Atlas Produce & Distributing Inc.in Bakersfield, CA, which specializes in Californa-grown Medjool dates marketed under the “Caramel Naturel” brand, relies on its label and packaging and the quality of its product, combined with good positioning on the retail shelf to boost products sales for customers during the holiday season, according to Robert Dobrzansky, president and sales manager.
“Our label really entices consumers to purchase,” he said. “It is subtle, but a beautiful label.”
Also, “the retailers that we deal with … give us really good areas in the store, good shelf space,” he said. The company does not offer display shippers, which can wind up being put anywhere in the store and which can “get lost in the shuffle.” Instead, “we actually have good shelf space. We prefer to have a good spot in the supermarket” as opposed to having a shipper that may not be placed in a good spot.
If retailers give “Caramel Naturel” products “a good area in the store at eye level,” he said, “we guarantee the sales.”
The quality of the “Caramel Naturel” date products is “excellent,” he said. “We let the packaging do the talking” rather than putting that job on point-of-sale signage, and “obviously the quality of our fruit speaks for itself.”
Atlas offers an assortment of date products. “We are doing date almond rolls, date coconut rolls, and the [whole] fresh Medjool dates in different size packs,” Mr. Dobrzansky said. In all, Atlas sells about 15 different items.
New this year is an eight-ounce retail consumer pack in a clamshell style. The company also offers a two-pound club store pack in a tub style.
For the holidays, “we are doing promotions with retailers on the East Coast,” particularly in the Boston area, as well as in Canada and in California, Mr. Dobrzansky said. “The retailers realize that if they have a large display of our items, they can really increase incremental sales that otherwise they wouldn’t be getting.”
Atlas sees a jump in sales during the holiday period. Starting in September and continuing into January, “we get big numbers in sales,” Mr. Dobrzansky said. The company ships its products year-round, but the holiday period is “our biggest shipping time.”
When The Produce News talked to Mr. Dobrzansky Oct. 19, the company’s 2011 Medjool harvest was just coming to an end. “The crop looks excellent, quality-wise,” he said. “We are very pleased.” As expected, “our volume is up over last year.” With the peak demand period having begun, the firm was already very busy filling holiday orders, he said.