Growing Chilean produce market offers retail opportunities - The Packer

Growing Chilean produce market offers retail opportunities

11/11/2011 12:07:00 PM
Jim Offner

Opportunity abounds at retail during the Chilean produce season, marketers say. All one has to do is look at some numbers, they say.

“They’ve gone from zero to over 2 million oranges in just a couple of years, so I’d say they’re successful,” said Peter Kopke, president of Lake Success, N.Y.-based William H. Kopke Jr. Inc.

“We used to be alone with the South Africans, along with Australia. Now there’s Chile, and the addition of Chile has not meant a decline of the market.”

Marketing programs will aid retailers looking to promote Chilean items, said Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for North America with the Sonoma, Calif.-based Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.

“There’s an index of consumption for the various markets around the country,” he said, pointing out that comparing sales to a particular population will reveal weak areas that can be strengthened.

“We developed for different product categories a series of best practices, and we have a bunch of merchandisers who carry that information into those retailers and say, ‘You leave a lot of dollars on the table — here’s what’s happening and why and what you can do about it,’” Tjerandsen said.

A year-round berry patch concept, such as that used by Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., also is key strategy, Tjerandsen said.

Marketers sometimes take advantage of their peak season by focusing promotions on big seasonal events, such as avocado promotions and football.

“Our central theme of football is very popular,” said Maggie Bezart, marketing director with the Aptos, Calif.-based Chilean Avocado Importers Association. “We’re currently at budget with all of our retail promotions and are looking to actually add more.”

The association has billboard and radio advertisements and a retail display contest that has new features this year, Bezart said.

“Our display contest has a new element that the retailers are really supporting, and that’s a new ‘scratcher’ program,” she said.

Every produce manager that enters the display contest with a photo gets an opportunity to win cash prizes, she said.

“The produce manager will go online with their number and virtually scratch off this promotional tool, and what they will win is between $25 and $500. They also enter into own display contest, where they can win up to $1,000,” she said.

The contest, which runs through February, has $120,000 in prizes.

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