Retailers can think fruits and vegetables for the Super Bowl
- by Keith Loria | January 17, 2020
People’s minds quickly go toward chips, wings and other less-than-healthy party foods when talk of Super Bowl parties comes up, but there’s plenty of produce items that football fans watching the game can enjoy. Obviously, avocados are always a big draw, but there’s plenty of other produce items that retailers should be pushing their customers toward in preparation of Super Bowl LIV.
More than ever, the big game is a family-centered event, and everyone wants to do what they can to encourage the children present to make wiser decisions in their snacking and eating. Retailers can capitalize on this desire by including fresh fruits and vegetables in their Super Bowl merchandising, promotions and displays alongside the customary chips, dips, salsa and adult beverages.
By providing innovative themed promotions, POP and in-store sampling events, retailers can remind customers of the recipe possibilities of fruits and vegetables during Super Bowl as well as the playoffs leading up to the big game on Feb. 2 in Miami.
So, while people are enjoying the halftime show featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, there are plenty of healthy produce items they could be incorporating into their snacking.
Bil Goldfield, director, corporate communications for the Dole Food Co., based in Westlake Village CA, noted the Super Bowl, as well as the entire football tailgating season, gives the company a chance to remind sports fans that they don’t need to sacrifice taste or a satiated feeling simply because they are trying to eat smarter at game time.
“The big game allows us to fulfill our mission of providing a healthier game day alternative for Super Bowl party hosts and guests alike,” he said. “From a product standpoint, Dole offers new game-day uses for our mainstay fresh fruits and vegetables. Grilling is still the king of Super Bowl cooking, and while traditional favorites like grilled pineapple are a staple of tailgates, grilled bananas are increasingly popular, thanks to Dole’s increased promotion of new usage ideas and recipes.”
On the fresh vegetable side, Dole sees more people discovering the great taste of grilled veggies, including non-traditional options.
“Dole also offers dozens of non-grilled, handheld appetizer and side dish recipes that call for fresh fruits and vegetables and are perfect for Super Bowl parties,” Goldfield said. “These include tropical turkey chili, spinach avocado hummus, chipotle spring rolls and Buffalo bites with chicken and pineapple.”
Dole also allows protein-loving sports fan to capitalize on the increased popularity of plant-based protein through its Dole Bountiful Kits, a new line of completely plant-based, ready-to-eat salad kits introduced in 2018. Key to the Kits’ early success has been the denser combination of plant-based protein that results in a more satiating salad that eats like a meal —and potentially results in a more satisfying game-day experience.
“People love to host parties and share fantastic and inspirational dishes with friends. The popularity of discovering new usages and even plant-based substitutes has never been more on-trend,” Goldfield said.
He noted that retailers, with a handoff from produce suppliers, can offer shoppers new Super Bowl serving suggestions that continually push the envelope of what’s possible from a taste and nutrition standpoint.
“By expanding these possibilities, we have the potential to make the Super Bowl into a showcase of innovative dishes that are fun to snack on, taste great and offer better nutrition than traditional carbs,” Goldfield said. “Since shoppers likely aren’t used to thinking about the big game as an occasion for healthier eating, the very inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables in in-store Super Bowl displays, along with healthier and plant-based snack recipes, is bound to generate attention.”
He added that since the grill is the focal point of most tailgate and Super Bowl parties, merchandising displays that emphasize the grilling and snacking possibilities of fruits and vegetable can be key to a successful big game promo.
“These displays don’t need to be strictly in the produce section either,” Goldfield said. “A well-stocked secondary display strategically placed next to traditional barbecue items elsewhere in the store can stimulate sales of tailgate- and Super Bowl-worthy fruits and vegetables outside of the produce section.”
Christina Ward, director of global brand marketing for Sunkist Growers, based in Valencia, CA, said the company offers more than 40 different citrus varieties, which means consumer favorites are suited up and ready for the Super Bowl.
“Sunkist oranges, lemons, grapefruit and specialty varieties are all so versatile and the perfect ingredient for zesting up any appetizer, dish, drink or dessert — the possibilities are endless,” she said. “A Super Bowl celebration go-to is the Sunkist Grapefruit Guacamole, and it’s one of our most visited recipes on www.Sunkist.com/recipes this time of year. Other party must-haves include the Sunkist Minneola Margarita and our Cara Cara Goat Cheese Bruschetta. These recipes can be found on the site as well.”
Ward’s tip for retailers is to highlight secondary bin displays during Super Bowl time, such as near the seafood and liquor areas of the store.
“Retailers need to make it more convenient for consumers to tackle Super Bowl party prepping,” she said. “Sunkist works with our retail partners to help them make better business decisions to grow our citrus categories. For Super Bowl and other seasonal promotions, it’s important to stay innovative and adaptable to what’s driving consumption. We offer in-store POS such as clip cards, header cards and channel rails, sampling programs, on-pack coupons, and different secondary display units. We also have the ability to customize promotions to fit our customers’ needs.”
The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association recently ran its “Super Fruit Bowl” campaign, inviting consumers to discover the wide range of fresh fruits available from Chile during the winter months and even offering them a chance to win tickets to the Big Game. The contest ran through Jan. 19, with Chilean fruit ads continuing into February.
“This campaign was a natural fit. We’re in the heart of the biggest season for Chilean fruit, with blueberries, cherries, grapes and stone fruit now arriving to North America,” Karen Brux, CFFA’s managing director, said. “With a ‘super fruit bowl’ available to consumers, this is a great opportunity to attract consumer attention and build awareness for Chilean fruit.”