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Citrus Snackchat: Buy-Side

Citrus Snackchat: Buy-Side

Packed with nutrients, versatility, flavor, and potential, the citrus category remains a lighthouse in the produce department and on the plate, drawing consumers in with its bright, beckoning glow and culinary nuance. Whether you are designing a menu, driving foot traffic at retail, or supplying the best of the best to buy-side businesses, this category remains one to be coveted and procured as a testament to operational standards…


Julie Olivarria,

Vice President, Produce, Sysco

“Every year, citrus claims the top spot in our fruit category. It is a great feature item that is highly represented on restaurant menus year-round, due to both its ability to add a bright, fresh flavor profile as well as its versatility. You can juice it, use it as an ingredient, as a garnish, or just eat it out of the hand. From staple items like lemons, oranges, and Mandarins to exotic citron, there is a citrus item for nearly every palate and plate.”


Daniel Spivey,

Category Manager, Sprouts Farmers Market

“Citrus is unique in that it has competitive advantages over other produce categories. It remains a staple sales-driving category that offers flexibility in value positions and remains versatile in merchandising. A great example is strategically offering value to the consumer by optimizing assortment with peak crop sizes utilizing bags or bulk. The citrus category can bring the produce department to life when merchandised well and offers variety for almost every shopper. The evolution of great eating varieties such as Dekopon Mandarins, Juicy Crunch tangerines, and Calamondin oranges have brought excitement and innovation similar to how consumers were excited about Clementines years ago.”


Nelia Alamo,

Vice President of Marketing, Markon Cooperative

“With all of the recent California rain this year, groves are full of extremely juicy lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges. The beverage category—specifically cocktails and mocktails—is hot this year, and health-targeted drinks using bright, refreshing juices, pulp, and rinds are go-to ingredients. Emphasizing their excellent shelf-life and consistent price points, incorporate citrus across bar menus as well as in other recipes for vinaigrettes, sauces, dips, seafood, and desserts, making them a sustainable, healthy kitchen workhorse.”


Jeff Fairchild,

Produce Buyer, New Seasons Market

“Citrus has become a really stable category for retailers. It’s a stalwart of the produce department because it’s very promotable and also easily accessible. In terms of seasonal sets, citrus plays a major part of what produce departments lean on. In terms of innovation, the packaging of citrus is where we’ve made major inroads. The 2 lb, 3 lb, 5 lb, and the different configurations that come with it have made picking up citrus easy for retailers and customers alike. Shoppers are able to grab what they need, and it’s made labor easier for the stores. I think that’s been a win for everybody.”


Michael Schutt,

Director of Produce and Floral, Raley’s

“When the calendar turns to a new year, that comes with a variety of California-grown citrus. Traditional Navel oranges are wrestled from the spotlight and joined by a supporting cast of interesting characters such as Cara Cara Pink Navels, Ojai Pixie Mandarins, Pink Variegated lemons, Moro Blood oranges, Meyer lemons, and Finger limes—to name a few. The citrus category is a cornerstone of the late fall to early spring business. Expanding the wide assortment of mainstays by highlighting some of the lesser-known varieties above is a great way to drive sales. Bags can provide a value for customers for high tonnage items, and bulk displays encourage customer trial of items that may be newer to the market. At face value, the category provides convenient on-the-go vitamin C. The real zest of these offerings is the culinary applications and the growing use in mixology. The theater of the category is only outdone by the plethora of flavors.” 

Citrus Snackchat: Buy-Side