resh produce today is much more than
fruits and vegetables. It’s synonymous with
a healthy lifestyle and total well-being, and
as such, the produce department is the heart
and soul of a feel-good shopping experience.
Savvy suppliers are cultivating healthy produce brands
that promote this sought-after lifestyle, while strategic
grocers are driving traffic and sales through product variety, merchandising, experiential engagement and community building.
The recent United FreshMKT Expo and Convention
in Chicago showcased a bevy of innovative and convenient produce-centric snacks, meals and more. Boasting
on-trend flavors, little to no preparation and plenty of
nutritional benefits, branded produce is transforming the
way America eats and lives.
When it comes to marketing to kids and their families,
produce brands that feature characters from Sesame
Street, Star Wars, Disney and more are attracting the
attention of younger shoppers like never before.
“We see kids grab a piece of produce with their favorite
character on it and hug it as they walk through the store,”
said Devon Hoffer, produce manager of Marketplace
Foods in Minot, N.D., during the panel discussion “Retail
Observations From Visionary Produce Managers” at the
United FreshMKT Expo. “Their superheroes are eating
produce, so why shouldn’t they? It’s a very effective tool.”
But cinematic stars aren’t the only way to sell more produce to kids and their parents. Stemilt has found success
with its Lil Snappers brand of kid-friendly apples, pears
and citrus. “Sales of Lil Snappers are growing every year,
and we hit another sales record this year,” says Roger Pepperl, marketing director for the Wenatchee, Wash.-based
While the Lil Snappers clear tote bag packaging
instantly tells the healthy grab-and-go story, it also has
the appearance of an enticing snack. “The bag is shiny
like a bag of chips,” Pepperl says. “And it still has punch
when you get it home.”
With the support of a well-funded TV and marketing
campaign, The Wonderful Co. in Los Angeles added more
than 3 million new customers for its kid-focused Wonder-
ful Halos mandarins this year, according to Diana Salsa,
director of marketing for Halos. This year, the brand is up
8% in dollar sales.
Further contributing to sales growth are the brand’s
highly effective “Grove of Goodness” display units.
Last season, “stores with [point-of-sale materials] vs.
those without saw about two times the velocity growth,”
Salsa says. “Two out of three people who saw the display
bought.” The Wonderful Co. will expand its Grove of
Goodness POS this September.
Halos also extended its target market from primarily
kids and their families to include mature adults, with two
new TV commercials appealing to this demographic,
which also appreciates the easy-to-peel fruit.
“The Wonderful Co.’s connection to consumers has
health at its heart,” says Adam Cooper, vice president
of marketing. “Through this connection, The Wonder-
Strike Up the Brand
Fresh produce companies build their names as consumers
seek healthy products and clean eating. By Jennifer Strailey
Amount of millennials
who prefer an
experience to buying
a material thing
Source: CNBC/Harris Group