( File photo )

As the New York Apple Association celebrates 25 years, it’s coming out with new merchandising materials and marketing strategies for its more than 600 growers across six regions and more than 50,000 acres of apple orchards.

A new poly tote with handles, plus new display shippers, will be available at several retailers across the state, said Cynthia Haskins, association president and CEO.

“Mason Marketing was instrumental in providing graphics for the new 3-pound and 5-pound poly Apples from New York tote bags,” Haskins said. 

Consumers will continue to see the Apple Country poly bags this year as retailers phase into carrying the new look. The Mason agency also provided graphics for the new display shippers and matching signage.

The tote bags are a great update, said Alisha Albinder Camac, director of operations at Milton, N.Y.-based Hudson River Fruit Co. She also does marketing and sales work for her family company, which is a 1.5-hour drive north of Manhattan and includes growers statewide.

“It’s a big thing on the East Coast to have apples in tote bags in the fall, so that will be a nice change,” said Camac, who estimates that the old bags were in production for at least a decade. 

“I think New York state is really trying to advance how they’re perceived in the marketplace and define the brand of apples that are grown and sold in New York.”

Two other advertising agencies are working with the association as well, starting with Digital Hyve, which is helping with social media.

“The association will be taking social media to the next level by focusing on several marketplaces throughout the country in addition to New York,” Haskins said.

The social media content — along with new merchandising resources, such as consumer handouts, dietitian toolkits and bin display wraps — is available to retailers.

Dixon Schwabl is helping the association with u-pick advertising, along with placing traditional media, including radio and TV.

In 1994, Eastern New York growers united with the Western New York Apple Growers Association to create the New York Apple Association. 

Then the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets contracted with the association, which dispenses Apple Marketing Order funds on the industry’s behalf, Haskins said. The first mandatory state order was in 1959.

Since its development about three years ago, the association’s apple growers started using the New York State Grown & Certified label.

The label is New York’s first statewide, multi-faceted food certification program designed to strengthen consumer confidence in New York products, address food product labeling and assist New York farmers to take advantage of the growing market demand for foods locally grown.

 

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