Consumers looking for holiday entertaining ideas and retailers looking to promote that sort of thing should take note of Stemilt’s What a Pear program, which cross-promotes pears with cheese and wine.

Through a chart and vivid point-of sale-posters, each showing one of 12 pear varieties snuggling up to a specific cheese, the Wenatchee, Wash.-based grower-shipper hopes to encourage consumers to buy more pears.
“We’ve made it easy and simple,” said marketing director Roger Pepperl. “A retailer can do one or month or all together and have every sign out there. I think it encourages people to try things.”

The chart pairs a rich, aromatic bosc with Spanish manchego and a glass of sweet late-harvest Riesling, while a concorde pairs with aged white cheddar and a glass of robust Cabernet Sauvignon.

At the July PMA foodservice conference in Monterey, Pepperl heard chefs discuss how produce-laden side dishes are becoming a larger part of the decision-making process in restaurants and affecting how much chefs sell of an item.

“It’s not just throwing four brussels sprouts on the corner of every plate,” he said. “Chefs are looking to commingle foods just as the fashion industry encourages consumers to wear clothing in different layers.”

“We need to do the same thing for pears,” he said. “Even basic stores have quite a selection of cheese today, so this is a neat way to pair the two. And it’s not intimidating.”