American Pistachio Growers makes its debut

07/25/2011 12:45:00 PM
Fred Wilkinson

VISALIA, Calif. – The Western Pistachio Association is no more.

Effective immediately, the association shall be known as American Pistachio Growers.

Executive Director Richard Matoian revealed the change and the organization’s new logo at the Fresno-based group’s annual meeting July 21 in Visalia, Calif. Stickers featuring the logo and the grower’s state – California, Arizona or New Mexico – will soon be seen on cartons of the nuts, he said.

An aggressive domestic and international marketing campaign also is on the horizon, Matoian said. In addition to pistachio grower-shippers, the campaign will feature Nicolle Freeman, the current Miss California, and members of the U.S. men’s and women’s water polo teams. 

“This organization has come out of its shell, and we’re going global,” said Judy Hirigoyen, director of domestic and international marketing.

The international campaign, to be launched in the fall, will focus on China, Japan, India, and the European countries of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, she said.

The association recently tested elements of the campaign in Europe and those elements were warmly received, Hirigoyen said.

“The word, American, means something in other countries,” she said. “It implies quality.”

Among the elements of the campaign will be media appearances, public relations, meetings with nutrition writers and editors, trade shows and sample packages of pistachios.

A new American Pistachio Growers website is under construction as are plans for social media efforts.

“All of those elements will go on line in late October,” Hirigoyen said.

Western Pistachio Association, founded in 1989, concentrated on lobbying efforts until 2007 when grower-shippers voted to dissolve the California Pistachio Commission. The following year, Matoian was lured from the California Fig Advisory Board.

Grower-shippers voted in 2009 to increase assessments to fund domestic and international marketing.

“The growers decided to take control of their destiny,” Matoian said.



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