Homero Levy de Barros, president of Pompano Beach, Fla.-based HLB Specialties, believes retailers should go big or go home when it comes to the exotic fruit. Displaying a half dozen unripe papayas in a basket will never lead to increased sales, says the Brazilian-born importer, who’s worked with the exotic fruit for more than 20 years.
He favors promoting papayas as fruit of the week and greeting customers with a big display of ripe papayas. “The public doesn’t know what to do with it,” says Levy de Barros. “Reduce the price to entice people to try the fruit, offer them a sample and go heavy on education. If you give them a good eating experience, they’ll come back for more, and you won’t have to worry about shrink.”