Grower-shippers, as well as a major table grape trade organization, are turning to promotional activities and social media to call attention to desert produce this season.
The marketing staff of the Fresno-based California Table Grape Commission this spring was making personal calls on retailers to encourage them to start stocking grapes from California as soon as they’re available, said Karen Brux, vice president of marketing communications.
“Presentations include the latest consumer and category research, business reviews and presentation of 2012 season promotion programs,” she said.
Those programs include seasonlong promotions and incentives to increase promotions over last year, including activities involving Food Network media and radio.
“We’ll also be launching our consumer education programs during the first week of June,” Brux said.
This will include a health editor event and blogger media tour in New York City, as well as sponsorship of Food Fete, where the commission will interact with more than 100 food journalists.
“We will be engaging in numerous media outreach programs throughout our season, including both English and Spanish media,” she added.
The commission also is planning TV, print and online advertising through the Food Network throughout the season.
In Brawley, Calif., Five Crowns Marketing responded to requests and launched a Facebook page to help the company stay in touch with its customers, said Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing.
The page has photos of the current crop and other information designed to keep buyers informed, he said.
Five Crowns also is in the process of building a website that should launch in October, he said.
The company is a partner in Prima Bella Produce Inc., Tracy, Calif., which is revamping its website, primabellaproduce.com.
This will be the second season Richard Bagdasarian Inc., Mecca, Calif., grows, packs and sells Sunkist-branded table grapes, said president Nick Bozick.
“It worked very well (last year), and we expect to have even more traction this year,” he said.
Sunkist is one of the top 10 produce brands in the world, he said, so he expects consumers to take advantage of the new quick-response codes on bags of Sunkist brand grapes that will take them to a Sunkist grape mobile website.
The company also will have QR codes on its own product that will take consumers who scan the codes with their smart phones to the grape commission’s mobile website.
Bozick expects many smart phone users to take advantage of the QR codes to pick up recipes or varietal information.
Bagdasarian also was in the process of redesigning its website, mrgrape.com, which will include a bridge to its newly launched Facebook page and Twitter account, said Franz De Klotz, vice president of marketing.
Prime Time International in Coachella, Calif., is making its first foray into QR codes this season by putting the codes on its watermelons, said Mike Aiton, director of marketing.
Scanning the codes will take consumers to a site that will provide a wealth of information about watermelons.
A number under the QR code will enable consumers to learn where the melons were grown and harvested. The traceback feature was driven by several large retail customers who wanted a better handle on melon traceability, Aiton said.
The company also has a Facebook page and continues to experience good activity on its website, he said.
Peter Rabbit Farms in Coachella also has a Facebook page and publishes a blog about spring crops and a daily price bulletin that tells what is coming when it is coming on its website, said John Burton, general manager of sales and cooler.