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BBQ Snackchat

BBQ Snackchat

'Tis the season! Not to embark on a journey through a winter wonderland, but to reinstate those shorts and sandals and fire up the grill. With the prime time for backyard barbecues upon us, a stream of traffic is headed for the produce department as shoppers gather any and every item deemed grillable. From peppers and tomatoes to sweet, juicy watermelon—no category is off limits when it comes to this celebratory merchandising season. Lucky for you, I know a few fresh experts who are bringing the heat just in time for summer BBQ promotions…

Alexandra Rae Molumby,

Director of Marketing, Bako Sweet®

“The weather is not the only thing I’m looking forward to this summer! Pour on the coals because sweet potatoes are coming in hot. Sweet potatoes are a convenient addition to any BBQ cookout, packed with nutrients and offering an endless variety of uses! Our award-winning Bako Sweet® branded products benefit both our retail partners and the shoppers they serve. This summer, be the shopping destination that’s known for triple-washed, nutritious, high-quality sweet potatoes that you can only get from Bako Sweet. Now, excuse me while I heat up my grill to make our Grilled Sweet Potato Kebabs recipe.”

Greg Sagan,

Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Giorgio Fresh Co.

“Mushrooms are always the star of our BBQ spread. They make for a satisfying, meatless main course or a healthy summer side. Simply thread your favorite mushrooms along with chopped vegetables onto skewers, brush with olive oil, and lightly season to taste. We like to place our mushrooms directly on the grates of the grill, so they soak up the smoky flavor and get slightly caramelized. After a few minutes on the grill, the meaty, umami flavor will shine through. Nothing is better than the classic pairing of grilled mushrooms, a perfectly grilled steak, and, of course, a nice glass of wine.”

Kayla Dome,

Global Marketing Manager for Retail, Potatoes USA

“Independence Day sets the pace for a whole month of summer celebrations. It’s the perfect time for grilling and eating outside, and potatoes are the perfect food no matter what the activity. There is no shortage of options for retail consumers. In fact, carrying a variety of fresh potato types, including russet, red, yellow, white, petite, medley, fingerling, and purple potatoes gives consumers options, which leads to increased sales. Additionally, in-store displays with potatoes along with other elements of a summer grilling feast will help shoppers see meal solutions all in one place. Whether it is a potato salad made ahead of time or potato planks cooked on the grill, potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable to fuel any summertime activity.”

Stephanie Cantero,

Communications and Marketing Coordinator, The Nunes Company

“When firing up the grill this summer, do not forget about the veggies. One of the easiest ways to prepare and add flavor to your favorite vegetable is by simply grilling them. For instance, grilling vegetables like leafy greens can add smokiness and caramelization to Romaine hearts, kale, or collard greens, making for a delicious side dish to complement any barbecue. These are some of the perfect items to merchandise during the summer grilling season.”

Pedro Balderrama,

Sales, SunFed

“Being born and raised in the industry means I have access to the freshest produce for most of the year. According to my taste buds, zucchini is best served fresh off the grill, no matter what time of the year it is. Season it with a bit of olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper, then it’s straight to the open flame. Whether it be to color up a juicy plate of steak or simply to eat right off the grill, it’s the perfect summer BBQ item. Even my kids love grilled zucchini pizza bites, or at least play the part very, very well!”

John Shuman,

President and Chief Executive Officer, Shuman Farms

“Grilling season starts with Vidalia® onions! Their sweet, mild, and versatile flavor allows them to be the perfect addition to any dish—burger toppers, kebabs, salads, and more. We recommend that our retailer partners build secondary displays of Vidalia onions in both the produce and meat departments that complement items such as bagged salads, peppers, mushrooms, burgers, sausages, and steaks. Consumers wait eight months for Vidalia onions to hit store shelves, and when they do, they bring a lot of excitement to the produce department—just in time for backyard barbecues and summer gatherings.” 

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