ST. LOUIS — Schnuck Markets  invited shoppers to participate in “A Kiss of Sunshine” promotion here recently, giving them a taste of three new melons they may not have had the opportunity to try before.
The promo, orchestrated by Frieda's Specialty Produce of Los Alamitos, Calif., as one of its “Produce University” events, focused on three new melons — Honey Kiss, Golden Kiss and Sugar Kiss.
The 8-hour event took place at all Schnucks and Logli locations.
“We love working with Frieda's to do the produce universities, and they're very popular with our customers,” said Mike O'Brien, Schnucks' vice president of produce.
“Customers are really reluctant to buy something that they're unfamiliar with unless they get to taste it first, and this gives them that opportunity, and to learn more about the product.
“In addition to that, it gives our associates an aura of expertise, and a valuable opportunity to engage with the customer.”
Each Produce U. session begins with an in-depth produce manager training seminar, prior to the consumer event, to familiarize the produce teams with the featured items.
In addition, Schnucks works with Frieda's to create customized in-store signage, product fact sheets and take-away consumer brochures.
In each store, O'Brien pointed out, produce managers are given autonomy in the way they conduct the 8-hour sessions, as long as they adhere to food safety rules. Some create elaborate displays and build eye-catching kiosks from which they offer samples.
Earlier this year, Frieda's did a produce university that focused on specialty citrus such as blood oranges, kumquats and Meyer lemons.
“The universities bring more traffic into the department and specialty food shoppers do spend more totally [on a shopping trip],” Frieda's spokeswoman Hazel Kelly said. “These [events] also position the supermarket's produce team as the experts.”
While Frieda's works with other supermarket companies across the country to conduct produce universities, Schnucks is the only supermarket company in its marketplace that hosts the events.
This is the fifth year that Schnucks has collaborated with Frieda's on the events.