KANSAS CITY, MO. - With the month of July comes the peak of summer: Fourth of July celebrations, pool parties and barbecues.
Between melons, mangos, pineapples and other tropical fruits, the produce department has plenty of juicy, sweet and healthy treats that consumers can bring to the table to share with the family this month.
Whether it’s a watermelon, honeydew, or cantaloupe, melons are a very tasty alternative to not-so-healthy summer deserts, pointed out Enda Walsh, president of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Fyffes North America.
The great thing about melons, Walsh highlighted, is that one piece of fruit can be cut to serve the whole family, an economical advantage in the times of COVID-19, which is causing many American families to tighten the purse strings. Melons also have a natural protective barrier, another advantage to post-pandemic consumers.
“Melons are very safe to eat as they come in their own protective skin,” Walsh said. “The melon skin acts like a natural barrier, protecting the fruit with a thick rind, which protects the juicy flesh of the melon.”
During the summer months, Fyffe specializes in cantaloupes and honeydew melons grown in Arizona. Walsh highlighted the snackability of the melons and suggested that grocers play up to that quality to market the melons.
“You can substitute melon triangles for tortilla chips along with a savory dip or serve cantaloupe or honeydew with prosciutto as an appetizer,” she suggested.
Versatility is a trait cantaloupes and honeydews also share with watermelons, which is important to point out to consumers before they even get to the store, said Juliemar Rosado, director of retail and international marketing at the Winter Springs, Fla.-based Watermelon Board.
In previous years it’s been easy for retailers to sell watermelons through impulse buys encouraged with fresh samples — an act that is a little tougher to carry out with the presence of COVID-19.
“Those demos that unfortunately we can't do to diversify watermelon, for example, using it in a salad or using it with another ingredient to show that you can eat it and you can eat all of it, including the rind,” she said. “For us that versatility angle is still very important because it does provide great value to the consumer because you can do so much with watermelon. So it’s encouraging them before they get to the store, whether it's showing a recipe that they may want to try online or a video demonstrating it, or something like that.”
Rosado pointed out that the Watermelon Board has lots of resources such as recipes, POS, digital media and more that retailers can use to help turn shopper attention toward watermelons.
The Mexican mango season that runs from the end of January to approximately the first week of October is the crop that provides the fruit to US consumers during the summer months.
According to the Orlando-based National Mango Board (NMB), this year’s season is expected to peak from late June through the end of July, an extended peak from last year that is expected to yield six weeks of more than 3.5 million boxes of mangos a week. The Mexican mango crop also has exceptional quality this year.
When it comes to marketing the fruit, NMB encourages retailers to merchandise mangos with summer seasonal fruits. The board’s research shows that displaying mangoes alongside seasonal stone fruits gives the mangoes a 45% lift in sales.
“The outdoor summer months provide an opportunity to take advantage of the mango’s versatility of providing a sweet or savory flavor profile to any of the dishes you serve family and friends, particularly as a part of the grilling season,” said Tammy Wiard, retail marketing manager for the NMB. “The National Mango Board can support the retailers’ efforts of educating the consumer (and their own produce team) about the many varieties by providing POS materials and digital content/assets that feature any of these varieties – free of charge.”
NMB’s marketing manager, Marissa Khan, pointed out that the mango’s versatility matches consumer desires to try new flavors.
“Consumers are seeking out adventure in their lives, and this is mirrored in their food choices as well,” she said. “Whether it’s Asian, Indian, African, Peruvian or other globally inspired cuisines, with the increased curiosity and connectedness around food, mangoes are making their way into American kitchens and menus.
Wiard noted that themed displays centered around ingredients grouped together for a new recipe for a family meal solution are a great way to draw in shoppers. NMB has both recipes and POS it can provide to grocers to boost mango sales.
Now’s the time to highlight health benefits
Whether it’s a melon, mango or other tropical fruit, consumers now more than ever are looking for superfoods that can boost health and immunity.
Mangos and cantaloupes in particular are an excellent source of Vitamin C. The recommended daily allowance of the vitamin is 90 mg for men over the age of 19 and 75mg for women over the age of 19. A cup of mangos includes about 60mg of Vitamin C, while a cup of cantaloupe includes about 57mg.
Mangos also contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in mango help support various benefits including immune function, cardiovascular, cognitive and neurologic function. They’re also good source of folate and copper, and provide 2 grams of fiber (7% DV) and 8% DV of vitamin A.
Both watermelons and cantaloupes are an excellent source for hydration, especially in the hot summer months. The average watermelon is made up of 92% water and is rich in vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamins C, A, B1, B5 and B6, potassium and magnesium. Cantaloupe on the other hand is 90% water and high in antioxidants.
This story is from the July 2020 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. To view the full magazine, click here.