Firms market tropicals through variety of tactics - The Packer

Firms market tropicals through variety of tactics

04/25/2014 10:53:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

A vibrant mixed fruit display of cut watermelon, papaya, honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple and a variety of berries catches customer attention while staying cool on ice.Tropical fruit demand is increasing and grower-shippers and marketers are finding ways to increase sales to their customers.

Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals LLC helps retail customers merchandise the fruit through a variety of point-of-sale materials.

It also produces newsletters it sends to customers inside and outside of the produce industry.

Brooks e-mails newsletters to 7,500 people that aren’t directly involved in produce including chefs, nutritionists, educators and cooking school instructors.

The newsletter is also sent to members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

In March, Mary Ostlund, Brooks’ director of marketing, attended the association’s annual conference in Chicago.

The fourth year she’d participated in the meeting, Ostlund said she was impressed with the information the members wanted to know about tropicals.

Brooks doesn’t copyright the information in its newsletters and Ostlund said the communication isn’t designed to build the company but to spark more interest in tropicals.

“We are seeing huge interest in tropicals,” she said. “Food journalists are always looking for content and we are providing them the additional information they can use.”

Frieda’s Inc., in Los Alamitos, Calif., works closely with retailers to merchandise dragon fruit, passion fruit, cherimoya, rambutan, lychee, starfruit, kiwifruit, baby kiwifruit, horn melons and other tropicals and specialties it distributes.

It provides point-of-sale material and other information to inform produce managers about the benefits of tropicals.

Most of the company’s products are labeled, whether the actual fruit or the package it comes in.

A pioneer in social media use, Frieda’s was one of the first to embrace the new media and helps spread the word about tropicals and other specialties via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, said Karen Caplan, Frieda’s president and CEO.

Frieda’s works with consumers and food bloggers through social media and other venues to help stores create demand in their geographic region, she said.

“One of the other things we’re doing to help our retail partners is we’re trying as often as possible to provide year-round supplies,” Caplan said. “If they dedicate space for passion fruit but can’t get it year-round, the produce manager will fill it with something else and forget about it. They likely won’t order it again.”

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