Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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February 2017 | | 93 like apricots offer fresh flavors in the fruit category, while Dutch Yellow Potatoes are still going strong from winter through spring. What's on Melissa's radar for spring produce sensations? "Cherimoya peaks in the spring," Schueller enthuses. is heart-shaped subtropi- cal fruit offers a unique flavor profile that's at once reminiscent of pineapple, pear, lemon, mango and strawberries. Kumquats and Black Velvet Apricots are also at their peak of season in spring. e latter features a deep-purple/blackish skin and a bright-golden interior with a sweet, concentrated flavor. Cultivating Convenience When it comes to strong performers in spring produce, Robinson Fresh, in Eden Prairie, Minn., points to asparagus, berries, pineapple and avocados, among others. "ese categories perform especially well this time of year for a number of reasons, the first being that many of these items enter the peak season for availability and fla- vor," explains Michael Castagnetto, director of global sourcing. "Other factors influencing the popularity of these varieties include spring holidays that boost sales. Easter, Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo and even Memorial Day can influence buying behavior for these and other fresh produce items." To boost sales of spring pro- duce, think meal solutions, value- added, local and convenience, notes Castagnetto. "Usage ideas, cooking instruc- tions and other 'meal kit' options trigger impulse buys," he af- firms, while cross-merchandising complementary items for easy meal solutions and creating value- added sections speak to the time- crunched consumer. "anks to social media platforms and popular recipe blogs, today's average consumer is more willing to expand their taste horizons and try new produce," he observes. "is, combined with concerns around health and wellness, and a desire for snacking and convenience, are primary growth catalysts for produce — this spring and year-round." PG

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