New Crop Soft Fruit
Peaches, Plums and Nectarines
In about 6 weeks, the whole dynamic of your produce department will change. Summer soft fruit will be upon us and perhaps no other seasonal items generate as much excitement amongst shoppers as the "big three" - peaches, plums and nectarines. Do a good job with these items throughout the summer and it will most likely be a memorable soft fruit season for both you and your shoppers. To have a successful season, you must plan, and now is the perfect time to begin with your soft fruit strategy. To help you along, I’ve come up with a few pre-season suggestions that can help position you to do an outstanding job with the handling, selling and merchandising of these desirable fruits.
RECEIVING: Always check each case of soft fruit upon arrival. There may be varying degrees of ripeness in the fruit and you should not assume that each case is at the same level of ripeness. Even when rotating your previous stock, check the newly arrived fruit to compare to what you already have in back-stock. You don't want to rotate your product automatically based on the date it came in, but rather based on its level of ripeness. In other words, it is possible that a shipment that arrives on Thursday may not need to be placed on the bottom of the rotation under product that arrived on the previous Tuesday. Check how ripe the fruit is and arrange your back-stock accordingly. Inspecting ripeness levels upon receiving is imperative!
STORAGE: It's best to store your soft fruit in 34-36 degree temperatures for optimal holding. If you want to accelerate the ripening process, storing it at 60-75 degree temperatures will be best. Check the fruit daily that you are trying to ripen as this process can happen rather quickly.
DISPLAY: These three items (peaches, plums and nectarines) display nicely next to one another. Avoid placing the peaches and nectarines side by side, and if you have a black plum and red plum avoid displaying them next to one another as well. The key to making this display work is to feature the best side of the fruit - particularly true with nectarines and peaches. Typically the part of the fruit that will have the highest color is the side or the bottom. Find the highest color spot on the fruit and display this side facing outward towards the shopper. Putting the best color of the fruit forward can make a huge difference in how your display looks. Taking it one step further and hand-stacking the fruit will give a nice clean and neat appearance that your customers will greatly appreciate. This fruit must be rotated every day! Unlike other cooler weather fruit that can be on a more lenient rotation schedule, these soft fruit varieties should be gone through every day.
SAMPLING: If you are not literally on a mission to make sure that everyone who walks through the door tastes at least one of these fruits, then it's a missed opportunity. Make sure to have a strong presence on the floor in your department during the summer season and have all of your staff fully engaged and ready for sampling. There is no better way to move your best tasting fruit than to provide samples.
Make this soft fruit season a memorable one for your store and your customers! To assist you with building excitement around your soft fruit display, Click Here or on the image below to download a promotional poster. Good luck.