Good Fruit Grower

September 2013

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Pears P Marketing Connect with the customer ears are a relatively small item in industry will be able to reach the conindustry to try to put some romance But the good news, he said, is that the fresh produce department, sumer with the right message at the into their display materials by talking retailers are starting to put more realisbut they are still important to right time, he said. about the nuances of the fruit, the flavor tic markups on fresh produce. "A lot of retailers. Pears make up 1.2 per"The pear industry has a positive mesprofiles, and the farmers who grow it. the retailers are starting to use produce cent of fresh produce sales, comsage to tell about its product, but there's "People want to know where their food as it should be used, and not as a cash pared with berries at 9.7 percent, apples so much noise out there, I don't think any comes from," he said. cow to fund other parts of the operation. at 8.5 percent, and grapes at 7.5 percent. individual can do it by themselves," he Retailers need their suppliers' help. Produce is the single biggest reason conBut that's accounting for 1.2 percent said. Their capital costs, wage rates, and staff sumers shop at a specific store. Retailers 1:21 PM are 1 of fresh produce sales, are a small piece Orch Rite Nusom 2-15-13_jr. page plus dummy 1/24/13turnover Pageall high, and most grocery Displays sell more produce than print understand they can't make a 50 percent of the pie compared with berries (9.7 ads, and Griffin encouraged the pear stores are lucky to make a 1 percent profit. markup any more." —G. Warner percent), apples (8.5 percent), or grapes (7.5 percent). But that's 1.2 percent of a $7-billion pie, points out Reggie Griffin, ® retired vice president of produce and floral merchandising and procurement for The Kroger Company. "Pears are a huge part of the business," he told growers during the annual meeting of the Pear Bureau Northwest. "You're not going to get a front page ad seven times in a five-week cycle like grapes, but you have a great product. You have to educate the consumer." Griffin said grocery chains have recognized that focusing on the consumer is the key to success. To sell more pears, the industry must know who their customers are and understand what motivates them. It must find ways to encourage consumers to go to the grocery store more often, to put more pears in their baskets, and to be willing to pay more for them. Griffin identified three Cs relating to the customer: Confused: Today's consumers are totally confused, for many reasons. They receive mixed messages about food. One day they learn that broccoli is good for them. The next day it's on the Dirty Dozen list. They don't know if local is better than organic, and the amount of choices in the produce department is overwhelming. "Our job is to unconfuse them," Griffin said. Connected: You have to know the consumer better than anyone else. The best way to understand consumers' purhave been farming since 1974, and currently grow 70 acres of chasing behavior is not to ask them about their buying habits but to collect data at cherries. Last year, we put in two Orchard-Rite® Wind Machines, the cash register on what they buy. giving me frost protection on about 40-45 acres. We had a very cold, Collaboration: Produce marketers wet spring. These wind machines were very beneficial. who want to reach the ultimate consumer have to figure out how to collaborate with Because of our Orchard-Rite® Wind Machines, we actually had our others in the industry. best crop in what would normally be the poorest-producing portion of "No one in the produce industry has the orchard. We are installing two more wind machines this year. the marketing budget of McDonald's," Griffin pointed out. "We can't do a Got The Orchard-Rite crew is great to work with. Anytime I've called for Pears? campaign like Got Milk? Longinformation or assistance, they have been Johnny-on-the-spot. term success is built through key partnerships with strategic suppliers who have Don Nusom the same goals of increasing consumption of produce," he said. "Both sides Gervais, Oregon have to win. Both sides have to share information." Griffin said the trend has shifted from Get the Orchard-Rite® story from your nearest representative: a one-on-one relationship between a buyer and a seller to a partnership where suppliers and retailers work together on multiple fronts, such as IT, transportation, distribution, quality control, marketing, sales, category management, and food safety. 1615 W. Ahtanum • Yakima, WA 98903 • 509-248-8785, ext. 612 The produce industry is selling a tasty For the representative nearest you, visit our Web site: and healthy product, and it's through partnerships with retailers that the Orchard-Rite Wind Machines • "The Orchard-Rite crew is great to work with." I Good Fruit Grower SEPTEMBER 2013 17

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