Rick Kilby, a retail produce veteran, has been the Produce Manager at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for the past five years. He has been through many stone fruit seasons and shared with us his go-to stone fruit merchandising tips.
- Delicately hand stack peaches and nectarines. These are fragile fruits and need to be handled with as much care as possible to maintain their integrity.
- Labeling the specific varieties is important for customer education. Yellow peaches are not all the same. Customers have favorites but there is always opportunity to introduce them to new exciting varieties.
- Cherries can easily be displayed in the poly bags or stand up pouches they are packed in. They can be stacked two to three layers high. Don’t worry, this won’t squish them. They are tougher than you think, and the bag does offer some protection.
- Use baskets or fiber pints to merchandise smaller fruits like Santa Rosa or Ume Plums. These fruits are on the smaller side and can easily get lost in larger displays. The baskets help them to stand out and get the attention they deserve.
- Try cross merchandising with summer grilling items. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op has had great success with this. A peach and corn display they do every summer is wildly popular with customers.
- Stock up on top sellers. Yellow peaches and yellow nectarines tend to be the most popular. Make sure to always have plenty on hand.
- Don’t forget your color and texture breaks. Plums and apricots are great for breaking up the peach and nectarine varieties and keeping them from blending all together.
Stone fruit practically sells itself but working in some of these seasonal tips will help you boost your sales.