Consumers are paying attention to Chile and Chilean fruit, many likely for the first time.
I have been searching Twitter for references to “Chile” and “fruit” for the past several days. (For  a live “look-in” to these tweets, go to my blog post.)

The earthquake in Chile is a natural disaster that is historic in scope. The instantaneous transmission of news from Chile, obstructed though it is,  has alerted U.S. consumers that their own fruit basket may be upset.
It has also caused some consumers to wonder about what retailers are thinking and plan on doing to their pocketbook.

Check out a few of these tweets:

I log online & read: "8.8 Chile earthquake may have changed the entire earth's rotation & shortened the length of dayz on planet"...WTF?!

Just noticed that we get fruit from Chile, commercial about it over our intercom.

Will the earthquake in Chile affect fruit imports? Better hit the stores before the price increase.

At the store last night I was reminded that much of our fruit this time of year is imported from Chile and could get quite expensive soon.

Wonder what % of the fruit and veg we eat all winter here in the NE comes from Chile

When price of veg/fruit go up, we will realize how much of it comes from Chile, or that will be their excuse to raise price.

Shoprite just ran a commercial on TV about their fruit is from Chile and is In season!! hmmmm do they know there was a earthquake? Smh!?

Because of the earthquake, in-store and radio commercials about Chilean fruit have caught the ear of consumers. Unfortunately, those consumers are asking, “Why are they advertising Chilean fruit – don’t they know there has been an earthquake in Chile!?”

And of course, other consumers are casting a skeptical eye at retailers and wondering, “Will my store use the earthquake as an excuse to raise prices?”

No one knows precisely what the next few weeks will bring, or how soon life and fruit exports will return to "normal."

Retailers will need to be communicating with consumers about the supply outlook. Perhaps providing interested consumers  online tools and links – such as where to donate for Chile earthquake relief, for example -  would serve supermarkets well in coming weeks.

The silver lining in this dark cloud for Chilean fruit marketers is that many consumers know where Chile is now. I would guess most have a sympathetic and supportive view of the country and its people.
Finally, more shoppers than ever understand where the grapes they buy in March come from - even as they anticipate those grapes may soon be gone..