Cross-pro­mo­tional Power

Build big­ger bas­kets with pro­duce pair­ings.

Progressive Grocer (India) - - Fresh Food - By Jen­nifer Strai­ley

Cat­e­gories within fresh pro­duce, from av­o­ca­dos to toma­toes to onions, can be strong sell­ers own their own, but put them to­gether in a col­or­ful dis­play com­plete with tempt­ing, easy-topre­pare recipes, and sales will surge. “Cross-mer­chan­dis­ing al­ways has been a great tool, but I think its im­por­tance has in­creased,” af­firms Tom Wheeler, di­rec­tor of pro­duce op­er­a­tions for Mol­lie Stone’s Mar­kets, a fam­ily and lo­cally owned gro­cer with nine stores in the San Fran­cisco Bay Area.

“It’s re­ally about build­ing an idea in the con­sumer’s mind of how they might use the prod­uct,” he adds, “and it’s crit­i­cal to reach­ing the younger-gen­er­a­tion con­sumer. Mil­len­ni­als are su­per ex­per­i­men­tal, but they didn’t have home eco­nom­ics [in school] like we did.”

Some of Mol­lie Stone’s most suc­cess­ful crosspro­mo­tions to date were achieved with the sup­port of the Cal­i­for­nia Av­o­cado Com­mis­sion (CAC), based in Irvine.

“We’ve worked with the CAC for quite a few years, and it’s been a huge suc­cess for us,” notes Wheeler, who points to Su­per Bowl-themed Cal­i­for­nia av­o­cado promotions, a Hatch chiles-and-av­o­cado crosspro­mo­tion, and another for Cinco de Mayo.

“Cinco de Mayo was prob­a­bly the big­gest suc­cess we’ve had with a cross-pro­mo­tion,” he says. “We saw a mas­sive in­crease in sales year over year.” The pro­mo­tion fea­tured Cal­i­for­nia av­o­ca­dos, Mol­lie Stone’s in-house gua­camole, its pri­vate la­bel tor­tilla chips, and more — all con­ve­niently mer­chan­dised to­gether for cus­tomers to grab and go.

“Cross-mer­chan­dis­ing def­i­nitely in­creases sales,” Wheeler con­tin­ues. “You can eat an av­o­cado by it­self, but it goes a lot bet­ter with other things. It’s a nu­cleus for build­ing a big­ger bas­ket.”

Mol­lie Stone’s sup­ports its promotions with in­store sig­nage and through so­cial me­dia and recipes on its web­site.

Whether it’s a sim­ple cheese-and-ap­ples pair­ing or a cap­rese salad pro­mo­tion with moz­zarella, basil, heir­loom toma­toes and Mol­lie Stone’s pri­vate la­bel olive oil, the gro­cer sees value in fre­quent crosspro­mo­tions — so much so that Mol­lie Stone’s re­cently hired a mar­ket­ing per­son to help de­velop its cross-mer­chan­dis­ing plans through­out the year.

Cross­mer­chan­dis­ing al­ways has been a great tool, but I think its im­por­tance has in­creased. — Tom Wheeler Mol­lie Stone’s Mar­kets

Ad­vanc­ing Av­o­ca­dos

In the 18 years that VP of Mar­ket­ing Jan Del­yser has been with the CAC, the com­mis­sion has put to­gether hun­dreds of suc­cess­ful cross-promotions. While each had its mer­its, Del­yser says there are two key el­e­ments that are con­sis­tent through­out the most suc­cess­ful ex­am­ples.

“First, the pro­gram must be sup­ported by and be turnkey for the re­tailer,” she as­serts. “Sec­ond, the partner prod­ucts need to make sense to­gether and fit the brand com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

While promotions fea­tur­ing Cal­i­for­nia av­o­ca­dos and toma­toes or fresh-cut sal­ads are nat­u­ral pair­ings, spic­ing things up can also be ef­fec­tive.

“A late-summer cross-pro­mo­tion with Melissa’s Hatch chiles last year gen­er­ated a lot of ex­cite­ment,” re­calls Del­yser. “Some­times a unique idea can bring to­gether two prod­ucts that may not seem to have a nat­u­ral fit, and cre­ate a suc­cess­ful pair­ing, such as when we pro­moted the idea of serv­ing gua­camole in a hol­lowed-out wa­ter­melon for the Fourth of July.”

