The Packer’s National Editor chatted on July 22 with Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie, Ore. Read the entire chat on the Fresh Talk blog.

2 p.m. Tom Karst: What is the pear bureau doing this year in terms of the group’s retail merchandising operations?

Q&A | Kevin Moffitt, Pear Bureau Northwest2:01 p.m. Kevin Moffitt: We still have a retail program with five regional representatives covering the U.S. and Canadian markets. Basically, we are putting more emphasis on the consumer side, as the large shippers are doing more of their own promotions.

We still do have a retail program, but our strength is our data and research. We have an internal data system based on store checks. Beside those five representatives, we have another eight or 10 people who check pricing, space allocation and varieties on display all through the year.

We have a pretty deep category data system that is our own, and we provide retailers with their performance versus their local competition and national competition.

2:03 p.m. Karst: How do you provide that service?

2:04 p.m. Moffitt: We do receive data from most every retailer. We get their volume movement and we have our own information about display locations, display sizes and prices. We compile all of that, along with the volume movement, and we can show it to (retailers) versus similar sized stores, whether they are national or regional retailers. We show them their boxes sold per store per day.  That’s how we can break it down to a level they can see what other retailers are doing. We take the volume divided by the number of stores, and we can get an average of the U.S. or a region. If they are under-performing, we can help them with ideas, show them how if a store moves a half a box more of pears per day how it will benefit the entire chain.

We do analysis like that and provide them with solutions as well as data. And of course, we constantly provide consumer research regarding primary consumer purchase motivators, the kind of things that perhaps a shipper doesn’t have. As a commission, we can do that on behalf of our shippers.

2:05 p.m. Karst: You still have incentives for retail promotion?

2:05 p.m. Moffitt: Yes, and if we provide incentives for them — such as going to PMA — we set up goals for them not only in volume, but things such as moving the display space to the front of the department, or taking up a pear conditioning program. So we set up goals. We don’t just say “advertise five times this month and we’ll give you a trip to Seattle.” We try to work with them to improve their sales overall. Our retail program is based on that.

We can also customize point-of-sale materials and information that consumers are looking for so retailers can put that into their store. For example, consumers seem to want to know about variety characteristics of pears, and how one variety is different than another. We are getting more so we can customize that material for the retailers.