Bako Sweet - Make it Sweet With Our Organic & Conventional Seedless Watermelons - June/July 2020Flavor Worth a Thousand Words

Dates really do dabble in the best of both worlds: delicious and nutritious. While they have been associated with specific holidays in the past, like Ramadan, the treat has become a year-round asset for produce departments that want to diversify their produce destinations and, by extension of that, their shopper demographics. There is a palate to be tapped here, and retailers who do not want to be left behind—look to this category to grow the possibilities...


Robert Dobrzanski

Founder, Atlas Produce and Fresh Energy™

“From date shakes and savory recipes to healthy and convenient snacking opportunities, the date category has been on the rise as it breaks the mold around a singular holiday-centric buy to a year-round specialty food offering. I personally love to eat dates just as they are and find that they truly cover the bases for many consumers who demand both indulgence and healthy food options in their diets. You cannot beat the flavor of dates, and today’s shoppers are looking for that kind of differentiation at their retail destination.”

Alex Berkley

Director of Sales, Frieda’s Specialty Produce

“Growing up, dates were always up there with prunes for me—the food you ate if you were old and needed fiber. However, I remember walking a tradeshow with my mom after college and as we walked by a date supplier booth, she said ‘Let’s go get a date!’ I said ‘Ew, gross,’ but she described it like ‘nature’s caramel.’ That intrigued me, and that first bite of that date made a date-lover out of me! They are sweet, indulgent, and flavorful. All guilt free!”

 

DJ Ryan

Sales and Operations Manager, SunDate, LLC

“We had near-perfect growing conditions for this season’s Medjools, with plenty of warm weather and no precipitation at harvest, so quality is very good. Dates, like many traditional holiday items, need to be put in a visible location paired with similar fruits or baking items. But the healthy aspects of dates combined with their being so sweet makes them a great substitute for refined sugar and less natural sweeteners, which is helping them to become more noticed as healthy trends continue to rise. For retailers, it’s about getting dates out in front of consumers to remind them to make that purchase.”

Jeff Church

Vice President of Sales, Church Brothers Farms

“I try to be on my bicycle as much as possible. Dates are a perfect produce-centered way of keeping energy up while not having to think about what I am eating, and I’m sure many others living an active lifestyle, inside and outside of the produce industry, feel the same. Being as naturally sweet as they are, dates are great to enjoy while still being able to ‘walk the walk’ as a member of the produce industry—a win-win!”

 

David Baxter

Brand Manager, Natural Delights

“The date category is especially attractive because of the significant growth it has achieved and the room it still has to continue that trajectory. There are so many people who eat dates daily in bars and bites, created with date-based recipes. Converting those consumers to whole date purchasers presents an incredible opportunity for our growers to exponentially grow demand. It’s about educating the consumer on the benefits and uses of dates to get them to buy into the category year-round. For example, my favorite date recipe is bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese.”

Mark Masten

CEO, Joolies Organic Medjool Dates

“People are consuming dates whether they realize it or not! They’re hot right now, particularly the organic medjool date, which historically is known as the King of Dates. Why was Djokavic chowing down a medjool in the 12th tie break of fifth set at Wimbledon? The medjool date has more potassium per weight than a banana! They’re considered a superfruit for a reason: dates are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes; notably potassium and magnesium. Parents love them because they’re a healthy snack for kids and kids actually love them. That’s why, at Joolies, we call them California Palm Tree Candy™!”

 

Raina Nelson

Executive Vice President Business Development, Renaissance Food Group

“Medjool dates are a staple at Tour de Fresh nutrition stops. The date snacks are like a delicious version of a Mario Power Up! They provide an incredible source of sustained energy and potassium that fuel our bodies during the strenuous rides—they are a perfect fresh produce snack for Tour de Fresh and fuel our mission to bring salad bars to children across America. I know I lose count of how many dates I enjoy during the Tour de Fresh. They’re definitely a rider favorite!”