Northwest pear industry harnesses marketing innovations for promising crop
With harvest under way throughout the four growing regions, Pear Bureau Northwest said Washington and Oregon’s fresh pear estimate is 16.2 million standard box equivalents, which is on par with the five-year average.
“Pear growers are in full harvest mode right now, hand picking a new crop of beautiful, tasty pears starting with Bartletts and Starkrimson,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of PBNW. “There will be a full range of sizes available, including popular large-sized fruit as well as smaller sizes to fill the popular pouch bags as well as sizes to fulfill export market demand. Our team has been working hard to initiate innovative and effective promotions to get the season off to a good start. Retailers are engaged and optimistic about the pear season, as is our team and the sales organizations we have coordinated with during recent strategy calls.”
Across all regions, harvest started in mid-August for summer varieties like Starkrimson and Bartletts, with growers beginning to pick Bosc, Green and Red Anjou in early to mid-September. Specialty pears like Comice, Seckel, Forelle and Concorde pears will also be available in September to provide an exceptional assortment of unique and flavorful pear choices for shoppers.
The organic pear estimate is expected to come in at 1.823 million standard boxes equivalents, or 11 percent of the total projected Northwest crop.
“Our growers and shippers understand that consumers buy with their eyes, but flavor is what bring them back for more. The industry is passionate about providing consumers with the best possible eating experience,” said Moffitt. “To meet consumer demands for sweet and juicy pears to enjoy one to three days from purchase, the industry continues to expand and promote the conditioning program, which is proven to increase retail sales and enhance the consumer eating experience.”
“As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, the Pear Bureau has been successful with in-person planning meetings with retailers nationwide,” said Bob Catinella, PBNW director of merchandising. “The produce industry values personal relationships. Some of this was lost the last couple of years, so we are working hard to reconnect and to develop creative programs that continue increasing consumption of the northwest pear crop.”
Capitalizing on the latest trends and innovations in digital marketing as well as in-store, PBNW is initiating fresh promotions across the U.S. and Canada. The 2022-23 season has kicked off with the launch of a new augmented reality experience, inspiring consumers to simply add pears to their everyday meals, a new social campaign designed to continue elevating pears with a fresh perspective, all while leading up to Halloween promotions that include spooky snack boards. PBNW will also continue to expand online shopping programs at retail with banner ads and other shopper marketing promotions.
Updated display bins with bright, attractive graphics will be distributed to retailers across the U.S. These bins feature QR codes, which lead shoppers to short videos introducing the growers of USA Pears and to our online collection of more than 400 recipes.
“Consumers continue to be very interested in knowing where their food comes from and who grows it. These videos bring them right into the beautiful orchards of the Pacific Northwest to meet the growers who take such great care and pride to bring fresh Pears to the marketplace,” said Moffitt.
“While pears are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of cooking applications, we are focusing on showcasing the simple application of pears to everyday dishes as a way to enhance recipes for any meal,” said Jim Morris, Marketing Communications Manager. Special promotions will include our annual celebration of Pear Pizza during October for National Pizza Month, World Pear Day on December 3rd, and baking and entertaining during the holidays.