(Oct. 23) A newly formed marketing arm of the Leafy Greens Council, St. Paul, Minn., has wasted no time in coming up with promotions for 2003.

Members of the promotion roundtable, as the group is called, had communicated by e-mail, phone and fax for months, but Fresh Summit 2002 marked the first time the group met face-to-face, said Ray Clark, the council’s executive director.

Two main ideas emerged from the meeting, said Clark: the introduction of half bins for cabbage displays in supermarkets, and the expansion and refinement of a product identification tag program.

The half bins are the same width and length as regular bins, but half as high. Because of their smaller size, they are easier to stack to create displays of different sizes, Clark said. They also are easier to replenish. At their New Orleans meeting, council members discussed decorating the bins with graphics from the council’s “Cruciferous Crusaders” promotional campaign. The Crusaders are cartoon figures representing leafy greens and named after dinosaurs, e.g. Collardile and Kale-o-don.

The product identification tags, a first for the greens industry, have been test-marketed successfully in several eastern states, and now will be tried on a wider scale, Clark said. The tags also feature Cruciferous Crusaders. They were inspired by Crusaders posters and baseball cards distributed by the council to third- and fourth-grade classrooms to teach the health benefits of eating greens.

Clark said the creation of the promotional roundtable is just one way the Leafy Greens Council is reaching out to retailers and consumers. Twenty-four council member companies exhibited at this year’s Fresh Summit, double the total of five years ago.

“Traditionally our growers and shippers did just that – grew and shipped. They really hadn’t gotten into reaching out to customers in broader ways,” Clark said. “We’re getting out of that old pattern now. It’s a very positive trend for us.”