New Year, New Merchandising

Holiday planning doesn’t stop at Thanksgiving. Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day all follow in short order. These holidays are busy shopping days as customers prepare for their holidays celebrations. New Year’s Eve is all about snacking and drinking. Fresh-cut items make it easier for customers to shop for ingredients as they consider what to cook. Alternatively, fresh-cut party platters full of veggies and fruit are great additions for the party guest or host not looking to cook. Stock up on popular party ingredients such as Belgian endive and cherry tomatoes for hors d’oeuvres platters. Crudité is still all the rage, so stock up on baby carrots, celery, cucumbers, red bell peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower and display with conveniently merchandised dips. Talk to your grocery department about displaying packages of dry dip mixes and canned and or jarred olives. Including these little items with your produce inspires and encourages purchases.

New Year’s Day food traditions vary from culture to culture. One popular tradition that has spread through the U.S. in recent years is the Southern tradition of eating collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. These specific foods are believed to bring you good luck throughout the next year or “peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” In Korean culture, traditional New Year’s Day foods often includes rice cake soup, dumplings or mandu, and savory pancakes with meat, fish, and vegetables. In Spain and Mexico, eating 12 grapes at midnight as the clock strikes once for each hour will bring you luck for the 12 months ahead. Get to know your customer base and tailor your displays and promotions around their needs.

After the indulgences of the holidays, customers will also be shopping for the next few weeks to make good on their New Year’s resolutions around detoxing, eating better, and staying healthy. Get ready for the health craze rush that usually lasts all month. Juice cleanses and adopting new eating habits like going raw or vegan, or cooking more at home and eating out less, are all things that will bring you new customers. Be prepared to meet these needs by offering a diverse selection of fresh produce (think celery, kale, ginger, turmeric) and familiarize your staff with basic info about juicing and different dietary guidelines. If you have a wellness department, it would be great idea to display books with juicing recipes and maybe some vegan and vegetarian cook books. January is a great time to gain and keep new customers. This is the one time of year large numbers of people in your community will be coming into your store for the first time looking for better food.