Last updated on June 22nd, 2016 at 10:17 am
With bananas at the top of most supermarkets’ register rings, it pays for distributors and produce managers to keep their banana inventories and displays in top-notch form.
“The banana category is historically the largest retail produce category. Since bananas are available year-round, an effective prominent display draws customers into your produce department,” said Kevin Frye, a banana merchandising expert who has spent more than nine years working with wholesale distributors and retailers in the produce industry. Frye is the North American sales manager for RipeLock Quality System at AgroFresh Solutions Inc.
“If the banana display looks appealing, customers will likely buy more bananas, and they’ll feel confident in the quality and freshness of the other fruit in the store,” he said.
Frye offers five tips for making the most of your banana program:
- Strive for perfect color. Retailer experience shows that consumers prefer to purchase and eat bananas at color stage 5 or 6, when bananas have bright yellow peels and firm pulp. “If bananas are too green or too ripe, customers will likely pass by the display or purchase fewer bananas because they’ll be afraid the fruit will not taste good or go bad too quickly,” said Frye.
- Right-size your displays. If the banana display table is too large, fruit doesn’t turn over fast enough to maintain freshness. Yet a table that is too small will require too-frequent restocking. Also consider the traffic flow in the produce department, since good-looking bananas can tempt an impulse buy as well as a planned purchase.
- Consider display surfaces. Since bananas bruise easily, a soft padded surface is best. Be sure to display bananas in a single layer with the stems up.
- Manage inventory. Accuracy in sales forecasting is another key to a successful banana program—or a potential headache for the produce manager. “If the sales forecast is too high and the bananas don’t sell fast enough, the manager can’t hold them to sell later. Unlike potatoes or apples, bananas won’t last a few days, let alone into next week,” Frye said. “On the other hand, if the sales forecast is too low, the store may run out of yellow bananas and have to display fruit that is too green for customer acceptance.”
- Don’t forget the back room. An effective banana display starts while fruit is staged for stocking. If the back room is unrefrigerated or not air conditioned during hot weather, stored bananas will continue to ripen—potentially beyond the optimal color stage. “In most back-room environments, RipeLock eliminates the need to open bags and reduces the need to ‘air stack’ boxes,” Frye said.
“Your banana program is an essential component of a produce department that can deliver loyal customers. Be sure you have bananas available in the right color to meet consumer expectations and the proper inventory to maximize your sales,” Frye concluded.
AgroFresh Solutions Inc. provides a portfolio of products and specialty services to maintain the freshness, quality and value of fresh produce and flowers. Its RipeLock line provides a post-harvest quality system for bananas which can help maintain freshness and optimum color longer.