Asparagus marketing programs expand reach

04/07/2011 11:41:40 AM
Susie Cable

The commission hired Palmer Advertising to redesign its website, said Cherie Watte Angulo, executive director. She said the new site has the same address as the previous site, www.calasparagus.com, and it is expected to launch in April.

The site will still contain sections for consumers, retailers, industry, foodservice and growers, but it should be more informative and easier to navigate, Angulo said.

The commission invested a significant portion of its public relations budget — about $20,000 — toward the new site because of its potential for reaching a widespread audience with promotional messages, Angulo said.

To save money, the commission has scaled back on its production of point-of-sales materials, but pamphlets and other materials will be available on the website.

“We can still do things that retailers need,” Angulo said.

“If a retailer has a need, call me and we’ll see if we can accommodate that need.”

A primary part of the marketing strategy for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Southern Specialties Inc. is informing its customers about the array of asparagus options it offers, said Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development. It markets green and white asparagus, green asparagus in various sizes, and a variety of value-added packages, including bagged asparagus, pre-trimmed asparagus tips and microwaveable packs.

“We try to give our customers and the consumer, ultimately, a broad variety of choices to fit their needs,” Eagle said.

In March, the majority of Southern Specialties’ asparagus was imported from Peru, with some coming from Mexico.

Most shippers said they offer promotional incentives to their retailer customers. Carb Americas Inc., Pompano Beach, works with retailers on seasonal advertisements and does promotions when volumes are high, said Jeff Friedman, president and sales manager.

Carb Americas, which sources from Peru, Mexico and California, also can work with retailers on point-of-purchase fliers, endcap promotional programs and in-cart ads.

Crystal Valley Foods, Miami, runs promotional ad campaigns with retailers, said Rick Durkin, director of business development. The company promotes traditional 1-pound bunches of Peruvian asparagus during five or six major ad periods per year.

Todd Miedema, director of marketing for Miedema Produce Inc., Hudsonville, Mich., said most of his customers look for Michigan asparagus during the season, which runs from late April into June. To increase demand for it, Michigan first needs to increase its production, he said.



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