2015 Thanksgiving Produce Checklist & Merchandising Suggestions
Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 26th 2015. Plan now while there’s still the luxury of time.
Thanksgiving is all about maximizing sales and profits by building massive, fresh and seasonal and holiday related displays. Some of these displays can stay up through Christmas. Good planning and strong execution for this holiday will establish the momentum you need to carry you through the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Be creative in order to encourage impulse sales and maximize profits. Based on our experience, your customers will put a lot of effort into making sure that their Thanksgiving holiday dinner is perfect. Even consumers that “shop around” most of the year prefer to buy all of their ingredients from one store for major cooking holidays.
Your Four Seasons Merchandisers and Sales Reps can provide you with numerous successful and proven ideas for seasonal merchandising and displays to help you achieve your store’s full sales potential. Ask your representative for reminders of any new items that may help drive extra sales and schedule time with your Merchandiser to assist you.
10 IDEAS & REMINDERS to help you ace this upcoming Thanksgiving Sales Period!
1. Nut and Baking Displays should be built by November 13! Nuts are not just for baking anymore. They are growing commodities in healthy and high energy snacking for both our organic and conventional consumers.
- What to Include: In-shell and Shelled mixed nuts and walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, baking dates, Medjool Dates, fresh chestnuts, dried figs, string figs, nut trays, nut bowls and glazed fruit.
- Refill: Initial California shelled and in-shell conventional nut orders have already shipped. Re-order early so you can stay ahead as product sells down. Don’t get caught short on the day before Thanksgiving without enough product. You don’t want to have your department filled with customers and empty displays. This product will sell well through New Years.
2. Value-Added and Kitchen-Ready Products save customers’ time and sell great the week before Thanksgiving. Consider these Organic and Conventional ready-to-use products.
- Taylor Farm’s Organic line; plus Apio’s Eat Smart, Southern Selects baby veg and Ocean Mist Conventional Brussels Sprouts lines are cut, clean and ready to use – many in microwave packs.
- Olivia’s Organic and State Garden conventional peeled and cubed Butternut Squash are top sellers.
- Pre-cut Vegetables and Fruits are all available for the holiday. And stuffing mix and soup mix are good movers too. Ask your sales representative about pre-ordering information for Conventional Nature’s Kitchen and Organic Sunbelt.
3. Build a Big Yam Display to capture Big Sales! We have a full line of Organic and Conventional Sweet Potatoes (Yams) and specialty varietal sweet potatoes with some aggressive pricing too!
- TIP 1: In areas where “sweet potato pie” is popular, jumbo yams are ideal.
- TIP 2: Post a full case price.
- TIP 3: Add Bagged Yams for November.
4. Potatoes & Onions – the staples matter. This is the time of year to build large displays of Organic and Conventional bags, loose and count Potatoes & Onions. The best varieties for mashing include: Yellow/Yukon Gold, White potatoes, Red Skin (for skin-on recipes) and Idaho russets (for fluffy texture). Fingerling varieties are ideal for roasting. All varieties are available in Organic and Conventional and are priced aggressively through Thanksgiving.
5. Classic Thanksgiving Ingredients for holiday side dishes drive sales. Be ready with:
- Organic and Conventional Broccoli, Asparagus (green, purple and white), Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Green Cabbage are in peak season. Green Beans are a favorite!
- Did you know? that Thanksgiving week sales are higher than at any other week of the year for: White Mushrooms, Fresh Cranberries, Brussels Sprouts Rutabagas, Parsley, Fresh Herbs (including poultry blend), Leeks, Baby Peeled and Whole Carrots and White Pearl Onions.
6. Pay attention to Stuffing/Filling Ingredients!: Celery and Onions are on almost everyone’s shopping list. Be ready and fresh. Chestnuts, Parsley, Sage, Apples and Raisins are key stuffing ingredients in many recipes too.
7. Greens Sell! Organic and Conventional Collards, Kale, Mustard, Turnip Greens are extremely important for many ethnic and vegetarian holiday dinners.
TIP: Post a case price for CV Collards where appropriate.
Some items just move surprisingly well around Thanksgiving including: Cole Slaw mix, Bananas with a good yellow color are a “MUST” on display, Pomegranates and POM Arils, Persimmons, premium Grapes (The eating quality of our Pretty Lady red, black and green seedless is outstanding and Organic are expected to still be available too) Jarred fruits and citrus salad; Jumbo and XL Fruit like Apples, Pears and jumbo Citrus, Florida Tangerines, California Navels and Spanish or California Clementine Mandarins – all available in both Organic and Conventional, Fresh Apple Ciders, Super Sweet Pineapples and peeled & cored Pines
- PS. Tofurkeys are very popular with your vegetarian customers. Natural and Organic Retailers, don’t get caught short and disappoint your customers.
- PPS. Beginning Black Friday, Lettuce and Tomato displays for leftovers are perfect for the weekend after Thanksgiving.
9. Potted Flowers, Floral Arrangements or Bouquets add incremental sales. Both arrangements and bouquets are great impulse, high-ring purchases for your customers. Fresh cut bouquets and arrangements will sell for the Thanksgiving holiday. Four Seasons offers a full line of Christmas floral and decorative items including: poinsettias, theme mums, wreaths and greens and live mini-spruce trees. Display these for the Thanksgiving weekend. Many of your shoppers will begin decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving.
10. Labor Scheduling and Order Planning can MAKE or BREAK your Thanksgiving Sales.
- Don’t be waiting for your delivery on items that you know will sell heavily for the holiday. You can always back off on your orders following the holiday, but you can’t sell what you don’t have in your store. Deliveries will be available on Wednesday 11/25, but that should be last minute fill in only.
- BEST PRACTICE: Bring hard items in for Saturday, and fresh items in Monday and Tuesday BEFORE the Thanksgiving so you and your staff are on the sales floor Wednesday, not in the back room waiting on and unloading a truck.
- Your produce department should be set and ready to shop by 9:00 AM Monday through Wednesday for your customers’ convenience. They may be stressed and a little impatient if they have to wait for you to dig items out of the back room for them.
- Schedule evening help on Sunday through Tuesday. Have your evening associates fill all hard goods like potatoes, onions and roots, along with semi-perishable product lines such as juices, dressings, dips, nuts, dried fruits, etc. Most of the fruit counters can get packed-out in the evenings – apples, pears, citrus, pineapples, bagged fruit and melons. Stock your greens, mushrooms, berries and grapes in the morning before opening.
- Don’t get behind the ‘8’ ball or you’ll disappoint your customers. Stay ahead and your holiday business will go smoothly. Expect a 5% sales bump the week before Thanksgiving and a 15-20% bump the week of Thanksgiving. Sales will then likely drop 15-25% for the first week of December.
Be Organized! Be Fresh & Full! And Be Successful! Have a great holiday! And THANK YOU for being our customer!
Hanukkah is quite early this year! Don’t be caught off guard. In 2015 Hanukkah begins on December 7th. For stores that have lots of Jewish customers, prepare for a two week run.
Foods that are important for Hanukkah include: honey, sweet potatoes & yams, soup mix and soup ingredients, parsnips, parsley root, onions, leeks, potatoes, carrots, apples, oranges, tangerines, raisins & dried fruits and nuts-many of the items that are popular for Thanksgiving.