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Taking advantage of canning season

While some may think canning season is done in in September, I found myself on 40 lbs of tomatoes to be canned the first weekend of October. As I hurried around at my local Vancouver grocer I was grateful to find supplies like jars and lids, lemon juice and basil at the ready.

Often retailers plan so far ahead (think of the Christmas displays you are seeing right now) that they forget that many shoppers purchase in current time. Shoppers don’t always plan ahead, which means they aren’t willing to spend time searching for a product. Take advantage of where your consumers mind might be and you can see some additional sales you weren’t expecting.

There’s an ongoing interest in canning. It’s tied in to the local food movement, preserving the last little bits of summer, and feeling that you might have some control over your life.

At store level, you might wonder where to set up the cases of jars. Setting a canning display next to an abundance of tomatoes, pickling cukes or beets is what is essential right now—you want to trigger that impulse reaction!  Think about what other late season produce items you can offer up.

If you can’t group items together, simple signage can tell customers where to find supplies. An information sheet at the entrance of the store can also show shoppers where to find items. Better yet, find out which staff members has done their own canning and suddenly you have an in-store expert.

With such a renewed interest in “farm to table” and “eat local” ways of thinking, providing your customers with a quick reminder of the excitement of the fall harvest is sure to nudge some nostalgic memories.

There are numerous ways for your stores to benefit from this local food reawakening:

  • — You can move serious volumes of in-season produce
  • — Your customers will appreciate that you’re being proactive towards current trends
  • — It supports the local food movement but still supports your store sales
  • — It gives your store staff something fun to talk about
  • — It makes a nice themed ad and provides tempting visual appeal
  • — The merchandising aspect is easy to carry out at a store level
  • — You can feature several categories depending on what’s being offered up
  • — It is easy to add in messages to your social media channels

Consumers like it because it’s healthier and they can control the ingredients they’re using; plus it is fun – especially when done as group activity.  And having healthy and tasty staples in your pantry is hugely comforting.    Plus the bonus: home canned treats are always a welcome hostess gift at any dinner party.

I certainly have had my share of exploding jars, but the end results have been worth it. And it doesn’t stop me from buying fresh produce in the coming winter months.

Here are a couple of resources that you can utilize:

— HealthyCanadians.gc.ca

EatRightOntario.ca

Bernardin.ca

Every little bit helps to lift overall produce consumption.

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