Strawberry grower-shippers use social media - The Packer

Strawberry grower-shippers use social media

02/10/2012 11:49:00 AM
Tom Burfield

Courtesy California Strawberry CommissionThe California Strawberry Commission has begun a blog, “In the Kitchen,” that features recipes from guest bloggers such as nutrition professionals.A number of strawberry grower-shippers and the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission are on the cutting edge when it comes to using social media to promote their fruit.

Quick-response codes are the latest technological innovation to catch their eye.

Scanning the two-dimensional barcodes with a smartphone will take a consumer to a landing page that can contain product information, recipes and even videos about strawberries.

“Much is tied to our QR code,” said Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for California Giant Inc., Watsonville.

The company posts new material on a weekly or monthly basis that enables visitors to win cash or prizes.

Deardorff Family Farms, Oxnard, Calif., will have QR codes on its strawberry clamshells for the first time this season.

The code will take consumers to a dedicated page with strawberry information, videos and other strawberry-related material, said Tom Deardorff, president.

The company developed a separate QR code in conjunction with the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit that drove visitors to a dedicated website focusing on the company’s growing, packing, sales and packing facilities.

The firm used the code in its trade print advertising.

“Our strategy isn’t just to drive (traffic) to the website,” Deardorff said. “We’re setting up different sites that are specific for that QR code.”

Red Blossom Farms, Santa Ynez, Calif., will have QR codes on the tops of its clamshells for the first time this season as another way to have dialogue with customers, said Michelle Deleissegues, director of marketing.

The code will take consumers to the company’s website, where they will have access to recipes, promotions, contests and “all kinds of dynamic interchanges” throughout the season, she said.

Salinas, Calif.-based Colorful Harvest LLC plans to introduce a redesigned label for its berries soon, and when it does, QR codes will play a role.

“We’re going to implement QR codes tying into those labels with (point-of-sale) cards to be able to talk directly to our consumers,” said Doug Ranno, chief operating officer and managing partner.

The California Strawberry Commission will have a QR code available on generic California strawberry point-of-purchase materials for retailers, said Carolyn O’Donnell, communications director.

The code will take consumers to the commission’s website,

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media also will be in the forefront this season.

As of early this year, California Giant had 17,000 followers on Facebook, Jewell said.

If consumers enter a contest on the company’s website, they must go to its Facebook page to see if they won, she said.

Consumers do more than just follow on Facebook, Jewell said.

“They’re talking to each other and having their own dialogue,” she said.

The strawberry commission recently launched a blog on its website called “In the Kitchen,” written by O’Donnell; Jodi Reinman, the commission’s public relations and social media manager; and guests bloggers, such as nutrition professionals.

“The focus is on healthy eating and healthy lifestyles,” O’Donnell said.

Deardorff Family Farms established a presence on Facebook two years ago, Deardorff said.

“It’s nice to have another outlet to express the marketing direction, the ideals and values of the company,” he said.

Colorful Harvest also has an active social media presence, Ranno said.

The company is active on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

“We spend a great amount of time interacting with our consumers,” he said.

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