Dole unveiled its first partnership with Disney's Moana at Thanksgiving and will continue to roll out health/nutrition education programs themed around other characters this year, says Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications. ( Dole Food Co. )

Dole teams with Disney for spring promotions

Dole Tropical Gold Pineapples will play a major role in Dole's marketing and promotional programs this year, including the recently announced partnership with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, said Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications with Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co.

Announced last fall at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit trade show, the Dole-Disney partnership includes the launch of a new co-branded assortment of fresh produce featuring iconic Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel characters at grocery and retail stores nationwide throughout 2017 and beyond, Goldfield said.

"Research shows that favorite characters have a tremendous influence on acceptance and behavior among children. We know parents are looking for convenient, nutritious foods for their families and some of their biggest challenges are kids' resistance to eating more fruits and veggies," Goldfield said.

Dole unveiled the first partnership with Disney's Moana at Thanksgiving and will continue to roll out health/nutrition education programs themed around other characters, he said.

From late February through late April, Dole and Disney will launch the first initiative for 2017, themed to Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

The two-month campaign will feature consumer promotions, digital integrations, character-inspired recipes, healthy-eating tips and Disney-branded Dole fresh fruits and vegetables, including Dole Tropical Gold and Dole Royal Hawaiian Pineapples.


Melissa's offers Nicaraguan white variety

Los Angeles-based World Variety Produce, which markets under the Melissa's brand, is offering MonteLirio white pineapples from Nicaragua in the U.S. for the first time, beginning in early February, said Robert Schueller, company spokesman.

The MonteLirio, which will be available year-round, will join Melissa's established South African baby pineapple and organic pineapple programs, which also go year-round, Schueller said.

MonteLirio white pineapples from Nicaragua join the lineup for Melissa's in February.

"This variety is much rounder when compared to a standard Hawaiian pineapple. It is sweet and has a more subtle, balanced flavor between acidity and sweetness," Schueller said of the MonteLirio.

The white interior fruit has a "creamier, less fibrous texture" than standard yellow pineapple varieties, Schueller noted.

Pack sizes will be 5-, 6- and 7-count, Schueller said.

The MonteLirio will be geared for "high-end retailers, ... the ones that carry truffles in the winter, Cotton Candy grapes, some of the premium high-end fancy fruits and vegetables throughout the season," Schueller said.


Robinson Fresh focuses on grower relations

Robinson Fresh, a division of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., is focusing on grower relations to maintain "supply assurance," said Gustavo Lora, category manager of pineapples with Robinson Fresh.

"We are working to consolidate our long-lasting relationships, growing our farms, assuring the best quality possible and making sure that we are assuring supply year-round, which to us is the most important thing for our customers," he said.

Robinson Fresh also is growing its Mexican pineapple deal, with a 15-20% growth from there, Lora said.

"Our pineapple program is bigger than just pineapples," he said.

"Robinson Fresh is able to supply our large customers, as well as our LTLs (less-than-truckload shipping) the entire tropicals category, and that gives us an advantage to provide every fruit to the customer," Lora said.