With new diet and healthy eating resolutions well underway, it’s anticipated that dates will see a pick up in sales with the start of the New Year.
“Dates had strong holiday movement and that movement continues into diet season,” says Ben Antongiovanni (pictured right) of Pure Palm Produce based in Bakersfield, Ca. “They’re a healthy, energy-sustaining snack integral to many of today’s top diet plans. With the New Year’s resolutions to eat right, date sales should continue to surprise from now through to Easter/Passover.”
Also helping further boost sales are newer snacks in the date category, including products such as Pure Palm’s Date Coconut Bites. “They are dates pressed into small moist bites rolled in long coconut shavings and are a healthy alternative to protein bars,” says Antongiovanni. “They are a nice incremental sale for the date category.”
Bigger California crop
Strong demand for products like this and dates in general will help meet a heavier California crop for Pure Palm, a company that grows its dates in California’s Coachella Valley. “We had an exceptional Medjool Date harvest this past fall. The quality was very nice with large sizing and wonderful appearance,” says Antongiovanni. “Our crop was up about 22 percent this year. That is a nice manageable increase ensuring our customers’ needs are met year round and gives us room to grow our customer base.”
With California’s date season well underway, competition for dates continues to come from Israel, though Antongiovanni notes that many retailers, wholesalers and consumers prefer California’s Medjool dates because of the quality, sustainability, taste and assurances over food safety.
Altogether, these trends make for strong and steady pricing on dates. “The biggest issue on price is increased wages which means we need to become more efficient and find savings in growing and production,” says Antongiovanni.