Domex Superfresh Growers, located in Yakima, WA, recently launched its revamped website to engage consumers. “It will now act as the hub for all outbound marketing strategy,” said Vice President of Marketing Howard Nager. “Using a proprietary social data analysis tool, we are discovering and actively engaging in conversations with consumers related to the products that we grow.”
The company markets a full apple manifest, shipping to more than 70 markets around the globe. “Domex represents approximately 12 percent of the apples out of Washington,” Nager told The Produce News.
Nager said the revamped website will give consumers access to a host of valuable information. “Consumers are turning into researchers and increasingly want to know more about their produce,” he explained. “They want to know if what they are eating is healthy, safe and responsibly grown. Listening for what is ‘trending now,’ — combined with our profit planning strategies — category analysis and customer planning will directly benefit our partnerships at retail and allow us to work together to delight customers.”
The 2013-14 apple season is shaping up well. “What we have seen is that the warm spring weather has produced a good size crop,” Nager stated. “With the estimate currently at just under 120 million boxes, there will be great opportunities for consumers around the world to experience high quality apples from Washington.”
Favorable weather has also translated to good sizing. “The Washington industry is expecting more large size apples, 88s/80s and larger than in the past,” he went on to say.
The company’s first variety off the tree is typically the Gingergold, and the harvest commenced at the beginning of August. Gala production ramped up in the middle of August. Grannies, Fujis, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp will follow in typical fashion. Cripps Pink is the last variety out of the gate in late October/early November.
“Domex continues to provide a full complement of organic apples,” Nager added. “Approximately 8 percent of our crop is organic.”
The company continues to upgrade facilities and infrastructure. “We have a new packingline that just came on line less than a year ago in Yakima and one in Quincy,” he commented. “Our state-of-the-art packing facilities in Selah and Tieton are just a couple of years young, and we have upgraded our packingline and shipping docks in our Peshastin and Wenatchee locations as well. In addition, additional cold storage and controlled atmosphere rooms are being built to keep up with all of the additional volume that we are now seeing in the industry.”
Domex works closely with its sister company, DSG Logistics, to facilitate product movement. “DSG Logistics is an independent freight and logistics company involved in managing the cold chain within the produce industry,” Nager said. “They have expertise in securing trucks and transportation requirements for customers across North America. As transportation of product becomes such a larger issue, DSG Logistics has been a valuable resource for many retailer and wholesale customers.”
On the marketing side, Nager said Domex is ready for action. “Given the fruit size, we will be working very closely with our customers to customize a number of promotions throughout the year. There will be ample opportunity to promote apples this year with our Apple-A-Rama, Fall Festival, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas promotions. In addition, our new variety, Autumn Glory, will continue to grow this year.”
Domex is also running a consumer promotion on Instagram. “Through our social networks and retail partners, we will be asking apple, pear and cherry consumers to post photos of their favorite recipe, variety or healthy activity,” he said. “The campaign is centered around our philosophy that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is the best thing people can do for their health and that we all need to eat more. It is also a great way for consumers to get connected to our company, our growers and the people responsible for getting our fresh healthy products to the marketplaces all over the world.”
Nager said photos can be shared “with us on Instagram by using the hashtags #EATAPPLES, #EATPEARS or #EATCHERRIES and tag us @superfreshgrowers. They are then required to get three likes in order to be eligible to win.” Three monthly winners will be selected to receive a $100 Visa gift card, he said.