Chile gives North American consumers a “taste of summer” when they need it the most.
Karen Brux, managing director of the San Carlos, Calif.-based Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said the longtime promotional tagline “A Taste of Summer. Fresh from Chile” continues to be popular with both retailers and their shoppers.
“There’s still a lack of knowledge about what’s available from Chile and when, so there are significant opportunities for us to communicate this,” Brux said.
There are several retail chains who love to hold Chilean fruit display contests, with their stores building massive displays of numerous grape varieties, stone fruit varieties and blueberries, she said.
“The challenge is to pick the right time when most Chilean fruits are available in promotable volumes,” Brux said.
Key promotion time frames for Chilean fruit:
- Cherries: December and January;
- Blueberries: End of December through mid-March;
- Stone fruit: February and March; and
- Grapes: January through April.
Brux said the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association usually focuses on mid-February through mid-March when working with retailers on broader Chilean fruit promotions that encompass multiple commodities.
“Most retailers prefer to promote a specific category (i.e. grapes, stone fruit) so we work with them to build effective in-store and online promotions,” she said.
With grapes, it’s also important to display and promote multiple varieties, she said.
“We’ve seen a lift to the entire category when retailers display multiple varieties together, with the most original/unique variety serving as the centerpiece.”
Brux said the association encourages retailers to advertise in their fliers, but its marketing support and funding are focused on in-store and online promotions.
“Our merchandisers work hand-in-hand with retailers to design the most effective marketing program for their shoppers,” she said, noting those activities could include in-store demos, kids cooking classes, digital coupons, cross-promotions with complementary foods, or other creative programs that put the spotlight on Chilean fruit.
“The one area that has definitely expanded in the past few years is digital coupons.” Brux said.
“More and more retailers are pushing this, and we have seen great success with double-digit redemption on coupons for grapes and blueberries.”
Brux said she is excited about what retail promotions have been able to achieve with Chilean stone fruit.
“It would be challenging to find a retailer who doesn’t stock grapes or blueberries during the winter, but there are still retailers who are hesitant to sell stone fruit in the winter,” she said.
Through the work of the association’s three merchandisers (two in the U.S. and one in Canada), the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association has been able to get more retailers promoting stone fruit.
The promotions — primarily demos so consumers can have confidence in the taste — are generating double- to triple-digit sales and volume increases across the board at national and regional retail chains.
The most important thing is for consumers to know what they’re buying, she said. The association encourages retailers to inform their shoppers through point-of-sale signs, giving consumers direction on ripeness and taste.
“There are great opportunities for retailers to promote some of the more unique varieties that are available, and we can offer support, whether through marketing materials or demos,” she said.
Brux said it is crucial that retail staff can speak to what’s available from Chile and its seasonality.
“We have availability charts available for stores to hang in their back rooms,” she said. “Retailers are also interested in understanding where the different fruits grow, so we’ve developed a growing region map.”
The association hopes to provide short “direct from the orchard videos for our key fruits so we can bring the industry to life for retailers and showcase some key industry facts,” she said.
“We’ll be starting with one key category in 2019 and will hopefully continue to expand on this,” she said.
Brux said the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association invests the majority of our marketing funds at the retail level, working with hundreds of chains across the U.S. and Canada on custom programs to drive Chilean fruit sales in their stores.
For consumer marketing, the association focuses on social media, she said.
Fruits from Chile has five social media platforms, with more than 250,000 Facebook fans and 14,000 Instagram followers.
“We produce numerous recipe images and Tasty-style usage videos that we share on both our social media platforms and those of retailers,” she said.
“Our merchandisers work with dietitians, social media and marketing contacts at the retail level, and this has resulted in numerous chains, both national and regional, utilizing our resources to communicate with their shoppers.”
The group also has launched a consumer newsletter that will be expanded during the winter season.
A new ad that shows how welcome summer fruit from Chile can be in the heart of cold winter weather will be running on the Hulu platform from mid-February to mid-March, she said.