27 Apr 2021

How to sell more berries with effective merchandising


This article was originally published in the American magazine "Produce Marketing Guide". The peculiarities of the US berries market (such as high turnover and large in-store displays) can also be an inspiration for managing our own departments. A category such as berries must first be built with an awareness of the potential it can develop if managed correctly and carefully.

Now that spring is here and the warmer days are upon us, we give some tips and ideas on merchandising for one of the highest moving categories in the fruit and vegetable department: berries.

Berries are to spring what cacio cheese is to macaroni. Coming out of the winter months during which consumers had so many options in the citrus and pear categories, they are now starting to shift gears with their cravings for different fruits. This is the point at which an already strong category in the department becomes stronger.

Almost everyone I know eats berries, and if you were to look at the shopping trolleys that pass through the aisle, more often than not you would see at least one package nestled somewhere. The demand for delicious, healthy and convenient snacks is at an all-time high, and berries tick all those boxes.


Or, in this case, to refrigerate or not to refrigerate... There are many factors that affect where you display your berries and how you market them. Seasonality, quality, price points and ad features, temperature, volume - all play a role in how you get fresh berries to your customers.

Ideally, you should have berries in the refrigerator, of course, especially raspberries and blackberries, but the space available and the properties of checkouts in stores are not always conducive to large displays of fresh berries. Larger berry displays mean larger berry sales.

Strawberries and blueberries, in general, resist better at room temperature than their other two counterparts. This is where some creative, off-the-shelf displays can come into play.


Unlike a beautiful shelf of produce, with striking colours and textures, or a display of coloured peppers that immediately catch a consumer's eye, berries are basically available in three colours - red, blue and black - and come in a plastic package. However, some of the most impactful, colourful and impressive (not to mention profitable) displays have come from creative merchandising with fresh berries.

Checkerboard panels, wide expanses, waterfalls, berry 'walls' and pyramids are all interesting ideas and good ways to advertise and sell berries. It is only how and where you place them that will make the difference.

A large, well-constructed berry display is sure to catch the customer's eye and draw them to your display, and once there, the pack goes into the cart!

Two things to be sensitive to when choosing the size and design of the display are the health and quality of the berries and the temperature of the display area. Hot display areas are not the best friends of berries, especially if the berries themselves are not super healthy when they come out of the box.

If you are going to use cascading methods to create dimensions in displays, make sure you do so with empty boxes. The same applies to the displays you are going to use for height. Give the illusion of mass with as little product as possible.


Display size and creativity aside, assortment is key to building sales in your berry category.

First, bring all the "flavors" - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Every consumer has his or her favorite berry, so bringing the whole range of fruits is convenient for the consumer and important for sales and overall category growth.

Secondly, bring different sized packages of each variety. Today's consumers, with larger families and a greater emphasis on healthy eating, need larger packages to meet their needs. They are making the leap from one kilo strawberries to two or even four kilo strawberries.

The blueberries one-pint (475g) are becoming 18-ounce (510g) packs, and the blackberries and 6-ounce (170g) raspberries are becoming 9- (255g) or 12-ounce (340g) purchases. Personally, I cannot tell you how many times I have picked up a pint of fresh blueberries (475g) or a 6-ounce pack of blackberries (170g) before I leave a store and when I get home the whole pack is gone. I wish I had bought more or even a larger package so I could have some for breakfast the next day.

And looking at it another way, bigger packs mean bigger sales. So, where possible, leave some shelf space for these larger packs. You will be glad you did! Also, shops that are not fully organic should have both non-organic and organic berries on display to satisfy both customers. Although price differences vary, organic customers will pay the premium for the berries they want.


There are so many co-marketing possibilities that can be activated in berry sections and displays! Links with the bakery and grocery store can include dessert packs, plumcakes, pie crusts, yoghurt, whipped cream, granola, chocolate sauces and icings, cornbread, oatmeal, sugars - the list is endless.

Having these goods in or near your berry displays will increase the size of your shopping cart and give your customers a particularly sweet treat. Items such as whipped cream and yoghurt are refrigerated, so those will need to be incorporated into your sets, but others can be placed around and on top of crates, in displays or on shelves. Ties with produce such as rhubarb, lemons, courgettes - yes, courgettes! - bananas or mangoes can lead customers to make cakes, lemonade, bread or smoothies.


From snacks to smoothies, breads, cakes and salads, there are plenty of ways to use berries. Print and publish recipes and put them on your displays. This might encourage a customer to take a pack for a snack now, but also a few more packs, for example from blueberries, to make a pie from blueberries later in the week.

Suggest taking a few extra packets to freeze for future use. Simple signage and tips like this are also a great way to ensure that extra packs of berries find their way into your customers' carts.


No, we are not talking about the classic card game. We are just talking about four quick tips and tricks for successful berry sales.

  • When receiving them, put the berries directly into the coolers. Hot warehouses and loading areas are not conducive to long storage of the berries.
  • Keep fresh berries on display. Remove all bad berries from the packages and replace them with fresh ones. Make sure you are aware of the weights inside the packages and replace bad berries with good ones.
  • Rotate your berries at every exit.
  • Big, beautiful berry displays mean great movement and sales for your department. Keep your displays clean, tidy and attractive to the eye!

That's all for this time - now let's go to the department to build the next berry masterpiece that is sure to impress your customers!

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