Through the acquisition of Timco Worldwide in 2011, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, continues to place a strong focus on the melon category and provide its customers access to year-round availability and premium product.
“C.H. Robinson’s melons are grown in Mexico, Central America and the United States,” Category General Manager Josh Knox told The Produce News. C.H. Robinson’s volume includes watermelon, mini melons and mini seedless melons. “In addition, Galia, yellow honeydew and other improved varieties are currently in trial,” Knox continued. “These varieties aim to improve on flavor profile and disease tolerance of watermelon. In addition, C.H. Robinson’s melon varieties harvest with optimal rind thickness allowing for the fruit to be transported and merchandised in bins. The bins are a cost savings for retailers, and C.H. Robinson provides nutritional information and colorful graphics that demand consumer attention at retail.”
“Due to the fragmented supply chain within the watermelon category, C.H. Robinson creates value by offering a year-round logistics program and also provides [Direct-Store-Delivery] that includes inventory management services,” he added.
C.H. Robinson moves melons to all market sectors in North America. “C.H. Robinson’s expertise in produce sourcing and transportation provides assistance to customers in building new fresh supply chain solutions and markets product to all channels, including emerging ones like drug and convenient stores,” Knox commented.
Product is marketed under the “MelonUp! Pink Ribbon” label for watermelons and mini melons as well as “MelonUp!” watermelons and mini seedless melons. “C.H. Robinson provides consistent supply to all U.S. and Canadian geographical regions for a complete year-round melon program,” Knox stated. “C.H. Robinson also markets organic watermelons under the ‘MelonUp!’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Organics’ brands. ‘MelonUp!’ watermelons are also available in some European marketplaces.”
Knox said retailers can take advantage of the MelonUp! Pink Ribbon Watermelon promotion, a comprehensive cause-marketing program designed to promote breast cancer awareness and the health benefits of watermelon.
“A portion of watermelon proceeds from every MelonUp! Pink Ribbon watermelon is donated to breast cancer organizations on behalf of the participating retailer and stay in the community where the funds were raised,” Knox said. “Research shows that 81 percent of consumers want to see more products, services and retailers support worthy causes.”
To encourage customer loyalty and repeat sales for participating retailers, every MelonUp! Pink Ribbon Watermelon comes in a high-graphic bin that prominently displays the pink ribbon familiar to those who support the cause.
“The program is also supported by point-of-sale material, a Facebook page and a Pink Ribbon Watermelon website. “The MelonUp! Pink Ribbon Watermelon program has been a great way to get retailers involved in local community events,” Knox added.
“For example, C.H. Robinson has assisted with retailer’s participation in various events like Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure in Bloomington, MN, and setting up a ‘World’s Largest Watermelon’ display for a retailer in Canada.”