The wa­ter­melon and av­o­cado cross-pro­mo­tion had a “wow fac­tor” for con­sumers, she says.

Cap­i­tal­iz­ing on hot trends in av­o­cado us­age, from sushi to av­o­cado toast to creative av­o­cado cuts such as rib­bons, are also valu­able pro­mo­tional tools, notes Del­yser.

“Re­tail­ers can show­case th­ese in ads, so­cial me­dia, demos and via the deli,” she sug­gests. “Sea­sonal ideas are an op­por­tu­nity to bring on the green, such as Big Game spreads, av­o­cado sham­rock cutouts for St. Pa­trick’s Day and av­o­cado dev­iled eggs for Easter.”

Salad Sav­ings

Shop­pers love to save, so pric­ing is a pow­er­ful com­po­nent of suc­cess­ful cross-promotions in pro­duce.

San An­to­nio-based Na­turesweet re­ports that one of its most suc­cess­ful cross-pro­mo­tional part­ner­ships has been its Bet­ter To­gether salad pro­mo­tion with Fresh Gourmet Baked Cheese Crisps. The pro­gram of­fers con­sumers sub­stan­tial sav­ings.

Cross-mer­chan­dis­ing the salad pair­ing out­side of the pro­duce de­part­ment has also con­trib­uted to the pro­gram’s suc­cess.

“Get­ting our Na­turesweet toma­toes to the cen­ter store helps to in­crease bas­ket size for re­tail­ers, and is a con­ve­nient re­minder of fresh in­gre­di­ents for con­sumers,” says Brand Man­ager Lori Castillo.

Repo­si­tion­ing Pis­ta­chios

While pis­ta­chios have been suc­cess­fully crosspro­moted with beer as a game-day snack­ing sen­sa­tion for years, Joseph Set­ton, of Set­ton Farms, in Com­mack, N.Y., is en­cour­ag­ing re­tail part­ners to look at new ways of pro­mot­ing th­ese nu­tri­tious and de­li­cious nuts.

“Over the last sev­eral years, pis­ta­chios are in­creas­ingly be­ing pro­moted as a great-tast­ing healthy snack. We see pis­ta­chios fre­quently pro­moted with bot­tled wa­ter and veg­eta­bles,” ob­serves Set­ton, who adds that Set­ton Farms’ pis­ta­chios and pis­ta­chio-based prod­ucts, like its new Chewy Bites, now carry the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion Heart Healthy check­mark.

Set­ton Farms is also reach­ing out to kids and their fam­i­lies with reg­u­lar cross-promotions of pis­ta­chios along­side fruits and veg­eta­bles through the Or­lando, Fla.-based non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Pro­duce for Kids.

Fur­ther, for easy cross-promotions any­where in the store, Set­ton Farms of­fers a quar­ter-pal­let bin. “Our pis­ta­chio bin is all in­clu­sive for re­tail­ers,” he says. “They can just roll it out on the floor, so there’s no la­bor in­volved.”

Hol­i­day De­lights

While many gro­cers, in­clud­ing Mol­lie Stone’s, use cross-promotions to drive pro­duce sales through­out the year, Wheeler ad­mits that the pro­duce de­part­ment re­ally ramps up on cross-mer­chan­dis­ing dur­ing the hol­i­days.

Some­times a unique idea can bring to­gether two prod­ucts that may not seem to have a nat­u­ral fit, and cre­ate a suc­cess­ful pair­ing. — Jan Del­yser Cal­i­for­nia Av­o­cado Com­mis­sion

“Cross-mer­chan­dis­ing is very im­por­tant dur­ing hol­i­days and spe­cial sport­ing events,” agrees Sarah Deaton, of Ze­spri Ki­wifruit North Amer­ica, in New­port Beach, Calif. “Re­tail­ers can place all of the in­gre­di­ents for ap­pe­tiz­ers and cock­tails to­gether to help pro­mote healthy party foods and drinks.”

