The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association has unveiled a new educational video and television commercials to support the Chilean produce industry.

The Chilean fruit industry funded production of a video featuring Dick Spezzano, president of Spezzano Consulting Services, Monrovia, Calif., explaining good handling practices and merchandising ideas. The video debuted at Produce Merchandising Association’s Fresh Summit convention, and copies will be made available to industry members, said Tom Tjerandsen, managing director for North America for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, Sonoma, Calif.

The association continues to use last year’s Chile Cornucopia theme for its television commercials, Tjerandsen said. A new spot using the theme is planned for this season. The cornucopia theme was successful, and it received good support from retailers in exchange for promotional tags at the end of the spots, he said.

The association works with individual retailers to determine what kinds of things they can do to help promote Chilean fruit in exchange for the tags. Some retailers have created special displays, such as a “Chilean fruit spectacular” with a big section showcasing fruits from Chile. Others have advertised Chilean fruit in their fliers or on their in-store radio commercials.

Chile Cornucopia commercials are expected to air in 40 U.S. markets, representing about 80% of the population, and 3 Canadian markets.

Another way the association assists retailers is by surveying them to learn how to improve fruit sales. For example, Tjerandsen said retailers report that shoppers seem to know how to use blueberries in the summer, but in the winter, they’re concerned about what to do with them. To address that barrier to sales, the association printed a new recipe booklet in October. The booklet is free to retailers and can be ordered from the association or the Chilean Blueberry Committee, Tjerandsen said.

Another barrier for retailers is that some don’t have a category manager who knows how to import blueberries. Others just hadn’t thought about having a year-round berry patch display. The association can help retailers with those issues, and it offers a brochure of best practices for blueberries based on analyses of front-end scanner data from throughout the country.

Chilean blueberry growers’ voluntary assessment to fund promotional activities in the U.S. has been so successful that more growers have signed on.

Tjerandsen said the assessment raised $250,000 in one season to augment promotions funds raised through check-offs for all blueberries imported to the U.S. This season the assessment is expected to raise $350,000 because a bigger percentage of Chilean blueberry growers have agreed to participate.