The biggest single factor that seems to point to increased asparagus consumption is household income. While there are some geographic variances as well as difference between the genders and marital status of consumers, how much money a household makes appears to have the most influence.
According to information compiled by the Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association, about 39 percent of all consumers purchase and consume asparagus at least once a year. If you are a male, you are a little less likely, and if you are a female, you are little more likely. Your age doesn’t appear to play much of a factor as each of the four age groups delineated from 21 to over 59 see a consistent 38-40 percent of their group consuming the vegetable, which is statistically insignificant.
Marital status plays a little bit of a role, as only 32 percent of married people purchase asparagus while 37 percent of those divorced or separated buy the product and 42 percent of those single make the purchase. A further look at those figures might reveal other relevant data such as income, as that is clearly the big decider.
In 2011, only 21 percent of those with a household income of less than $25,000 purchased asparagus that year. That number continued to rise as income increased. Those in the $25,000 to $50,000 category saw 32 percent of their members purchase the commodity, while 46 percent of those households making $50,000 to $100,000 bought the vegetable. If you lived in a households with an income level above $100,000, about 58 percent of you bought asparagus last year, which is almost three times the rate of the lowest income group.
Based on these demographic factors as well as category-management principles, PAIA has developed a list of merchandising strategies as well as display and promotion ideas for the industry.
• Strategically displaying the category during peak and non-peak holidays — well positioned will ensure consumers see it and increase sales.
• Types of displays: many suggest standalone displays, pyramid and table displays and doubling displays when on ad.
• Showcase unique colors using green, white and purple asparagus. Displaying white asparagus next to green and/or purple offers consumers more choices and presents a contrasting, attractive and vibrant displays. Multiple SKUs, including various sizes and colors, will increase consumer purchase penetration and frequency of purchase.
• Highlighting nutritional benefits of fresh asparagus will attract a wide variety of customers.
• Recipes cards and usage information along with handling/storage educational tools for the consumers will increase sales.
• Refrigerate and hydrate to maintain quality and longevity of shelf-life.
Promotion and advertising ideas
• Point-of-sale material is especially valuable for educating consumers on recipes, usage and nutritional benefits of asparagus.
• Cross merchandising can positively affect higher performance and yield of asparagus.
• Cross promote with salads, oils, dressing, deli products (i.e. ham and cheese) and wines or in the meat or seafood departments to provide a complete meal solution for customers.
• Provide serving ideas, such as great for baking, impressive for entertaining, easy to barbecue and microwavable.
• Merchandise with other produce commodities, such as lemons, grapes or strawberries, to create an exciting, contrasting and vibrant display.
• Use incentive programs such as coupon development programs for fresh asparagus for consumers.
• Conduct in-store demo programs, which have a proven record of increasing consumer awareness.