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A Sweet Summer: 4 Produce Marketing Tips to Drive Melon Sales
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A Sweet Summer: 4 Produce Marketing Tips to Drive Melon Sales

Although I’m a firm believer in year-round melon consumption, amid summer breezes, sunny days, and chirping birds, there are few things I enjoy more than melons for a cool, refreshing snack.

Especially if you have kids, you know how popular, delicious, and versatile these fruits are. Because they work well in both sweet and savory dishes—invigorating smoothies, salads, salsas, and even soups—consumers across demographics are buying melons in increasing numbers. That melons also provide a good amount of vitamins A and C, potassium, and water content only adds to their appeal.

To bring retailers consumer and category insights that can help grow their business, Robinson Fresh® conducted a U.S. consumer survey to learn who is buying melons and what factors influence their purchasing decisions. With their responses, we discovered several opportunities for retailers to increase melon sales.

4 insights-driven marketing approaches that increase melon sales

Only 14% of consumers buy melons weekly, and 87% of all consumers who purchase melons buy one at a time. Of the four out of five consumers who purchase watermelon, 70% enter stores with plans to buy the fruit. To encourage consumers to purchase melons more frequently and in greater quantities, retailers can do these four things.

1. Create a strong display in a high-traffic spot

How retailers display watermelons largely influences impulse purchases. Neatly stacked melons with careful, gentle placement convey non-bruised, pristine fruit. A clean, full display means there are plenty of high-quality melons to choose from—not just those that have been picked over and left behind.

Showcasing cut fruit is another way to create an impactful display, giving consumers a sneak peek at the fruit’s vibrant interior color and juicy texture. Upon seeing one healthy-looking fruit on display, they are likely to assume that all the melons in the display are of similar quality.

2. Offer special promotions any time supply is abundant

To drive incremental sales, encourage consumers to purchase multiple melons at one time. Nearly two-thirds of consumers said that a promotion of two melons for a set price (e.g., a 2/$6 offer) would entice them to purchase an additional melon. Allowing consumers to mix and match varieties—like mini seedless and cantaloupe—can offer an additional degree of appeal to encourage impulse purchases. When honeydew is on promotion, 84% of consumers are more likely to make an impulse purchase.

However, 80% of consumers who purchase watermelon do so for a specific holiday or occasion, like the Fourth of July or a picnic. Here, most consumers aren’t price shopping: 85% said they buy watermelon at their regular store, no matter the price.

3. Tout peak melon seasons all year long

Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports 70% of annual watermelon volume ships May through August, 44% of consumers purchase melons in all seasons. Younger demographics increasingly view melons as an “all seasons” fruit. And it is, as melons are grown around the world; as one region’s growing season winds down, another’s starts up. Those staggered, complementary growing seasons make it possible to keep a continuous supply of fresh, flavorful melons in stores, so you can excite consumers by consistently highlighting “peak seasons” and year-round ideas for using melons in recipes and meals.

4. Educate consumers about melon quality to help them feel confident in their purchase

Only about half of melon purchasers expressed confidence in choosing a ripe one. And interestingly, though melons are typically one of the least expensive fresh produce items per pound, consumers are much less likely to buy them on a whim if they aren’t comfortable selecting a “good” melon—one that is ripe, juicy, flavorful, or has the right texture.

To help build confidence, educate consumers on how to select melons. For example, a melon that feels heavy for its size is likelier to be brimming with juice. A watermelon with a creamy-yellow splotch is at peak ripeness. The spot is where the melon sat as it ripened; if the spot is white or pale green, it may have been picked too soon and not be as ripe.

Strong produce marketing strategies

When retailers dig into consumer purchasing patterns, perspectives, and reasoning, they can drive sales through better consumer-aligned strategies. At Robinson Fresh, our dedicated teams of produce analysts and marketing professionals are constantly delivering customized deep-data analyses on both commodities and consumers to deliver retailer-unique marketing plans. Sourcing more than 2 billion pounds of produce each year, we go the extra mile to keep fresh supply chains moving.

Read our insights paper, The Sweet Spot: What Retailers Should Know about Consumers to Drive More Melon Sales, or connect with one of our fresh experts to explore more opportunities for your melon program.

Molly Tabron

Molly Tabron - Senior Commodity Analyst

Molly Tabron is a senior commodity analyst and has been with Robinson Fresh 10+ years. Having held leadership positions on both business and analytics teams, her diverse experience within the fresh produce supply chain helps to shape the vision for supply planning and analytics for Robinson Fresh. Molly is married with two young kids. In her spare time, she enjoys photography.
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