Berry companies seeks connections with consumers

05/13/2013 03:49:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

Berry suppliers use a variety of tools to communicate with consumers, but in-store methods are among the top choices.

These communication methods are important because consumers are looking for more information than ever before.

“Communicating with consumers through retail circulars, websites and social media is very successful,” said Kyla Garnett, marketing manager for Naturipe Farms LLC, Estero, Fla.

“These tools can be cross-linked to one another and offer consumers valuable information about our berries,” she said. “Some want to know about where and how the berries were grown. Others want information on how to use them.

“Consumers want recipes and usage ideas. Now that strawberries are so easily accessible, the more usage ideas you can supply the better,” Garnett said in an e-mail.

It’s also important to communicate special ad prices and promotions.

Companies want to take advantage of consumer interest and fill the information void.

“A multi-tiered approach works best for communicating with consumers,” said Bruce Turner, director of sales and business development for berries at Curry & Co., Brooks, Ore.

He suggests consumers should see blueberries on ad or promotion at their favorite grocery store, prominently displayed every day at retail, while also hopefully finding berries in various food publications such as magazines and on cooking shows.

Even the packaging is a strong communication tool.

“Packaging is an excellent promotional vehicle. We can use it to tell grower stories, share usage ideas and convey the ‘fresh-picked’ nature of domestic berries throughout the summer,” Nolan Quinn, berry category director for The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, said in an e-mail.

Others agree.

“The strongest promotional tools for selling berries are fresh product and good packaging. If there are ‘mouthwatering’ berries that look fresh and customers can see them, the berries will sell,” Julia Inestroza, marketing director for Gourmet Trading Co., Los Angeles, said in an e-mail.

Many berry customers are repeat buyers, and reaching the shoppers who didn’t plan on buying berries is often the challenge, Inestroza said.

“To get new customers, packaging and labels can be changed to draw in that demographic,” she said.

Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms is also using packaging to communicate with consumers, this time through the use of quick-response codes.


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