Citrus sales boom during the summer, and Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers Inc. hopes to keep that momentum going into back-to-school, said Trent Bishop, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing.

According to Circana data cited by Bishop, citrus represents 10% of total fruit dollars sold at retail across the US from July through October.

juice in a pitcher with yellow fruits aroundSource: Sunkist

“Highlighting the versatility of in-season Sunkist citrus is key to striking the right balance between embracing the vibrant energy of summer and educating consumers about new and exciting ways to bring citrus to the table,” he said. “This approach not only ensures affordability but also allows consumers to utilize the whole fruit, making their citrus purchases even more worthwhile.”

Sunkist’s back-to-school focus this season is on making the citrus shopping experience “bright and fun, just like our citrus,” Bishop said.

“Through our promotions, we’re extending the celebration of the sweet, juicy, zesty, flavorful, and nutritious attributes of our in-season citrus varieties.”

Sunkist lemons are available year-round. Sunkist Valencia oranges are available through October. 

Other Sunkist varieties available during the back-to-school push include California Star Ruby grapefruit, which is available through July, followed by Marsh Ruby grapefruit, which ships from mid-July through October. When it comes to merchandising at retail, adding in-store displays is a great tool to engage with consumers to encourage consumption, especially as most orange shoppers prefer to shop for produce when visiting physical store locations, Bishop said.

According to a Sunkist-commissioned study, over 15% of orange shoppers bought oranges as an impulse purchase. As Valencia oranges are the only US-grown orange variety available to consumers during the summer months, Sunkist is continuing its campaign called ‘The Official Orange of American Summer’ featuring picnic-themed combo bags and matching quarter bin displays.

For lemons, Sunkist is continuing its collaboration with WildBrain’s Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in The Big City, with a limited-edition pouch bag highlighting characters from the show, and a landing page on the Sunkist website, hosting kid’s activity pages, and easy-to-make recipes.

And through its research working with Numerator, Sunkist has learned that grapefruit shoppers are also influenced by in-store promotions, and new grapefruit shoppers represent nearly one-third of grapefruit households.

sunkis cardboard store displaySource: Sunkist

“Customizable marketing programs and interactive point-of-sale material engage consumers where they show up to shop,” Bishop said. “Sunkist display bins now feature scannable QR-codes, giving consumers access to real-time recipe inspiration in-store.”

New quarter bin headers highlighting the unique flavor profiles and nutritional benefits are also useful tools to help spark consumption, he added. Retailers can build eye-catching displays with bins, bin headers, and clip cards to engage shoppers and enhance back-to-school shopping destinations.