For the 13th consecutive year, South African deciduous fruit growing organization Hortgro is teaming up with UK retailers to showcase the health benefits and unique selling points of its stone fruit.
This is a good time to be delivering that type of marketing campaign as sales of fresh produce have increased by nearly 10% since the start of the pandemic, according to Public Health England statistics. The UK is the second most popular destination for South Africa stone fruit (28%), following the rest of Europe (41%).
Despite the many obstacles still being presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hortgro is confident 2021 will be a good year.
"Strict export protocols remain a challenge and in the midst of COVID-19, even more so," Andre Smit, chairman of Hortgro Stone, said. "Hygiene and sanitation have now become household terms and growers will have to ensure that they comply with all rules and regulations. Luckily, South African farmers are very resilient and as an industry, I know we can continue to deliver the excellent high-quality fruit that South Africa is renowned for.”
Though in-store promotions will be part of the mission of reaching consumers, Hortgro and supermarkets also will be focussing a big piece of their marketing efforts online. Customers who do their shopping digitally will see banners splashed across UK websites through the end of season in May.
In store, retailers can leverage seasonal promotions, on-pack labels and recipe tear-off talkers to drive even more sales.
Hortgro says that by the end of the stone fruit season, the industry will have experienced "a 16% increase in South African nectarine exports, a 12% increase for peaches, and a staggering 40% increase for South African plums, compared to last year." The organization says young orchards and good weather conditions this year will be a difference-maker.