(May 13) Sweet corn is available year-round, but experiences higher sales in the summer when consumers are eager to prepare grilled food.

Mark View, assistant produce manager at Wal-Mart Supercenter, St. Joseph, Mo., one of the more than 1,000 Supercenters nationwide and part of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark., merchandises five varieties of corn and sells them in bulk or packaged. Some of the white and yellow corn varieties are separated by color and offered in packages.

View says the top-sellingsweet corn each year is the Florida and Georgia varieties.

During the season, View offers four ears of sweet corn for $1 and sells 25 to 30 cases a week. While on sale, the corn is offered as eight for $1 and the store sells 60 to 80 cases a week.
Tom Mitchell, produce manager at Key Market, Lake Station, Ind., one of three stores in the Highland, Ind.-based chain, says his store carries three varieties of sweet corn and when they’re in season about 2% of department sales comes from the vegetable.

His store offers both bulk and packaged sweet corn, and the bicolor variety is the top-seller, he says. The packaged corn carries a Universal Product Code label.

Mitchell says that the prices are never consistent for sweet corn because of fluctuations in market prices that reflect the season’s growing and weather conditions. He says sometimes the store has a good deal on sweet corn after the peak season.

SEASONAL PROMOTIONS

Consider promoting sweet corn during Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving for seasonal dishes and displays.

When displaying large amounts of bulk corn, uses trays on ice or consider filling tubs with ice and then topping with corn. Offer bulk and packaged corn to satisfy the needs of all customers.

Instruct consumers not to peel back husks in order to see the kernels when they pick out their corn. Display a few ears with the husks already peeled back. Some people think that partially husked corn is fresher, so provide them with sweet corn that has the top third of the husks removed.

PREPARATION IDEAS

Corn can be boiled, baked, steamed or grilled. Promote the convenience of microwaving corn by displaying signs with preparation tips and directions. Be sure to inform consumers that it only takes two minutes to prepare corn in the microwave. Trim the ears to make sweet corn immediately ready to cook.

Give consumers other preparation ideas like scraping off the kernels and scalloping the corn. Sweet corn also can be used in succotash, custards, puddings, soufflés, stuffed peppers, relishes and chowders.

Advise customers to avoid underdeveloped kernels that have a bad color, as well as old ears with large kernels and ears with dark yellow kernels and depressed areas on the outside. They should look for fresh, green husks that have silk ends free of decay and worm damage.