Suppliers keep eye on trending produce

Excerpts from an article in the 6/20/17 The Packer Specialties Section written by Melissa Shipman

Suppliers watch trends to determine up and coming favorites in the ever-changing specialties category.

Tropicals

Tropicals are one subcategory of the specialty department that have seen huge growth based on recent trends.

“In years past, consumers wanted to know ‘What is it?’ when they saw a star fruit or dragon fruit. Today Brooks’ most visited web pages and favorite social media posts are all about how-tos,” said Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals.

Tropicals top the sales charts for specialty fruit, with mangoes up almost 7% to pull in 36% of specialty fruit dollars, according to Sarah Schmansky, director, Nielsen Fresh.

Next on the list is kiwifruit, which makes up 20% of specialty fruit dollars, followed by papaya at 12%.

Guava is a rising star in the specialty fruit category, with an impressive 138% increase over last year. Tamarindo is up 100%, cherimoya is up 86%, and passion fruit is up 38%.

Jackfruit isn’t on the official list of rising stars from Nielsen, but Caplan said they are an item to watch.

“Jackfruit has been consistently gaining popularity. Shoppers are starting to ask for them now,” she said.