Season’s Greenings: Asparagus and Traditional Cooking Greens are Holiday Must-Haves

Season’s Greenings: Asparagus and Traditional Cooking Greens are Holiday Must-Haves

September 20, 2018

It seems like we just said goodbye to summer, but shoppers are already thinking about what they’ll serve for their holiday gatherings. According to Google Trends, their quests to plan perfect menus have already begun. Starting in September, they turn to search engines and social platforms for recipe inspiration to use traditional ingredients in new, healthier, or innovative ways.

Going green for the holidays

Shoppers are proactively planning their holiday meals, and retailers should do the same—especially when it comes to planning produce for the busy holiday season. Despite the overall trend of retail volume growth slowing down in November and December, some commodities see an increasing share of sales. Asparagus and traditional cooking greens (collard, mustard, and turnip greens) make the list, but for different reasons: As a traditional and staple component for holiday meals in the South, cooking greens are highly seasonal. Asparagus, on the other hand, is a familiar, versatile vegetable with that can be used as an innovative side dish or as a unique ingredient in an appetizer.

3 opportunities to increase sales

While 69% of shoppers buy asparagus and 59% purchase traditional cooking greens, there are opportunities for retailers to increase sales and become a go-to resource for meal planning—for the holidays and throughout the year. Here are three ideas to get started:

1. Serve up cohesive meal solutions in your promotions.

Shoppers think big picture when planning for their holiday meals. Apply this mindset to your produce department by cross-merchandising items as a meal idea instead of highlighting them independent of each other. Consider the ways their holiday meals are changing, too: Rather than one traditional sit-down meal, many shoppers host or attend several holiday gatherings featuring smaller meals or potluck-style spreads, with hors d’oeuvres and snacks served all day long. Promote asparagus and traditional cooking greens as additives to meals—items that can round out a meal or appetizer spread. For example, cross-merchandise asparagus with prosciutto for an easy appetizer idea (simply wrap individual spears with a slice of prosciutto and bake), or traditional cooking greens with mushrooms and potatoes for a hearty, nutrient-rich side.

2. Become a destination for holiday planning and year round recipe inspiration.

Get in front of shoppers early with recipes, including traditional holiday dishes and those that feature an innovative twist, healthier version, or modifications that work for food restrictions and diets. Shoppers—especially younger demographics—are increasingly searching for recipe ideas online, and they’re also using the internet to learn how to choose and prepare fresh produce. Twice as many recipe searches occur during Thanksgiving week than the average week, and inquiries continue right up to the day of the holiday, with searches shifting toward specific cooking information—like, “how to cook greens Southern style” or “making collard greens in a pressure cooker.” Be their source of information, and communicate that throughout the year.

3. Plan your fresh promotions wisely.

Your marketing dollars could be more wisely and effectively spent by offering price incentives on non-staple items that shoppers are more likely to impulse buy, instead of discounting relatively low-cost items they are likely already planning to buy (like traditional cooking greens). This rings especially true around the holidays, when shoppers are most likely to have predetermined, must-get items.

Final thoughts

Knowledge is power, and that’s why Robinson Fresh® has a team of dedicated analysts who diligently keep an eye on category and consumer trends, turning deep and detailed insights into specific, actionable recommendations and ideas to help you capture more sales. You can dig into these insights right here on Freshspective™.

Robinson Fresh conducted a survey with U.S. consumers to explore shoppers’ buying behaviors, purchase habits, and perceptions about asparagus and traditional cooking greens. The findings from the research is published in our forthcoming consumer and category insights paper, Shopper Insights for the Holidays: What to Know about Asparagus and Traditional Cooking Greens.

Connect with one of our fresh experts to talk about how we can put together the right asparagus and traditional cooking greens program for your business.

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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