Sampling is one way many companies like to market kiwifruit.

“We encourage our retail partners to provide samples of our fruit to their customers. We’re proud of how sweet it is,” said Sue Quijano, marketing coordinator with Awe Sum Organics, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Sampling is often paired with other marketing efforts.

“We have had a season full of customized marketing programs supporting our kiwifruit at the trade level. We also know that getting our great tasting kiwifruit into the mouths of consumers is key so we have blitzed the market with sampling programs at the trade and consumer events,” said Michele Hoard, marketing manager of Zespri North America.

Packaging and point-of-sale materials also enhance the results from in-store sampling events.

“We’re really big into sampling, and also good packaging,” said Jason Bushong, division manager, Giumarra Wenatchee, a division of Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos.

The company offers a variety of packaging options, including a new high-graphic handle bag.

“It has recipe info, nutritional benefits and even a QR code on the bag to take them directly to whatever other info they’d like,” Bushong said.

In addition, Giumarra promotes kiwi by addressing one of the biggest consumer concerns, ease of use. Peeling a kiwi is an unwelcome task for many shoppers.

“People can perceive that as an inconvenience, so we promote the cut-and-scoop philosophy instead of trying to peel it,” he said.

The company even offers a promotional “spife” in some clamshells to help teach consumers the technique.

“It’s a combination of a spoon and knife, like a ‘spork,’ but a ‘spife,’” he said. “Kids really like that as well.”

Price promotions are also popular.

“Honestly, the best way to promote kiwifruit is with multiples. For example, two or three for $1,” said Karen Caplan, president and CEO of Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Specialty Produce.

Caplan also suggests displaying them near tropical fruits like pineapples, mangoes, papayas, plantains and bananas to create a destination.

Ensuring the fruit is of good quality is another important aspect of marketing, said Chris Kragie, import and deciduous sales manager, Western Fresh Marketing, Madera, Calif.

He said that U.S. consumption will continue to lag if marketers offer fruit that’s picked and shipped too early.

“When the industry is buying kiwi from any country they should ask if this fruit was picked and packed under proper conditions and not forced to ripen by gas before the fruit has reached high enough sugar content to ensure consumer acceptance,” he said.