KANSAS CITY – Shippers of imported and domestic fresh sweet onions expect plentiful supplies of high-quality produce and, therefore, great promotional opportunities for US grocers.
The bulk of the sweet onions shipped this fall from Bland Farms, based in Glennville, Ga., Will come from Peru, the rest of California and Nevada, said Troy Bland, CEO of the company.
Prior to the Peruvian deal, Bland Farms expected good quality and good volumes.
âWe had optimal growing conditions in Peru, and our harvest looks excellent,â said Bland. âWe currently expect to have a more normal sizing this year, and we look forward to providing our customers with premium quality sweet onions of the highest quality. We expect to have significant promotional volumes available.
In 2020, due to a shorter Vidalia, Georgia season, Bland Farms started their Peruvian deal much earlier than normal. This year, on the other hand, the company had a bumper Vidalia harvest, which allowed them to ship their Vidalia storage harvest longer than normal. As a result, Bland expects Peru’s volumes to be slightly lower than last year.
As a pioneer in the Peruvian sweet onion industry, Reidsville, Georgia-based Shuman Farms is heavily invested in the region with full-time staff and infrastructure to support its program.
The company recently upgraded its facilities and packaging plant in Peru with new sizing lines and sorting equipment that will improve product quality and enable more efficient final reconditioning in Georgia, said John Shuman, president. .
“We believe our RealSweet Peruvian Sweet Onions are the premium sweet onion that enables retailers to provide the same quality of sweet onions to our customers year round, helping them increase their sales and category consistency. “, did he declare.
Variety the key
The variety of packaging and display options is a crucial part of Shuman Farms’ retail program. The company offers a wide variety of packaging options for retailers, including large display bins, consumer bags, ready-to-display containers, and cartons designed to create meal solution opportunities in the food department. products and generate additional sales.
Based on Shuman Farms’ own research on consumption and buying behavior, Shuman said the company knew the sweet onion consumer was 55 or older and lived in a household of 2 people, with an income. annual between $ 50,000 and $ 75,000. And that the average consumer eats 1.6 pounds of sweet onions per year.
This same research shows that sweet onions are great for other fresh perimeter foods. When sweet onions are in consumer baskets or carts, they are more likely to purchase fresh beef, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, mushrooms, and peppers.
Sweet onions are a popular addition to salads and to ethnic and beef dishes.
âWe are encouraging retailers to create cross-merchandising displays in the produce aisle as well as in the meat aisle to take advantage of these consumer buying habits and generate additional sales,â said Shuman.
A bright future for sweets
Looking ahead, Bland Farms is optimistic as demand for year-round sweet onion programs continues to grow, Bland said.
When it comes to packaging, Bland Farms expects a similar mix in its fall offerings. The company offers retailers a healthy mix of bins, secondary displays for bagged and bulk sweet onions, 40lb boxes and premium consumer bags ranging from 2 to 10lb.
There are many ways to get sweet onions to grab the attention of consumers in retail stores, Bland said.
For example, Bland Farms uses very graphic packaging and the company emphasizes the use of point of sale material for its retail partners.
âThe signage for our premium sweet onions at the retail level is very important,â said Bland. âWe also have cross-merchandising opportunities with our Vidalia branded items like our sweet onion petals, flower sauce and batter mix. “
Bland Farms recommends placing its 40lb display bins in different areas of the stores to help drive sales. For example, a retailer could put their sweet onions on the meat aisle for consumers getting ready for their weekend barbecue or tailgating, he said.
Senders Prepare for Marketing Campaigns Because of Fall
This fall, Reidsville, GA-based Shuman Farms and Glennville, GA-based Bland Farms will participate in cause marketing bag promotions.
In October, the company will be wrapping its RealSweet branded onions in pink ribbon bags in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and will also provide retailers with special displays for an additional sales opportunity.
“We know that the lives of many people are affected by breast cancer and it is our privilege to be able to do our part, raise awareness and donate for further research which will hopefully lead to a cure,” said John Shuman, Shuman Farms. ‘ President.
The company also created in-store signage that highlights the anti-cancer antioxidants in sweet onions that stores can use on their displays.
Bland Farms, meanwhile, has been in partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation since 2010, said Troy Bland, CEO of the company.
âIn October, we will have several pink packaging and PLU offers available to raise awareness through merchandising,â he said.
Following its breast cancer awareness promotion in November and December, Shuman Farms will replace RealSweets packaging with Feeding America branded bags to highlight this charity and its commitment to reducing hunger.
Also as part of the promotion, Shuman Farms will donate 100,000 meals to help families in need. The company also has in-store signage and a digital toolkit with social media graphics that retailers can use to promote the program.
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