Consumers Want Conditioned Pears

What can conditioned pears do for retailers?Ready to eat - 725x873 image

We live in a ripe-and-ready, “want-it-now” society. Which means many produce shoppers only buy fruit they can eat immediately, or very soon after purchase.  For example, 50% of pear buyers want to eat their pear within 1-2 days of purchase. Displaying conditioned pears helps meet that consumer desire.

Consumers are shopping at multiple retail outlets these days so a retailer that is known for their consistently ripe fruit can capture more of the consumer’s dollar and set them apart from their competition.

What are conditioned pears?

The pear industry uses the term conditioned to describe pears that have been brought to the “just starting to ripen” state.

The conditioning process is a completely natural one. Pears are placed in a ripening room and warmed to room temperature and treated with ethylene (which naturally occurs in fruit as it ripens) and then cooled back down. Conditioned pears that are cooled to 32F to 34F will stay firm throughout the storage and shipping process and won’t dramatically ripen further until placed back at room temperature, such as a retail display.

Conditioned pears can provide more consistent texture and flavor throughout the box or load. Conditioning can also enhance the sweet and juicy flavor pears are known for, providing a pleasing eating experience and bringing shoppers back for more.

Why should retailers condition pears?

It’s easier to condition pears than retailers think and the rewards for them are big. Recent research showed that ripe pears can outsell unripe pears by 19.5%.  In addition to the profit potential, a conditioned pear program also gives consumers what they want: sweet and juicy pears without having to wait. They will come back sooner for their next purchase because they are spending less time waiting for pears to ripen.

How can interested retailers get conditioned pears?

Conditioned pears can be purchased from many shippers in the Northwest or a retailer can do the conditioning in their banana ripening rooms. The Pear Bureau has resources to help in either case. For example our ripening consultant can work with the receivers at the DC, educating them on how conditioned pears may arrive differently. Additionally, our consultant can train the retailer’s ripener on how to use the banana rooms for conditioning pears. It is not much different than ripening bananas or avocadoes.

We have a complete training manual to walk retailers through the process as well as best practices for merchandising conditioned pears to the shopper.

Once a retailer begins the program, the Pear Bureau can support them with sampling activities to introduce consumers to the sweet, juicy pears.

How do retailers start conditioning pears?

Getting in touch with PBNW is a good start. We are a resource for all retail pear questions. We provide customized seminars for retailers, teach employees the key steps, provide materials, and serve as a sounding board for ideas.

Pears are fragile when ripe…will they have higher shrink?

Research shows that conditioned pears outsell non-conditioned pears.  With signage and ripe stickers on the fruit, as well as proper rotation, keeping the conditioned or ripe pears to the top and front, shrink will not be a problem for most retailers. The benefits of a conditioned pear program really outweigh any downsides.

For complete handling materials, download our Pear Handling Manual here.

USA Pears Pear Handling Manual
handling manual