Harps also offers gift baskets, finding success with traditional fruit baskets as well as themed offerings featuring
pistachios, local honey, citrus and assorted apples. “
Customers respond really well,” Roberts says.
For customers who want to create their own holiday
baskets or are entertaining a crowd, Harps puts 5-pound
boxes of clementines and 8-pound bags of apples, oranges
and grapefruits on display. Baking nuts are another holiday
staple in the retailer’s produce departments.
“Where possible, we build our holiday displays in the
center of the produce department,” says Roberts.
Harps is mindful to remain well-stocked on key produce
items during the holidays, including russet potatoes, sweet
potatoes, celery, shallots, boiling onions and cranberries.
Harps also offers premium items, such as 3-pound bags of
Dutch potatoes from Melissa’s Produce.
Upping the Cranberry Quotient
Fresh cranberries have long been a staple of Thanksgiving
gatherings, but grocers have an opportunity to leverage the
nostalgia of this fruit for the entire holiday season.
Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms provides retailers
with promotional opportunities to help boost cranberries’
momentum beyond the Thanksgiving holiday, including
signage that celebrates the peak of fresh cranberry season.
“Providing healthy holiday recipe cards in cranberry displays, with the ingredients involved in the recipe nearby,
can be impactful and also increase sales,” says CarrieAnn
Arias, VP of marketing for Naturipe Farm. “In-store demos
are also an option to show shoppers how to create holiday-themed decor [using cranberries].”
Promoting Plant-Based Holidays
With the U.S. market for plant-based foods booming,
some shoppers are bound to seek out these options for the
“Sixty percent of shoppers say they are more likely to
include at least one plant-based main dish on their holiday
table this year,” says Alex Berkley, director of sales for Los
Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Specialty Produce, citing
data from C+R Research, Chicago. “Grocers can capital-
ize by carrying and merchandising more high-quality, spe-
cialty produce this holiday season, because nearly 64% of
shoppers agree that it’s worth paying more for specialty
fruits and vegetables, especially when cooking for the
Frieda’s anticipates that Stokes Purple sweet potatoes
will be its top-selling item this holiday season, with other
hot sellers to include shallots, Cipollini onions and white
pearl onions. The supplier will offer a limited-time holiday
packaging of its pearl onions this year.
“To get consumers excited, [try] merchandising holiday
items next to traditional items, such as Stokes Purple sweet
ealthy indulgence—one of the hottest food
trends this year—will undoubtedly influence
entertaining and gift giving this holiday sea-
son. Shoppers seeking flavorful yet festive
ingredients, party trays, baskets and more will look to the
produce department to provide a one-stop shop for all their
At the start of the season, Harps Food Stores Inc., Springdale, Ark., transforms its produce departments into destinations for easy entertaining and gift giving under a healthful holiday halo.
“We do a huge tray sale—vegetable, fruit and nuts—in
mid-December when everyone is having holiday parties,”
says Mike Roberts, director, produce operations, for Harps.
To offer shoppers added convenience, Harps cross-mer-chandises its fruit and veggie trays with meat and cheese
trays in the produce department. Each tray is paired with a
dip. “Overall, our holiday fruit and vegetable trays generated a lot of extra dollars for the produce department,” says
Roberts of last year’s sales.
The hot spot for nabbing entertaining essentials
and good cheer this holiday season is the produce
department. By Jennifer Strailey
are more likely to
include at least one
dish on their holiday
table this year
Source: C+R Research
Harps Food Stores cross-merchandises its fruit and veggie
trays with meat and cheese trays.