Meyer lemon retail sales and volume have increased significantly in the January-February peak season period over the last few years, with sales in U.S. dollars up 51 percent, pounds up 43 percent and units up 29 percent in 2015 compared to 2011, according to IRI Worldwide data.
This dramatic sales increase makes Meyer lemons one of the fastest growing varieties in the citrus category.
“The lift in Meyer lemon sales at retail is very exciting, and there is still huge opportunity for this variety,” said Sunkist Director of Retail Marketing Julie DeWolf.
“Moreover, we’ve seen sales increases in bulk and 1-pound bags, demonstrating the room for growth in the category for both offerings.”
Sunkist offers retailers a wide array of packaging and point-of-sale materials to help retailers effectively merchandise Meyer lemons to build consumer awareness and drive sales.
“Education is critical when it comes to driving demand for specialty items like Meyer lemons,” added DeWolf.
“Providing flavor profiles, nutrition information, usage tips and recipe ideas definitely piques consumer interest. Sunkist works closely with our customers to produce materials and programs that help build awareness at the point-of-purchase for varieties like Meyer lemons, and the sales results demonstrate the growing demand for this item.”
“While Meyer lemons have been prized by chefs for some time, as consumer familiarity with the variety increases we are also seeing increased Meyer lemon use in the foodservice sector,” commented Joan Wickham, Sunkist Advertising & Public Relations Manager.
According to Technomic menu data, Meyer lemons grew 8 percent on appetizer and dessert menus in the past year and the variety grew 6 percent on fine dining menus.
“The Meyer lemon growth we continue to see in foodservice is encouraging, and we think there is more opportunity, particularly with beverages,” added Wickham.
“The National Restaurant Association (NRA) cited gourmet lemonades as the top non-alcoholic beverage trend for this year, marking a promising opportunity for restaurants to capitalize on with Meyer lemons.”
Sunkist offers Meyer lemons year-round, with peak supplies during the winter months. Thought to be a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin, Meyer lemons are a bit sweeter and less acidic than conventional lemons and have a refreshing herbal scent.
A Meyer lemon’s rind can vary from bright yellow to a rich yellow-orange and has a soft, smooth feel.
To learn more about Sunkist® Meyer lemons, visit Sunkist’s new website or contact the Sunkist sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org.