Mather said ripening and recipes remain the highest topics of interest for consumers. While most pears are eaten whole or in slices, Mather said the bureau stresses their versatility.
“We can really help them understand that pears can be a part of any course of any meal of the day,” she said.
In conjunction with the bureau’s LazyTown promotion, Facebook ads can direct consumers to go to retail stores in a particular city for a LazyTown promotion featuring Sportacus. Mothers would take pictures of their children interacting with the LazyTown character.
“You see if it is going to work for something like that, and for us, it did,” she said.
Mather said back-to-school communication efforts educate consumers about the first varieties available, including bartletts and starkrimson.
Mather said the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act has upped the opportunities for fruits and vegetables in schools and pears can play a big part of that.
Over the past two years, she said the bureau has developed new recipes for school foodservice that incorporate other produce.
“We have breakfast recipes, we have entrees, we have a grilled cheese sandwich that includes a pear in it, so we’re doing lots of fun things that show how pears can be a part of what they are already doing,” she said.
For 2013-14, the bureau plans to increase communications to school foodservice officials. Currently, the bureau has about 1,000 contacts in school foodservice, developed at the School Nutrition Association convention. The bureau plans to provide officials with quarterly or monthly e-newsletter reminding them of resources and kits available to them, including handling and ripening tips.