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Retailers bullish on Oneonta's kid-friendly 'applesnaQ’ campaign

by Kathleen Thomas Gaspar | January 03, 2011
Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers' popular "applesnaQ" campaign is seeing good reception at retail and is part of the overall strong movement of apples from the Wenatchee, WA-based operation.

The catchy promotion was conceived in 2010 prior to the apple harvest by Dan Wohlford, national sales representative, Scott Marboe, marketing director, Jill Morrison, graphic designer, and Frank Davis, director of business development. The theme, geared to youngsters, was rolled out at PMA Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL, and is integral in Oneonta’s emphasis on apples as a healthy snack for all ages.

Mr. Wohlford told The Produce News that apples from the Northwest are seeing good demand. “So far this season apple movement has been outstanding, and we are ahead of last year on most varieties. Reds, Golds and Galas are moving very well for us.”

He went on to say that both Granny Smith and Pink Lady varieties are also in high demand, and he added that promotions will spotlight the Pink Lady in February and the Granny Smith in March to “keep these varieties attractive to consumers and profitable for retailers.”

As the varieties are being given specific attention, the “applesnaQ” takes in the apple category as a whole, Mr. Wohlford said.

“We have our 'applesnaQ’ tote bags and tote bins that were introduced at the PMA Fresh Summit in October, and we will continue with that program throughout the year,” he said.

Going into the apple season, Mr. Marboe had said the campaign would work especially well for mid-sized fruit, and reception from retailers has been “very positive.” During the fall, displays were planned around back-to-school themes, and apples were merchandised in several different areas of retail stores.

When it was rolled out, “applesnaQ” was intended only for fall promotions, but Messrs. Wohlford and Marboe said that retailers were seeing benefits in running it at various other times of the year.

And Oneonta continues with its “Pear the Taste” campaign that matches tree fruit with wines.

As the company explores new promotional avenues, it is also expanding its staff. Most recently, produce industry veteran Bruce Turner joined the Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers team.

Mr. Turner was previously director of operations at Giumarra Cos.’ VBM International Berry Division and worked at The Oppenheimer Group and Associated Grocers.

Mr. Marboe said the new team member “has great experience in the shipping, marketing and retail side of our industry. Bruce will be a valuable and positive asset to our company, our continued growth plan and our customers.”