Monday, January 10, 2011

Heat up sales with a tropical favorite: papaya

Excerpts from an article in the 1/11 Produce Retailer by Kristi Johnson

Drawing consumers in during the cold winter months and creating a colorful tropical display are tried and true methods for merchandising at retail.

"Play up papayas in the winter," says Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals, LLC., Homestead, Fla. "The gorgeous red flesh on a Caribbean Red papaya will chase the winter blahs away."

Ostlund also recommends drawing attention to the naturally large fruit by opening up a new tropicals aisle or surrounding a salsa ingredient display.

Display papayas by stacking them with their bottom side out, making it easy for customers to select the one they want.

With the natural beauty of the papaya, Ostlund says cutting it open and displaying at retail is a great merchandising strategy. She says: "Let the consumer see the beautiful red flesh inside. Let them know they can eat it like a melon."

So how does a savvy retailer educate staff and consumers on ripening papayas and how to eat them? Ostlund says "showing consumers what they need to look for with ripening charts is some of the best education."

"Let the consumer know they can start eating a Caribbean Red papaya starting at about 50% color," she says. "Once the fruit is at this stage, you give it a little squeeze, and if it gives, it's ready to eat."

The future seems very bright for papayas today, Ostlund says. "Americans may have cut back on dining out, but they are determined not to let it spoil their dining fun." Latino and Asian restaurant cuisines are two that she sees most likely to be replicated at home as papayas continue to play a big role in ethnic eating.

Ostlund says that three potential markets exist for the retailer. For the highest sales, all three should be addressed: bulk, cut (halved and filmed with a spoon and lime slice) and blended (smoothies or batidos - a Latin American blended beverage made with milk, fruit and ice).

Bloggers note: the author left out the following sentence.
Addressing all three markets also reduces shrinkage. Ripening fruit is sold in bulk, ready-to-eat fruit is made ready-to-eat, and fruit passed its cosmetic prime is blended into a delicious beverage.

"Don't be surprised if a customer buys bulk and ready-to-eat in one visit," says Ostlund

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Playing with papaya

Excerpts from an article in the 1/5/11 Ft Myers News-Press by Drew Sterwald

Papayas are not all alike

Papaya varieties can vary considerably in size, sweetness and scent. Some grow to pear shape, while others take more after oblong melons, which they resemble somewhat in texture and flavor. The berry’s seeds taste peppery and often are used as garnish.

The fruit’s sometimes funky aroma may turn up a few noses.

“Not all papayas are alike,” said Mary Ostlund, marketing director for Brooks Tropicals, a Homestead-based fruit grower and shipper.

“If you’ve tried a papaya and found it to have a musky taste and smell, don’t give up on the fruit.”

"Brooks specializes in Caribbean Red Papaya, a large fruit that’s sweeter than most other backyard varieties," she said. "It pairs especially well with berries."

“The papaya easily blends with other fruits such as melons, apples, even citrus,” Ostlund said. “Papaya takes these fruits to another level."

Monday, January 3, 2011

The skinny on fats

Avocados have monounsaturated fat, often called 'good' fat. But 'good' doesn't necessarily mean eat as much as you want as the following article details.

Excerpts from an article in the US World News and Report 12/10

By Katherine Hobson

A certain amount of fat in your diet is essential. However, all fats are not alike in their effect on blood cholesterol levels.

Trading saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) does seem to offer healthy benefits for the heart, says Saroyan Mozaffarian Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

Monounsaturated fats found in avocados, olive oil and other oils are a good replacement for saturated fats, but they don't have the same health benefits as polyunsaturated fats.

Many point to the so-called Mediterranean diet, but "the health-conferring element in that eating pattern hasn't really been nailed down" says Mozaffarian. "If olive oil is beneficial, it may not be because of the monounsaturated fats it contains, but the phytochemicals."

"Focus on getting your pattern of eating right," says Alice Lichtenstein a nutritional biochemist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University. "And research is fairly consistent on what constitutes healthy eating: a varied diet heavy on fruits and vegetables that emphasizes whole grains, fish and a limited amount of lean meats and low fat dairy and it includes liquid oils for food preparation."

Remember that quantity matters. Even healthy eaters should master portion control. Mimi Garner, Cardiologist and medical director of the Scrolls Center for Integrative Medicine in LaJolla, California says, " if you eat a lot of nuts, avocados or olive oil, you'll get fat."

Once it's around your middle, it's no longer good fat.