Dole encourages 'after-dark' banana consumption
by Tad Thompson | June 08, 2010
Dole wants people to know that bananas are not just for breakfast.
And to encourage consumers to think of the fruit as a snack for all times of
the day and night, the Westlake Village, CA-based marketer has launched the
Go Bananas After Dark campaign.
"The great majority of bananas consumed in the U.S. are eaten for breakfast,
lunch or as a daytime snack," Bill Goldfield, communications manager of Dole
Fresh Fruit Co., told The Produce News. "In general, less than probably 10
percent of consumers consider bananas as a dinnertime food -- and I would
suggest the actual percentage eaten for dessert to be about the same. The
only real significant after-dark use is in banana splits and as the basis for
certain desserts like Bananas Foster -- but this is still only a small fraction of
He added, "Given the enormous size of America's most popular fruit, if
existing banana lovers would add just two more bananas to their regular
banana purchase routine, it would represent a giant shift. As simple as it
sounds, this is our goal."
To accomplish that goal, Dole created the summerlong campaign to challenge
the notion of America's favorite fruit as primarily a breakfast and lunch food.
Go Bananas After Dark kicked off this month and features radio advertising
as well as on-line and social media activities designed to encourage
consumers to widen their banana horizons. Dole is also partnering with
retailers in key markets.
"To start encouraging more of an after-dark mindset, we're introducing a
number of compelling new dinner and dessert recipes this summer that
incorporate grilled bananas, such as shrimp and banana kabobs, teriyaki pork
chops with grilled bananas, ohana sundaes and grilled Caribbean fruit salsa,"
said Mr. Goldfield. "And some of our recipes are very simple, such as our 10-
minute grilled bananas and grilled banana boats. Even some ardent banana
fans aren't aware that you can put a banana right on the grill -- peel and all."
Dole launched the campaign's first element the week of May 24 with the first-
ever "Dole" bananas-dedicated Facebook page, which had amassed more than
18,000 fans as of June 7.
Asked why bananas have not been consumed more frequently after dark, Mr.
Goldfield replied, "I would venture to guess that over the years, banana
producers like Dole have focused their marketing on the association of
bananas with breakfast and lunch, and simply not communicated to
consumers the idea of eating bananas during other parts of the day. I think
the same perception holds true for other fruits, too. Americans assume that
fruits are for breakfast and lunch, and vegetables are for dinner. We think this
disconnect may be a great opportunity."
Dole is on the road between Memorial Day and Labor Day to take its Go
Bananas After Dark message directly to banana consumers -- both on its
own and in partnership with the 2010 Char-Broil Infrared Grilling Tour.
Sponsored by Char-Broil, a leading marketer of infrared grills, the tour gives
Dole the chance to introduce grilled "Dole" bananas to barbecue enthusiasts
in more than 20 cities and at major summer events including Kansas City's
Great American BBQ Festival; the DC BBQ Battle in Washington; and
Nashville's Music City BBQ Festival.
Dole chefs and grilling experts also will demonstrate how to grill bananas on
TV, radio, print and on-line media outlets across the country. Featured on this
second tour are stops at Brennan's in New Orleans, the birthplace of
the Bananas Foster, and other cities with a disproportionately high percentage
of banana fans, such as Des Moines, IA, and Kansas City, MO.