. “It only makes sense for retailers to beef up their onion displays by offering several different varieties and sizes, including pearl and boiler onions, Cipolline, and shallots.”
In addition to full baskets of specialty small onions and shallots near the regular onion display, Frieda’s recommends displaying bagged Cipolline onions on clip strips in the bagged salad area, and bagged pearl and boiler onions with potato displays. Small gourmet onions are also great for cross-merchandising with meats for kabobs and skewered food during the barbecue season.
For more information, visit www.friedas.com.