Demand for tropicals varies by region, with southern and coastal areas showing better demand for tropical products than Midwest states, said Jim Thornburg, West Virginia-based retail consultant.
The evolution of consumer tastes is opening new markets, one marketer said.
“What was a specialty last year is mainstream this year,” said Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals Inc.
“Whether it’s a consumer wanting to eat healthier or a consumer looking for produce of their native cuisine, tropicals deliver.”
She said constantly testing what consumers want can build long-term sales.
Retailers can sell more tropical produce by giving it visibility throughout the department and the entire store, Ostlund said.
“Within the produce department, theme displays get some excitement with select tropicals added,” she said.
Baskets of fruit near yogurt invite consumers to try new tropical items, she said.