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Fresh Summit 2013: Industry Must Change With the Times

In the State of the Industry brunch on Friday Produce Marketing Association President Bryan Silbermann encouraged attendees to get on board with the changes occurring in and around the produce industry.

More than ever, the consumer is calling the shots and demanding more from their suppliers and retailers.

“Shoppers and diners are seizing control in ways we couldn’t imagine just a few short years ago,” said Silbermann.

Telling the farmer story has moved from just putting a face on produce packaging, Silbermann said. Oprah Winfrey owns her own farm.

“So we’ve gone from the celebrity chef to the celebrity farmer in just a few short years and whether this is driven by media moguls or desire to know how fruits and vegetables are grown, consumer interest in farming shows no sign of waning,” said Silermann.

“It’s up to our industry to create and develop ways to engage consumers.”

Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, said there’s growing demand for better nutrition at restaurants, and chefs have been adding more local, artisanal, fruit or vegetable products to menus. (SN’s Liz Webber reports on more foodservice trends from Fresh Summit.)

Fresh Summit speakers also pushed the industry to hire more women to executive roles. 

“We would argue that if you are in an industry that is very complex and very relationship driven like the produce industry, a more feminine style of leadership is actually going to be more successful,” said Elisa van Dam, senior director of executive education and corporate outreach for the Simmons School of Management.

In addition to looking internally at hiring practices, Silberman and president and CEO of Bolthouse Farms Jeff Dunn challenged the produce industry to be as creative with driving demand as the snack food industry.

“You know I hate to pick on junk food, but I can’t help myself. They shouldn’t have all the fun. So we got to find a way to create that much energy around what we sell which has this greater purpose,” said Dunn.

Sam Kass, senior policy advisor on nutrition to the first lady and executive director of Let’s Move, said that the first lady is also comitted to helping the industry market fruits and vegetables more effectively to both children and adult consumers.

More News on the Fresh Summit Landing Page

Supermarket News

Crunch Pak featuring back-to-school promotion in NYC’s Times Square

Crunch Pak, an industry leader in fresh sliced apples, is offering a back-to-school promotion via its electronic billboard in New York City’s Time Square.

Beginning Aug. 18, the electronic billboard will carry a message asking consumers to “text the word APPLES to the number 65047″ for a special offer. When consumers do so, they will be sent a link to a coupon for $ 1 off any size package of Crunch Pak sliced apples.

“It’s a lot to communicate in 15 seconds,” Tony Freytag, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Cashmere, WA-based company, said in a press release. “We are excited to see the response and we’re fairly certain no other produce company will have this type of back-to-school promotion this fall.”

Crunch Pak is giving the digital coupon a unique number in order to track the redemption rate and measure how many people view and respond to messages on the billboard.

Marcos Menendez, chief executive officer of Momares, the company managing the electronic coupon for Crunch Pak, said mobile coupons perform very well in terms of redemption.

“Mobile sweepstakes, contests and coupons are the most effective way to build a database of mobile customers,” Menendez said in the press release. “Our mobile coupon campaigns average 10 percent redemption rates; text (SMS) coupon delivery rates are 95 percent.

“Mobile coupon program customer retention rates are 98 percent, which means there is a very low unsubscribe, opt-out rate,” Menendez added in the press release. “Mobile coupons are stored in the customer’s mobile phone and are carried with the customer to the store. Coupon code can be offered for redemption or a barcode mobile coupon shown for scanning.”

This latest promotion is part of a yearlong marketing campaign that puts Crunch Pak’s fresh apple product portfolio on display on a gigantic electronic billboard in the heart of New York City’s world-famous Times Square.

The billboard, located at 1541 Broadway, is the only bi-directional screen in Times Square with screens that measure 10 feet by 90 feet. The first Crunch Pak electronic ad started running in May and will appear more than 17,000 times over the agreement period.

On Aug. 22, Crunch Pak will be sampling its fresh product under the billboard for five hours in order to generate further consumer awareness for the company and its portfolio of products.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines