view current print edition





Rainier Fruit launches Healthy Holiday Eating Challenge

As holiday promotions ramp up in the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, one particularly healthy campaign is being undertaken by Rainier Fruit Co. in Yakima, WA.

According to Andy Tudor, director of business development, this year’s holiday promo will run from Thanksgiving through Christmas as “part of our comprehensive consumer outreach and social media campaign around Wholesome to The Core,” an ambitious marketing effort launched earlier this year.Gala-HarvestHarvest of this year’s Gala crop in Rainier Fruit Co. orchards. The popular variety is available from September through August and a good choice for holiday promotions. Photo courtesy of Rainier Fruit Co.

With its #EatWholesome #BeWholesome message in full force, Rainier will challenge consumers to “make at least one healthy choice for a healthier snack, healthier side or healthier meal that includes apples and pears,” Tudor said. The campaign runs from Nov. 21 through Dec. 26.

“All consumers that participate via Facebook or social media will be entered to win a healthy prize package that includes a Fitbit Blaze, Nutri Ninja blender and fresh apples,” he said.

The challenge is enhanced by what Tudor called “terrific movement on every core and rising star apple variety as soon as they became available on the manifest.” Among the most popular are Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji and Granny.

“In October we added Jazz, Envy, Pink lady and Envy,” Tudor continued. “Our offerings will grow with Junami in November and Lady Alice in January. Consumers are excited to have such a menu to choose from.”

Other new varieties outside the Rainier system include Opal and RubyFrost.  

Rainier Fruit is also seeing brisk movement within its organic category, and Tudor explained that demand is being met through “the foresight of our Rainier growers to not only commit to organic growing practices well over a decade ago, but to also cultivate the varieties that the organic consumer wants. This has given Rainier brand organics growing consumer recognition and brand awareness.”

The company’s “high quality, consistent eating experience,” coupled with “our Wholesome to the Core initiatives,  #EatWholesome  #BeWholesome,” has resulted in a consumer fan base both for the branded organics and Rainier’s branded Honeycrisp, Junami and Lady Alice.

Tudor said, “Because of our commitment to farming organically, we have by far the deepest manifest in North America. With over 70 percent of our production being Honeycrisp, Gala and Fuji, Rainier can extend our retailers’ season further than most shippers, capturing those category dollars well into late spring and early summer.”

The pear category is also in full swing, and Tudor said Bartletts, Anjous and Reds are shipping now. “About 28 percent of our pear total is organic,” he said, “And we continue to see increased demand for pouch bags.”

Rainier’s pear pre-conditioning program continues to expand, and Tudor said sales are brisk for the conditioning option.

“Once we get a retailer on board with a true conditioning program using our specially vented cartons and custom ripening rooms, they can realize a volume lift as high as 30 percent,” said Tudor.