(UPDATED COVERAGE 3:57 p.m.) Columbia Marketing International is targeting convenience stores with a new 6-ounce grab-and-go cherry package, “Go-Go Fresh.”
Wenatchee, Wash.-based CMI is testing Go-Go Fresh cherries through the month of July in markets that include Los Angeles, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and La Crosse, Wis.
In the trial, the product will be offered at two prices: $1.99 for one bag, or two bags for $3.
“Assuming it’s successful this year, we’d roll it out nationwide at the beginning of next season,” said CMI marketing specialist Katharine Grove.
“Every cherry grower has a lot of fruit to move post-July 4,” she said. “There will be a large emphasis on July but we’ll start it at the beginning of cherries for customers who want that.”
The company would be willing to consider import cherries as a possible way to extend supply, she said.
“It all depends on the mass of people who want to do it,” Grove said. “It’s a labor-intensive pack to do, so we’re doing some testing with some automation on our cherry crop. That’s what makes it possible to do a small pack like this.”
The focus is on red cherries.
“We’ve had inquiries for rainiers,” she said. “We’re certainly open to the possibility of expanding that. Rainiers have a shorter window.”
CMI did not specify what convenience stores are participating.
Before designing the cherry snack pouch, CMI marketers drew feedback from a focus panel of consumers and retailers. That input was used in the development of packaging, art, colors and retail price points.
The company’s surveys found that phrases like “GMO free,” “low calories” and “fat free” were the most likely to spur impulse purchases.
“We chose the words to put on the package that they said were important to them,” Grove said. “We took their words to heart as far as design and price point.”
The company’s push into convenience stores follows the United Fresh Produce Association’s recent announcement of a partnership with the National Association of Convenience Stores. The partnership is designed to help store owners develop their own fresh produce supply chains and in-store management.