Ze­spri Ki­wifruit is ex­tend­ing the avail­abil­ity of Ze­spri Sun­gold and Green Ki­wifruit through the win­ter for the first time. Pre­vi­ously, Ze­spri was avail­able only from May through Oc­to­ber.

“The ex­tended avail­abil­ity of high-qual­ity fruit is im­por­tant as con­sumer de­mand in­creases,” says Deaton. “This de­mand is driven by con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion about the health ben­e­fits of ki­wifruit, as well as dis­cov­er­ing just how tasty a pre­mium-qual­ity ki­wifruit can be.”

Ze­spri has de­vel­oped many ki­wifruit-cen­tric recipes, from ap­pe­tiz­ers, en­trées and desserts to break­fast items and lunches, as well as cock­tails and drinks. Deaton rec­om­mends that gro­cers in­clude recipe cards at the point of pur­chase.

“It’s im­por­tant to in­clude ed­u­ca­tional POS that shows con­sumers how to eat Ze­spri Ki­wifruit, as well as how to choose and store it,” adds Deaton, who fur­ther notes that of­fer­ing ki­wifruit by the pound helps to in­crease sales.

Meal Mak­ers

This year’s Pro­duce Mar­ket­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (PMA) Fresh Sum­mit, held in Or­lando, fea­tured an ar­ray of prod­ucts ripe for cross-pro­mo­tion. Among them were a host of on-trend, meal-ready veg­eta­bles that of­fer con­sumers the fla­vor and con­ve­nience they crave.

At the show, Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Pro­duce in­tro­duced fresh, ready-to-cook Del Monte Veg­etable Noo­dles in Zuc­chini, Yel­low Squash, Sweet Potato and But­ter­nut Squash va­ri­eties.

“Our veg­etable noo­dles align per­fectly with the re­cent con­sumer trend fo­cus­ing on healthy al­ter­na­tives to pas­tas and other carb-heavy prod­ucts,” says Diony­s­ios Chris­tou, VP of mar­ket­ing.

“This ver­sa­tile new prod­uct line also al­lows for am­ple cross-pro­mo­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties, espe­cially since they can be en­joyed as both hot and cold dishes,” con­tin­ues Chris­tou, who sug­gests cross­mer­chan­dis­ing with com­ple­men­tary prod­ucts such as pasta sauces, other veg­eta­bles, sea­son­ings, pro­tein, and eth­nic-cui­sine sauces and spices.

“They also make ex­cel­lent cold sal­ads; thus, cross­mer­chan­dis­ing with salad dress­ings and other fresh in­gre­di­ents such as toma­toes, av­o­ca­dos, cu­cum­bers and olives would work well,” he adds.

Mean­while, Melissa’s Pro­duce, in St. Ver­non, Calif., show­cased its Ready to Cook Veg­eta­bles at the PMA Fresh Sum­mit.

The line of fresh spe­cialty baby veg­eta­bles in 1-pound re­tail pack­ages of­fers a con­ve­nient ready-to­cook dish, serv­ing two to three peo­ple.

“We will con­tinue to ex­tend the line with items like But­ter­nut Noo­dles and Zuc­chini Noo­dles in the com­ing months,” notes Robert Schueller, di­rec­tor of public re­la­tions.

Cause-re­lated Cross-promotions

Re­spon­si­bly cul­ti­vated pro­duce that’s bet­ter for the environment and farm work­ers was another top trend at the re­cent PMA show. Whole­sum Har­vest, of No­gales, Ariz., dis­played new Fair Trade sig­nage that of­fers par­tic­i­pat­ing re­tail­ers a sim­ple and ef­fec­tive way to com­mu­ni­cate the com­plex mes­sage of Fair Trade Cer­ti­fied pro­duce with shop­pers.

“PMA proved to be a huge Fair Trade suc­cess for us, re­as­sur­ing us that our cus­tomers care, and that they are hear­ing that con­sumers care how their prod­ucts are sourced,” af­firms Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Jessie Gunn. “The POP helped them vi­su­al­ize the mes­sage, and helped them un­der­stand how to help their cus­tomers un­der­stand.”

