YUMA, AZ. – A study commissioned by the Bard Valley Date Growers (BVDG) showed the date category grew in 2020, up $6 million in incremental sales to reach $114.7 million dollars. The study also found that Bard Valley’s Natural Delights brand has a dominant share of date category sales (42% of volume and 44% of dollars). 

“We wanted to have a deeper understating of sales trends driving the growth of the date category,” said Neil Merritt, director of North American sales at BVDG. “The breadth of information from this baseline study is critical as we help retailers develop promotions to drive sales. We can utilize the findings to plan and drive successful seasonality programs and create material to help retailers capture additional sales.”  

Natural Delights Medjool dates drove more than a third of the category volume growth at 34%. Additionally, velocity for the brand increased 5.4%, generating turns 400% greater than the next leading brand. 

Bard Valley has achieved growth through unique merchandisers and package sizes available to help retailers build sales, the company said.  

The study identified that the 2-pound package drove category growth in the second quarter, coinciding with Ramadan, which is coming in 2021 on April 12. The study found the 2-pound package was up 18% in 2020 compared to 2019. 

“Retailers can realize double digit unit and dollar increases with our mini pallet and half pallet for the 2-pound package,” said Merritt. “Visibility is key to merchandising and cross merchandising in other departments can attract new customers and help drive incremental sales. April 1 is the ideal time to start merchandising Medjool dates to maximize sales for the Ramadan holiday. This is an ideal time to start to promote dates with displays and merchandisers in high traffic areas.”