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The California Tree Fruit Agreement conducted some new research last year identifying "retailers who did the best job with the whole stone fruit category" in an effort to determine factors accounting for their success.

"One of the principal findings was that the retailers who had the most robust sales record with the entire stone fruit category were the ones that paid more attention to the white-flesh sub-category, so [white-flesh fruit] is a really important element in the stone fruit category to the most successful retailers," said Dave Parker, marketing director for Scattaglia Growers & Shippers LLC in Traver, CA.

The new study reinforces other CTFA research conducted in 2002, said Mr. Parker, who was director of merchandising for CTFA at that time and was involved in the study. In the 2002 research, it was demonstrated that while yellow peaches and yellow nectarines are "drivers of the [stone fruit] category" at retail, when either of those is promoted in combination with other items in the stone fruit category, "you get greater lift across the category" not only in unit sales "but also disproportionately in dollars," he said.

"Particularly successful combinations are either of the yellow drivers with the opposite white." In other words, the greatest lift in overall category sales was achieved when promoting a yellow peach with a white nectarine or when promoting a yellow nectarine with a white peach than when a yellow peach or a yellow nectarine is promoted alone or in combination with any other item in the category.

In conducting the study, "we worked with the Perishables Group," and conclusions were based on an analysis of three years of data from four major regional retailers, he said.

(For more on the Summerwhite deal, see the May 24, 2010, issue of The Produce News.)