Baking, snacking and gifting can make displays of dried fruits, nuts a seasonal treat


Dried fruits and nuts nourish the sweet and savory joys of autumn and winter events.

Displays of in-shell nut assortments, dramatized by the colors of dried fruits, beckon customers to not only savor the snacks, but also promise the pleasures of the forthcoming holidays.

During this season, more produce departments are accommodating suppliers’ need for space to display their extensive lines of both familiar and exotic dried fruits, plus almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pignolias, pistachios and walnuts. Spanish peanuts and marcona almonds are more common now, too.

In-shell nuts play a big part in the festive décor in the produce department in the holiday season. Each type of nut has unique characteristics.

Chris Large, a sales manager for Torn & Glasser in Los Angeles, advocates big displays. “Slivers are not very good,” he says, with the adage, “Stack them deep and sell them cheap.”


Retailers also should take the time to make attractive displays.

“People eat with their eyes,” says Tess Mercado, owner-founder of Nutridge Farms in Chino, California. “Take time to make the products and displays very appealing.”

In a small store, Mercado suggests opting for the endcaps and the tops of rows of shelves because they get noticed quickly, “As soon as people walk in, they see you.”

Bard Valley Natural Delights ushers medjool dates into seasonal inspiration. “Enhancing visibility is crucial for boosting date sales,” says Marketing Director David Baxter. “Our banana table rack is a prime example of how visibility can make a difference. We offer a diverse range of other merchandising displays to choose from, ensuring retailers can find the best fit for their stores.”

Baxter continues, “Our strategies extend beyond visibility, with options such as cross-promotions and in-store sampling demos. These tactics create added value and engagement, driving interest and sales for our date products.”

Jennifer Olmstead, senior director of U.S. marketing and communications for the California Walnut Board, Folsom, CA, says the Christmas season and walnuts go hand-in-hand, “especially with the classic symbol of the nutcracker.”

At this time of the year, shoppers are looking for holiday baking ingredients, as well as snacks, gift ideas and ways to elevate the everyday meal into something more festive. Promoting nuts and dried fruit in the produce department caters to this desire.

“The mild nutty flavor and satisfying crunch of walnuts adds to the enjoyment of holiday favorites — from baked goods and do-it-yourself gifts to seasonal appetizers, stuffings and salads.”


Dates make great gifts addition for any gift basket, charcuterie board, or in a sharable recipe to take to a party.

“Like all gifts,” says Bridgette Weber, trade marketing manager for Bard Valley Natural Dates. “It comes down to the package and generating some excitement. To serve this, we have our eye-catching window gift box options that retailers bring in for certain holidays.”

Mercado of Nutridge Farms also highlights products in packaging with a clear window, “so the quality can actually be seen inside.”

People love gift baskets, she adds, and suggests assembling products into attractive containers with shredded paper. Nutridge Farms’ flip-top bottle with fiesta peanuts is often used for gifts. “It can be enjoyed while driving with no spillage, and fits in car cup holders,” says Mercado.

Associating snacks with sports also can create opportunities. The synergy between the health benefits of nuts, particularly the omega 3 of walnuts can aid promotions that stress consumption for assisting performance and post-recovery.

“Lower sugar and salt alternatives, plus additional spices, can also draw customers,” says John Dannemiller, president of family-owned C. J. Dannemiller Co., in Ohio

A wealth of cookbooks, recipe collections, and articles help focus on seasonal baking. Whether consumers rely on relatives’ treasured, decades-old recipes or invent their own holiday masterpieces, suppliers today can bring rewards.



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