The California Table Grape Commission has “a very comprehensive campaign” to communicate to basically a global audience positive messages about California grapes, according to Kathleen Nave, president of the commission. “I think the overriding theme is that grapes from California are always the perfect choice,” either as a snack or to enhance a meal, she said.
“There are so many positive attributes of California table grapes that we are able to field quite a few messages,” Nave continued. “We have a lot of messages that relate to health. We have messages that relate to the product.”
The commission’s consumer outreach targets consumers and the trade in the United States and abroad.
As Nave said in a previous interview, the campaign “focuses on the many ways in which California table grapes can be incorporated easily and conveniently into a healthy lifestyle. We will be communicating those messages to retailers, foodservice operators and certainly to consumers around the world.”
The California grape season is a long one, starting in May and running into January, Nave said. California grapes are often thought of as a summer item, yet they are available nine months out of the year, and the peak months are August through October. “After Sept. 1, we traditionally ship about 60 percent of the crop,” she said.
“I think a key message for retailers and certainly for consumers is that California table grapes are as much a fall fruit as they are a summer fruit. So part of our campaign is to make sure consumers understand that with the onset of fall there are new and interesting and great tasting varieties of table grapes that are available, and that retailers recognize the same thing,” Nave said. Retailers “should be building big, bountiful displays of California table grapes in the fall just as they should be doing in the summer.”
California growers produce more than 70 varieties of table grapes, “and the vast majority of them are available” during the August-through-October time period, she said, “so there is a tremendous opportunity” for retailers to offer and for consumers to enjoy the many varieties that are available. “They all have different tastes, different textures, different sizes, different shapes, different colors.”
The commission’s 2013 advertising program “is in full swing” with Grapes from California advertising appearing on Food Network television, in Food Network Magazine, and on foodnetwork.com, as well as in Chatelaine Magazine in Canada and on traffic radio in both the United States and Canada, said Cindy Plummer, vice president of domestic marketing, in a written statement July 12. “In-store radio will run in grocery stores throughout the country through November, reminding consumers about grapes while they are shopping.”
The advertising mediums “are offered to retailers as incentives to generate commitments for promotional activity,” Plummer said in the statement. Commission representatives will continue in-person meetings with retailers “through the late fall to present customized presentations with business and promotional reviews and consumer and category research. Monthly emails will be sent to retailers with recipes and photos for their use on social media and digital content.” Newsletters announcing promotional opportunities “will continue to be sent out every three weeks.”
Jeff Cardinale, recently hired by the commission as vice president of communications, told The Produce News that Grapes from California was “in final planning stages for a blogger outreach in New York City.”
The event, which will take place in August, “will feature a popular New York City restaurant owner/chef who will create a grape-featured lunch for approximately 20 Hispanic bloggers” and will conduct interviews with the bloggers.” Blogger messages “can quickly spread among many social media platforms,” he said. “Our goal is coverage on websites, Facebook and Pinterest, and ensuring a strong connection with bloggers will keep our social media presence high.”
A partnership with Venezuelan-born celebrity chef and author Lorena Garcia “made famous in the Taco Bell commercials” is also part of the commission’s Hispanic outreach, Cardinale said. An August satellite media tour “will target Spanish speaking television and radio stations and bloggers.” Garcia “will also do a 60-second audio commercial distributed to a Hispanic radio network, social media sites and online audio-video component providers. The goal is to reach a key audience during a major part of the season and reinforce the versatility message of grapes.”
The commission also continues its work with five registered dieticians, Cardinale said. “We are in the midst of shooting our five videos” featuring those dieticians. The videos will post to the commission’s website at grapesfrormcalifornia.com in September.
“Each video features three recipes created by our registered dieticians and will also incorporate tips on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle,” Cardinale added. The tagline, which is used in many of the commission’s communications this year, is “The one ingredient that can change everything.”
In September, the commission will participate in Recipe Redux, an online recipe challenge founded by registered dietician bloggers, Cardinale said. “Grapes from California will challenge bloggers to ‘fall in love with grapes’ by posting their favorite grape recipe” and the commission will pick a winner and award a prize.
In Canada, the commission “has just wrapped up a video shoot, audio production and newspaper feature with News Canada, a media distribution company,” he said. A short video featuring the tagline “The one ingredient that can change everything,” will be distributed to website and video content providers throughout Canada. A radio spot and a newspaper article, similarly themed, will also be distributed throughout Canada, which is “one of the biggest markets for California grapes.”