( Logo courtesy Michigan Apple Committee )

The Lansing-based Michigan Apple Committee has created a retail dietitians’ kit to reach out to nutrition-minded consumers and will continue to work with supermarket loyalty programs and bring back some strategic partnerships to spread the word about Michigan apples, said Diane Smith, executive director.

The committee’s dietitian, Shari Steinbach, helped develop a kit for retail dietitians that talks about uses for Michigan apples and suggests ways the nutritious fruit may be incorporated into consumers’ diets.

The kit also includes tips to help retail dietitians generate social media posts, television segments and blog posts.

And there’s background information about the Michigan apple industry, varieties, usage and storage information.

Steinbach also has planned live social media events.

“She’s going to be talking about the healthy side of Michigan apples and why consumers should choose those,” Smith said. “This really gives a professional edge to what we do.”

Everyone knows that apples are healthful, she said, but consumers sometimes don’t understand the specific nutrition benefits.

“It’s a good way for us to interact with consumers and let them know a little bit more about that,” Smith said.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to help retailers move as many Michigan apples as they can.”

The program will start in the fall on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Steinbach also will work with local TV and other news media in Michigan and in the Chicago area to promote Michigan apples.

The Michigan Apple Committee has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture $100,000 specialty crop block grant that will help the organization reach a large number of consumers via social media and target its specific demographic — women 25-54, Smith said.

By using social media, like Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and Instagram, the committee will be able to target ads and posts to specific ages, regions and cities, she said.

The committee also will continue to work with retailers and their loyalty programs, she said.

Since retailers know a lot about their customers, including what they purchase and how often they purchase, loyalty programs are a good way to reach shoppers who are likely to buy Michigan apples, she said.

“That works out great for the retailer and it works out great for us,” she said. 

And the committee is working with Michigan State University to give researchers and extension agents a platform to talk about some of the work they do, Smith said.

People are interested in learning about the growing season, the climate, the soil “and everything that lends to a perfect environment for the growing of Michigan apples.”

Meanwhile, the committee’s retail staff will focus its retail efforts in 28 states, primarily in the Midwest and the East, she said.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to help retailers move as many Michigan apples as they can.”

The committee will continue its partnership with the Chicago marathon.

“It’s a big opportunity for us to reach a very big target region for us,” Smith said.

“Also, people who are into a healthy lifestyle and are into fitness, and apples play very well for that.”

The committee will hand out apples to participants at the end of the race and participate in an expo before the marathon and provide tips, nutrition information and Michigan apple giveaways.

The committee also will have a partnership with the Detroit Tigers this fall.

There will be a Michigan Apple day at the team’s Comerica Park, where the Michigan Apple queen will throw out the first pitch.

The Michigan Apple Committee also is continuing its partnership with Michigan State University Football and basketball and with the Pure Michigan marketing program.