The Chilean Citrus Committee is on the verge of launching an inaugural promotional campaign in the UK and Japan this summer.
Kicking off this month and running through September to coincide with the growing season, the trial initiative will operate under the Citrus from Chile brand.
Its aim is to drive consumption of Chile’s easy peelers in the UK and lemons in Japan, as a means to diversify the South American nation’s citrus export markets.
“Chile has never promoted citrus in Europe or Asia, so we are very excited about this pilot project,” revealed Charif Christian Carvajal, Marketing Director for the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex).
Speaking to PBUK at The London Produce Show and Conference earlier this month Carvajal said the UK promotions are designed to position Chilean easy peelers as a healthy snack for children.
“We are promoting Chilean easy peelers as a healthy, convenient and refreshing snack for active children because of their high water content and level of vitamin C.”
“The communication objective is to position Chilean easy peelers as a ‘favourite’ snack for children to consume during school sports events over the summer months of June and July,” Carvajal added.
The UK trial will target parents of young children by distributing information about the product’s nutritional benefits and convenience as a snacking fruit.
Activities will include: radio interviews, advertorials in the consumer press, promotions via social media and marketing drives at sports events, as well as recipes. The Committee will also sign an agreement with UK lifestyle blogger website BritMums to publish articles, stories and recipes.
Key messages will focus on Chilean easy peelers being a healthy snack for active children, a refreshing choice for sports days and an ideal product to keep kids hydrated during the summer thanks to their high vitamin C and water content.
To support those messages, the Committee has commissioned a leading UK nutritionist, Emma Derbyshire, to develop a study that will generate content and key information about the benefits of Chilean easy peelers. Derbyshire will also devise the new recipes for the campaign.
Carvajal explained that initially the UK pilot will test the waters, while providing an opportunity to gather information to shape future campaigns.
“We’re testing the market and gathering key insight at the same time,” he adds. “Part of the objective is to learn about the market penetration level and the key drivers of easy peeler consumption. We also want to find out the exact levels of vitamin C and water in Chilean easy peelers to back up our message of why it’s such a great snack.”
Increasing fruit consumption among children is a target for many within the fresh produce industry.
“It’s amazing how much you can influence young children’s eating habits,” Carvajal adds. “From such a tender age you can introduce the many different flavours of fruits before children get older and it becomes more difficult to change consumption habits.”
Activities in Japan
During the months of July, August and September the Committee will also promote Chilean lemons in Japan.
A so-called ‘Cooking Show’ will be organised in conjunction with ProChile in Japan to demonstrate to a number of in-print and online media professionals the diverse uses of Chilean citrus in a number of different dishes.
The Committee will also host three workshops in honour of the main Japanese importers and distributors of Chilean citrus. These meetings will provide a platform from which to present the opportunities and challenges which confront the Chilean citrus industry and its outlook in the Japanese market.
Other activities will include press releases, a dedicated campaign website in Japanese, a social media drive, and a major push among influential food bloggers via Recipe Blog, Japan’s largest cooking blog site.
Chile’s global easy peeler exports totalled 96,000 tonnes during the 2016 season. Some 277 tonnes were exported directly to the UK, while most of the remaining volume was shipped to North America.
With planting and exports on the up, Chile’s citrus sector has recognised the need to diversify its destination markets.
Carvajal explained that while the UK is a highly competitive market with various different suppliers, at the same time there is always channel evolution opening up new opportunities.
“For growers it’s a relatively good market, especially for easy peelers, which are very popular among UK consumers,” he said. “We want to increase our presence in the UK market.”
To that end, the campaign will focus on raising awareness of Chile’s citrus export offer.
In both Britain and Japan Carvajal said the activities will highlight the generic aspects of Chilean easy peelers and lemons as reliable, food safe and very high quality fruits that are available during the counter season.
Clemenules represented 60% of clementine export volumes in the 2016 season.