All Whole­sum farm-grown pro­duce is avail­able in Fair Trade ver­sions for re­tail­ers will­ing to share in the re­spon­si­bil­ity of fair sourc­ing. For re­tail­ers build­ing a cross-pro­mo­tion with Fair Trade Cer­ti­fied pro­duce, Gunn rec­om­mends com­mu­ni­cat­ing the di­rect cor­re­la­tion of the pre­mium to the ben­e­fit.

“We turn toma­toes into school buses.” “We turn bell pep­pers into soc­cer fields.” “We turn cu­cum­bers into play­grounds.” Th­ese are mes­sages that will res­onate with con­sumers.

Whole­sum, which helps its partner grow­ers be­come Fair Trade Cer­ti­fied farms, ex­pects that in the near fu­ture, all of its prod­uct could be 100 per­cent Fair Trade pur­chases.

Cross­mer­chan­dis­ing is very im­por­tant dur­ing hol­i­days and spe­cial sport­ing events. — Sarah Deaton Ze­spri Ki­wifruit North Amer­ica

All in the Fam­ily

With its highly vis­i­ble brands, in­clud­ing Pom Won­der­ful juices, Won­der­ful Pis­ta­chios and Won­der­ful Pom Poms, The Won­der­ful Co., based in Los An­ge­les, of­fers a range of items that can be seam­lessly cross-mer­chan­dised.

“Aware­ness of the Pom brand is higher than ever be­fore,” says a Pom Won­der­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tive. “We want to lever­age this ex­cite­ment and aware­ness of

Pom and get con­sumers to em­brace our prod­ucts by re­mind­ing them about the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits of our Pom Poms Fresh Arils through ad­ver­tis­ing, in-store dis­plays, online promotions, PR, and cross­mer­chan­dis­ing ef­forts across our fam­ily of prod­ucts.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, since Pom Poms Fresh Arils are in sea­son for only a short pe­riod of time, cre­at­ing a sense of ur­gency in cross-promotions can spur sales.

“Pom is uniquely po­si­tioned in the pro­duce de­part­ment to cross-sell our fam­ily of prod­ucts, and con­sumers iden­tify pack­aged goods sold in pro­duce as fresh and healthy food,” notes the Pom Won­der­ful rep. “When Pom Poms ready-to-eat fresh pome­gran­ate arils cross-pro­mote with Pom 100% Juice, con­sumers can bun­dle the two prod­ucts for a grab-and-go break­fast or a healthy snack.”

Go­ing Ba­nanas

In an ef­fort to con­vert light and medium con­sumers of ba­nanas to fre­quent cus­tomers, Chiq­uita North Amer­ica im­ple­mented two highly suc­cess­ful crosspro­mo­tions through its part­ner­ship with Univer­sal Stu­dios and the se­quels of two of the high­est­gross­ing an­i­mated films in U.S. his­tory: “De­spi­ca­ble Me 2” in 2013 and “Min­ions” in 2015.

“The two cam­paigns were de­signed to drive con­sumer en­gage­ment and im­pulse buy­ing to in­cite higher ba­nana pur­chase fre­quency,” ex­plains Suyapa Man­silla, global busi­ness strat­egy man­ager for Cincinnati-based Chiq­uita.

The cam­paigns were sup­ported by a mi­crosite, Min­ion­slove­bananas.com; ad­ver­tis­ing; ra­dio; so­cial me­dia cam­paigns; and in-store POS.

Ac­cord­ing to Chiq­uita, its re­tailer part­ners that fully ex­e­cuted the promotions saw an 8.3-to-11.6 per­cent­age point ad­van­tage in vol­ume growth per store per week over their com­pet­i­tive mar­kets or con­trol stores.

In an ef­fort to con­vert light and medium con­sumers of ba­nanas to fre­quent cus­tomers, Chiq­uita North Amer­ica im­ple­mented two highly suc­cess­ful cross-promotions through its part­ner­ship with Univer­sal Stu­dios.

CROSS PUR­POSES Mol­lie Stone’s Mar­kets wows with Cal­i­for­nia av­o­ca­dos and Hatch chiles.

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