Sunkist Growers evolving nutrition education program
Sunkist Growers is a 128-year-old citrus cooperative, and its growers continue to pass down generational knowledge about growing practices to continue to deliver the highest quality citrus to its customers.
“The consumer demand for fresh, high-quality citrus continues to grow, especially as consumers look to healthy foods and fresh produce,” said Christina Ward, director of global brand marketing for the Valencia, CA-based company. “Sunkist offers a robust portfolio and year-round supply of conventional, specialty and organic varieties to meet shopper needs.”
Peak citrus season is an exciting time of the year for those at Sunkist Growers and its consumers around the world. Sunkist’s winter citrus includes Sunkist Navel oranges, Blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, Sunkist Delite mandarins, conventional and Meyer lemons, Minneola tangelos, Pummelos, and a great lineup of organic varieties.
“From the volume, quality and sizing, Sunkist citrus is at the top of its 2021 season,” Ward said. “Mother Nature provided excellent growing conditions, and the fruit is tasting great. Sunkist has promotable volumes of all citrus varieties.”
Over the years, Sunkist has learned that the vitamin C content and shelf-ability of citrus plays a significant role in increasing consumer demand for the category. Also, the versatility of citrus offers recipe inspiration to those cooking at home and looking for ways to zest up their menus during this time.
“With recipes continuing to be the No. 1 reason for lemon consumption this season, we offered a one-pound lemon pouch bag at retail, which resulted in some very successful promotions to-date,” Ward said.
There are other things that can be done at the store level too for increasing sales. For instance, Ward recommended creating a citrus destination through secondary display bins as a great way to expand and grow the winter citrus category and sell citrus within a small footprint at retail.
“The secondary display bins and matching point-of-sale material helps educate consumers in-store on the unique flavor profiles, attributes, and health benefits of the specialty citrus varieties peaking during this time of year,” Ward said. “Citrus pairs perfectly with cocktails and seafood dishes, and our secondary display bins can also help cross-promote in those departments at retail.”
Sunkist offers customizable retail marketing programs, including point-of-sale materials, merchandising displays, digital and on-pack coupons, sampling, in-pack giveaways, social media, digital advertising, and influencer programs and nutrition education to retailers to assist with sales.
“With our fact-based category management program, we have key insights specific to shopper behaviors per variety to help our retail partners build relevant marketing programs tailored to their stores and customers,” Ward said.
In 2021, the company plans to continue to evolve its nutrition education program by collaborating with food and lifestyle influencers and registered dieticians to provide consumers with recipe inspiration and helpful citrus hacks to encourage utilization from peel to pulp and appease at-home cooking fatigue many consumers are experiencing at this time.
“With many of our consumers in virtual learning or still working from home, our recipes are trendy, easy to follow and rich in vitamin C, promoting a healthy lifestyle,” Ward said. “Our Share What’s Real campaign helps celebrate citrus in everyday life through dishes, drinks, DIY projects and more.”