Despite a sluggish start to the Chilean grape deal, the Sonoma, Calif.-based Chilean Fresh Fruit Association’s new North American managing director is optimistic about prospects for 2013.

“We believe there are still significant opportunities to increase consumption of the entire Chilean fruit basket and have built an integrated marketing program to both encourage retail promotion and generate stronger consumer demand,” said Karen Brux, who succeeded Tom Tjerandsen in the job on Jan. 1.

Those efforts, Brux said, include tagged TV advertising, in-store radio to reach consumers in the produce department with key product messages, targeted retail merchandising support, participation in numerous trade shows and category research.

“Promotions will continue throughout the season, with a team of merchandisers spanning North America to support retailers in their marketing of Chilean fresh fruit,” she said. “Our marketing programs are supported by
ProChile, the Chilean Government’s promotional bureau.”

ProChile provides merchandising materials, recipes and best practices research for use by Chilean importers.

Before joining the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, Brux worked as vice president of marketing communications for the Fresno-based California Table Grape Commission.

Before joining the grape commission in 2011, Brux worked for more than 25 years for Zespri International,
Tauranga, New Zealand, the exclusive marketer of New Zealand kiwifruit exported to North America. From 2000 to 2011 Brux was the company’s North American marketing representative.