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Stemilt to unveil retail programs at PMA Fresh Summit

Stemilt Growers Inc., located in Wenatchee, WA, will showcase two special "win-win" retail programs at this year's Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit.

Director of Marketing Roger Pepperl said that individuals interested in discovering more about the success of the "Lil Snappers" brand and an exciting presentation for the company's upcoming Piñata apples should visit Booth 2156. "We will have a full complement there from owners to marketing to sales," he told The Produce News Sept. 20.

The company first unveiled "Lil Snappers" at the 2011 Fresh Summit. The campaign was specifically designed to move healthy, smaller-sized apples into the hands of children.

"Marketing to kids iStemiltStemilt Growers Inc. will unveil its new 'Lama' brand display specifically designed to showcase the company's 'Lil Snappers' branded fruit. The popup displays have a small footprint when shipped and hold two cartons of bagged fruit. They provide retailers with an opportunity to create satellite displays within stores. (Photo courtesy of Stemilt Growers Inc.)s such an important thing," he said. "We have had such phenomenal success in the first year."

He said that parents have written to Stemilt Growers praising the branded program. Although it is not unusual for smaller-sized apples to be sold at retail, Mr. Pepperl observed, "Parents are recognizing [product] as 'Lil Snappers.' They are saying small sizes haven't been marketed as a solution."

The high-graphics, stand-up bag featured a number of apple varieties as the company moved through its season. Last year, D'Anjou pears were also included in the branded line, and Mr. Pepperl said Bartlett pears were added this season. According to Mr. Pepperl, packaging looks inviting both on the retail shelf and at home on the refrigerator shelf.

This year, Stemilt will unveil its new "Lil Snappers" branded "Lama" display at this year's convention. "It folds up like a square and unfolds into a display," he stated. "It has a small footprint when it is shipped." The three-dimensional display will hold two cartons of "Lil Snappers" bags. "We think these would be great tools to make satellite displays," he stated. Traditional displays will also be available for the line.

The "Lil Snappers" brand will also be part of the convention's Marketing to Kids Showcase.

Stemilt Growers has had equal success with its Piñata apple variety. "We really turned a corner," Mr. Pepperl said. "The trees are getting older. The flavor profile is excellent."

Stemilt purchased the exclusive rights to grow, pack and market Piñata in the United States in 2004. The Piñata is a cross between a Golden Delicious, Cox's Orange Pippin and Duchess of Oldenburg varieties, and it does extremely well in storage.

One of the apple's hallmarks, Mr. Pepperl noted, is its versatility. In addition to eating out of hand, Mr. Pepperl added the Piñata is a good choice for salads, sauces, freezing, poaching and baking.

Because consumers have so many choices when it comes to apples, Mr. Pepperl said that Stemilt conducted a tasting with people and asked respondents to describe the apple's flavor as a way to key in on the apple's unique qualities.

"The one thing that came out is we have an heirloom apple with a traditional apple taste," he said. "But people noticed the Piñata has a tropical hint [in the flavor]. This really does describe what the apple is about." The tropical taste, he said, resembles a pineapple.

Building on these observations, Stemilt Growers has designed a new box and display bins featuring an azure-blue ocean upon which a Piñata apple is floating. The stem of the apple curls up into a palm tree. Complete with an oceanliner in the background and a postcard of introduction on the box, consumers can purchase "classic apple flavors with a tropical twist."

Mr. Pepperl said that Stemilt plans to play off the tropical theme on its Facebook and Twitter sites, and he expects some display contests will be announced in the near future.

The marketing season for Piñata begins in November with limited volume and hits its stride in January.