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Q/A with Dionysios Christou.

* Dionysios Christou, vice president, marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce, says there are several merchandising techniques that can be used to drive incremental banana sales.

How does Del Monte Fresh Produce's banana offering go beyond simply conventional bananas?

Dionysios Christou: Del Monte Fresh Produce offers a full line of conventional, organic and specialty bananas. The organic component of the banana category has continuously seen positive growth. There has also been growth in specialty bananas like plantains, reds and manzanos. Consumers have developed more sophisticated tastes and as trends in healthy eating and interest in new tropical foods continue to grow, so does the demand for exotic and specialty bananas.

We also offer our proprietary CRT (Controlled Ripening Technology) bananas. The 100 percent natural CRT bananas are designed to satisfy consumer demand for premium quality Del Monte bananas that experience less scarring and bruising and retain moisture that gives them a brighter, shinier yellow color for an extra day or two.

In order to ensure that our bananas appeal to consumers, Del Monte Fresh Produce is always working toward developing new packaging or new banana products to bring to market and service the different channels in the industry.

When marketing bananas, what merchandising techniques and displays are best?

There are several merchandising techniques to drive incremental banana sales. One technique is cross merchandising, which allows retailers to increase banana sales and sales of related products. Different ideas for cross merchandising include pairing bananas with other tropical fruit, ice cream, cereal, salads, chocolate dips or peanut butter. Placing recipe cards or nutritional information by a banana display can encourage banana purchases as well. We also advise retailers to develop secondary banana displays at check out. We find that secondary displays help generate impulse buys and play a beneficial role in cross merchandising. They are also portable and allow for quick relocation. Whether the display is near the checkout lanes or next to a specific product that pairs well with bananas, our secondary display program has proven to be a success. As always, enhanced display sizes will increase sales of bananas.

How does Del Monte Fresh help retailers?

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Retailers must stay current with consumer trends, needs, and shopping behaviors. Our category managers are constantly helping customers develop category strategies, design plan-o-grams, perform sales analyses, conduct business reviews and assess promotion and pricing initiatives. Placing bananas in a retailer promotional calendar is another important technique. When a retailer supports and promotes a product, it helps motivate impulse purchases and drives incremental sales. With Del Monte's marketing support, retailers have the resources that will help increase traffic and grow sales in their produce departments.

What does Del Monte Fresh have planned for the coming months?

Throughout the month of September, Del Monte Fresh Produce will host its fifth annual "Go Bananas! Halloween Costume Giveaway" in an effort to encourage healthy eating and living during the Halloween holiday and to promote Del Monte premium bananas. The sweepstakes will give consumers the chance to win one of 1,000 Del Monte branded banana costumes to wear for their Halloween festivities. The promotion will be supported throughout the U.S. and Canada with secondary banana stickers, point-of-sale materials to liven up banana displays for Halloween, and through Del Monte's social media platforms.

What is happening with Del Monte Fresh behind-the-scenes?

Acquisition of additional production areas is helping Del Monte diversify sourcing. Our latest Del Monte multi-purpose facility in Toronto is home to one of our most sophisticated fresh cut fruit and vegetable processing plants in our system and is designed to service all channels including conventional retailers, super centers, convenience stores, food service, and many other outlets. We utilize the facility as a banana ripening center as well as a forward distribution center for a variety of our fresh products.
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Title Annotation:TALKING SHOP
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Article Type:Interview
Date:Aug 1, 2016
Words:634
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