Eden Prairie, Minn.-based based C.H. Robinson has a full plate of melon marketing plans this year, including reintroducing a cantaloupe variety, running a national campaign for breast cancer awareness, and pushing its proprietary labels.
In the watermelon category, C.H. Robinson markets its mini melons, Bambinos, and several full-sized seedless watermelons, including Fresh 1.
The company has noticed two consumer segments evolving since it introduced the Bambino mini melon, and is still seeing growth in that category, along with growth of its seedless watermelon.
To give watermelon a little push for a good cause, the company is bringing back its Pink Label Watermelon program, a breast cancer awareness program.
“It’s about education, specifically on health attributes of watermelon specifically to the female population,” said Bud Floyd, vice president of produce marketing.
The company provides high-graphic bins and brochures, along with online support, for its retailers. The brochures cover self-inspection, breast cancer facts, health benefits of watermelon and some recipe ideas.
Online, at www.pinkribbonwatermelon.com, the company has spent the last couple of years developing an interactive site where women can share stories.
Chris Ralston, a breast cancer survivor and wife of a C.H. Robinson employee, shares her story on the site and leads a blog, which allows people to post responses and communicate with each other about topics of interest.
C.H. Robinson donates $2 of every Pink Ribbon Watermelon bin sold to a retailer to the breast cancer organization of its choice.
This will be the third year the company runs the program, but actually the second full year, Floyd said. Last year, the program was small because of a difficult supply situation, he said.
To bring the campaign to its local level, the company participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Minneapolis last year, giving away 20,000 slices of watermelon, and plans to participate in this year’s April 24 race.
On the cantaloupe front, the company’s reintroduction is the Pecos Sweet cantaloupe coming out of the Pecos River Valley, Texas. The western cantaloupe hasn’t been around since 2006, and has never been offered from C.H. Robinson.
The melon tends to be sweeter because of the area it is grown in and the unique soil there, said Josh Knox, melon category manager.
“If you talk to anyone in Texas and mention this melon, their eyes light up,” Knox said.
The company is also bringing back growers who used to grow the variety in the area. Harvesting should start by July 10.