New Jersey Peach Promotion Council gets creative with marketing efforts
The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council runs its own unique marketing campaign to promote peach purchases and consumption to wholesalers and consumers using digital billboards, press releases, industry advertisements and social media advertising on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
“The NJPPC supports growers beyond just the summer and fall season by funding research grants throughout the year,” said Bonnie Lundblad, the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council’s chair. “The grants have looked at the development and suitability of different varieties of peaches and nectarines best suited for handling and distribution in wholesale markets.”
Over the years, New Jersey peach growers have gotten more creative and continue to plant new and better varieties of yellow, white and flat peaches, plus nectarines to satisfy consumer demand for delicious fruit.
The peach season in New Jersey generally begins at the end of June or early July; however, winter and spring weather cooperated greatly this year so there is an abundant peach crop, and the season will start early, around mid-June.
“The crop looks wonderful and growers are quite happy,” Lundblad said.
The NJPPC promotes Jersey peaches at farmers markets and restaurants but leave it to the purveyors to put their individual stamp on their promotions. Farmers markets may do amateur baking competitions with their local celebrities, tastings or giveaways, while restaurants generally have a “Peach Week” offering special dishes centered on peaches.
The NJPPC has gotten continually more sophisticated in its marketing program and multiple bases are being covered this season, such as collaborating with Joe Atchison of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, who is on the board and working closely with the NJPPC on its marketing program.
This includes cooperative efforts such as four weeks of billboard advertising (beginning Aug. 1). Additionally, the NJPPC is leveraging its funds with social media marketing and promotion. A seven-week campaign will launch July 18 on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. A program of postings on Facebook with 2-3 posting a week will launch July 1.
Wellness and Health Consciousness are very important and tie in tremendously with peaches.
“Peaches are one of the healthiest stone fruits, with only 70 calories per medium peach and a relatively low sugar content,” Lundblad said. “The NJPPC has brochures containing nutritional information and recipes that are given out at farmers markets, along with colorful reusable peach bags.”
New Jersey growers are aware that consumers increasingly want organics, and a few growers grow them. But disease pressure in New Jersey on peaches is too great to use the organic pesticides recommended and used by organic growers in California and Washington.
“Our growers make more use of integrated pest management technology,” Lundblad said. “Most often, this is certified by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of the NJ Agricultural Experiment Station.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “IPM is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks.”
This year is very unusual because of the extreme shortage of southern peaches, the slow start to the California peach season and the large USDA purchase of peaches.
“To maximize retail programs this year, New Jersey is in perfect position,” Lundblad said. “New Jersey has a full crop and the proximity to such a large population makes it easy to react quickly to fulfill the needs of customers, thereby sustaining sales without any gaps.”