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Category management insights help Curry & Co. drive customer sales

Retailers can get help from Curry & Co. to drive onion sales. The company is headquartered in Brooks, OR, and is one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier grower-shippers. It offers assistance to its customers to maximize their sales.

Curry & Co. markets storage yellow, red and white onions throughout the year and also offers a year-round sweet onion program. According to President Matt Curry, onion quality has been relatively consistent and sizing is normal this season. “Some of the fields harvested leaned more towards jumbos and colossal, while others were heavier to mediums,” he told The Produce News Nov. 28. “Overall, we have what we’d say is a crop with standard sizing variations.”

The company made several presentations to some of its retail partners this year. “We’ve stressed the importance of having a clean, well-stocked display — ideally for all the hours that a store is open. One retailer told us during a meeting that, during the ‘off’ shopping hours, they are finding if they can keep someone in the produce department who can keep things stocked and refreshed, they are noticing that produce sales are tailing off a bit less.

“We also stress making your onion display look as good as possible,” he continued. “Some Produce 101 basics [include] removing loose skins, proper rotation and taking advantage of the color breaks a red onion can provide.” Curry & Co. also provides retailers with merchandising strategy advice ensuring that sweet onions, which capture extra dollars, do not get lost in the shuffle with standard yellows.

A variety of sweet onions is available during the winter and spring. “We are offering our proprietary Hermiston SweetReds, which are available into mid-spring,” Mr. Curry said. “It’s a great time of the year for sweet onions, and domestically we have Hermiston Sweets grown in the Pacific Northwest. And we have our Peruvian Sweet Peaks available now as well, moving into our Chilean Patagonia Sweets in January.”

Onion sales are typically good during the holiday season. “Business was really driving hard as we moved into the Thanksgiving holiday, and then slowed slightly,” he noted. “We feel we have a lot of ad business set up moving into the Christmas holiday and are hoping we benefit from more consumers potentially cooking dinners at home during the holiday season. Retailers are still seeing strong pull on bagged onions at the start of the month as many customers are doing one major shopping trip at that start of the month and then fill in during the rest of the month. They’re also looking for values during this time.”

Curry & Co. continues to push its trademarked “Certified Sweet” onion programs. “A lot of customers are familiar and expect sweet onions during the summer months with the popularity of Vidalia Sweets and Walla Walla Sweets,” Mr. Curry said. “There are still educational opportunities on our Hermiston Sweets, Hermiston SweetReds and our Peruvian and Chilean import options. We need to make sure the retailer and their customers have sweet onions on the mind. We are also able to promote our Hermiston Sweets and Hermiston SweetReds as ‘local’ in the Pacific Northwest.”

Flavor profiles are playing an increasingly important role in consumer purchases. “We preach not taking the onion category for granted, and this season we’ve received comments on how good our onions are tasting,” Mr. Curry explained. “We feel this is the long-term growth opportunity for sweet onions — the continued delivery of sweet and consistent onions that consumers enjoy and come back for more each week.”