WENATCHEE, Wash. — Northwest pear promotions are a combined effort of the Pear Bureau Northwest and individual shippers.
“I think the Pear Bureau is doing a great job for us, making sure that retailers are on board and motivated to help increase consumption,” said Loren Queen, marketing and communications manager for Domex Superfresh Growers.
“They are real leaders in communicating with Twitter and social media.”
Most shippers market both apples and pears, said Randy Steensma, president and export marketing director for Nuchief Sales Inc., Wenatchee.
The challenge to the industry, he said, is to make sure enough effort goes to the pear program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national fruit and vegetable retail report shows that the peak week for anjou pear promotions in the 2010-11 marketing year was the week of Dec. 10, when 6,124 stores were promoting anjou pears at an average price of $1.28 per pound.
Promotions of anjous reached a low point on June 3, when the USDA reported that only 224 stores were promoting anjous.
From Nov. 5 to July 15, the average number of stores promoting anjou pears weekly in the U.S. was 2,696. The weighted average promotion price for anjous in the Nov. 5 to July 15 period was $1.29 per pound, USDA statistics show.
Steensma said securing spots on retail ad planners is the key to success.
“You get a fair retail on it and you get it in the paper, and you really move a lot of fruit,” he said. “It’s a win-win if you can get the volume plus a return for the retailer.”
Apples are perhaps the primary competition for ad space, but grapes are also a factor, Steensma said.
The Milwaukie, Ore.-based Pear Bureau Northwest still does merchandising promotions with five regional representatives covering the U.S. and Canadian markets, said Kevin Moffitt, president of the group.
With the rising sophistication of grower-shippers’ promotion and merchandising efforts with retailers, Moffitt said the Pear Bureau is placing more emphasis on consumer communications and promotions.
The strength of the Pear Bureau retail program is an internal data system that tracks pear display space, movement, varieties merchandised and other factors.
“It provides retailers with their performance versus local and national competition, Moffitt said.
“We can show them their data versus similar sized stores,” he said.
The pear bureau also provides retailers with consumer research about pear consumers and what are their purchase motivators. Successful pear retailers typical feature more varieties and promote pears more often than a non-performing retail stores.
Moffitt said consumers appear to want more information from retailers on variety characteristics for pears.
He noted the pear bureau is launching a domestic consumer magazine advertising campaign for the first time in 10 years.
The advertisements will promote usage suggestions for Northwest pears and remind consumers to “check the neck” for ripeness. More and more marketers are supplying retailers with preconditioned pears.
Preconditioned pears are triggered to ripen so that they are ready for consumers to eat when retailers put them on the shelves.