Last updated on October 21st, 2016 at 08:43 am
On the show floor at PMA Fresh Summit over the weekend, USA Pears presented Sprouts Farmers Markets’ produce warehouse with the 2016 Pear Retailer of the Year Award for its pear category improvements in merchandising performance and sales increase.
“On behalf of nearly 1,600 fresh pear growers of Washington and Oregon, we congratulate the Sprouts produce team and appreciate their effort in building a strong pear category,” said Pear Bureau Northwest CEO Kevin Moffitt.
Sprouts follows many of the best practices for increased pear category sales recommended by USA Pears, including displaying two green pear varieties at once. Additionally, the Phoenix, Arizona-based grocer gives shoppers choices by promoting multiple pear varieties, carrying two sizes of top-selling varieties, increasing impulse purchases through in-store sampling, allocating plenty of the valuable front-of-store space to pear displays, and training personnel to improve category knowledge.
“All of these tactics over the whole season add up to great category performance,” said Moffitt.
Added Dave Howald, western regional manager for Pear Bureau Northwest, “Sprouts entices shoppers to larger purchases by giving them choices in pears. From two green pear varieties to popular variety displays at the front of the store, they are creating interest and adding value for their customers. And their in-store sampling allows consumers to try new varieties and learn about ripening pears from produce professionals.”
Sprouts VP of Procurement Chad Miller agreed.
“Sprouts devotes a sizable space to the pear category, which includes the ability to flex for promotions as well as driving customer engagement through sampling at point of purchase,” he said.
Training is a major concern among produce managers, and Sprouts is open to opportunities for their staff to learn from experts.
Miller said, “The Northwest Pear Bureau has provided us updated regular crop estimates, promotional timing and direction/suggestions with opportunities that increase basket size, all of which have been extremely beneficial in our continued success.
“It’s great to see Sprouts recognized for our ongoing efforts in driving a consumer knowledge and awareness of the category in which we attribute some of our success through the different usages that a pear can play in a enhancing a meal.”
This year, USA Pears also recognizes Costco Wholesale, Publix, Defense Commissary Agency, Giant Eagle, Tops Friendly Markets and Walmart as pear category leaders.
The Pear Retailer of the Year Award was established by Pear Bureau Northwest in 2011. Past honorees include Demoula’s Market Basket (2011), Meijer (2012), Ingles (2013), Publix (2014) and Wegmans (2015). The Pear Bureau’s team of regional marketing managers selects the annual recipient based on sales performance, creativity and best practices in pear merchandising and overall excellence in supporting the pear category.
Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation awards $1.6M to health and wellness causes
In other Sprouts news, the company’s Healthy Communities Foundation is awarding $1.6 million to nonprofit organizations that support health- and wellness-related causes this fall. The foundation, which launched in 2015 and distributed $1.3 million to nonprofit organizations in its first year, focuses its giving in promoting health education and nutrition, food security and hunger relief, and helping people living with disabilities and health concerns.
Giving back to the community has been part of the Sprouts culture since its inception, according to the company. Through the foundation, the company intends to increase its charitable giving and community engagement by creating partnerships with dozens of local nonprofits through its Neighborhood Grants program, fulfilling larger-scale Impact Grants and encouraging team member volunteerism.
“As Sprouts continues to grow from coast to coast, we remain committed to providing affordable access to healthy food. The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation enables us to take our commitment to healthy living one step further by providing financial assistance to health and wellness organizations that support the needs of the local community,” said Sprouts CEO Amin Maredia.
Top nonprofit partners include:
• REAL School Gardens: Support of new garden installations, the creation of a school-based health nutrition curriculum and the launch of a new REAL School Gardens region.
• Vitamin Angels: Helps at-risk populations in need—specifically pregnant women, new mothers and children under the age of 5—gain access to lifesaving and life-changing vitamins and minerals. Through the course of a four-year partnership, more than three million children have been helped.
• Autism Speaks: Resources for children and adults affected by autism.
Additionally, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation will award more than $400,000 in Neighborhood Grants to 54 local organizations in the 13 states in which Sprouts operates.
“Our Neighborhood Grants program is designed to support local nonprofit organizations that directly impact the communities where we operate,” said Lyndsey Waugh, executive director of the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. “Through this grant program, we’re able to directly connect with local nonprofits that contribute to health and wellness, providing funding, visibility and awareness for their important work. The grants are funded through our in-store ‘community round-up’ campaign, plus dollars from the foundation. It’s a great opportunity to partner with our team members and customers to support others on their healthy living journey.”
The full list of 2016 Neighborhood Grants recipients by state can be found here.