Promotion Committee Update

Bob Carini, Carini Farms
USHBC Promotion Committee Chair

The Promotion Committee recently held a working meeting in Dallas, Texas. It was two full days of very intense review and discussions of where we are and where we need to be to help our industry be successful through our promotional efforts. I’d like to thank all of the committee members and teams that gave of their time and expertise to participate.

Our greatest challenge is ensuring that the dollars we all contribute are having the greatest impact in increasing consumption in the short and long terms. We’ve invested considerable resources in consumer research to make sure that we’re moving forward and targeting the right audience with the right messages.

This past year, we broke out foodservice as an area of focus. After putting out an RFP, we received four proposals to increase blueberry use through foodservice channels. While foodservice has always been part of the promotion plan, it was decided to request proposals that started with a clean slate, completely open, to increase uses through foodservice channels of both fresh and frozen blueberries. We received four very good proposals with some interesting ideas and ultimately selected the Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), an agency based in Boulder, Colorado. 

Of course, we continue to work with health professionals to make sure that our health messaging is not only protected, but that it’s not lost in all of the clutter that consumers encounter every day.

We’re also focused on increasing blueberry consumption both domestically and internationally in food manufacturing, which includes opening and enhancing more export markets.

One of the things that’s always discussed, and is a delicate issue, is that we need to continue to provide a high-quality product to our consumer, especially in the fresh market. 

As 2019 winds down, we’re looking  look forward to an exciting 2020 and anticipate the efforts in all of the different areas of promotion and marketing to help increase blueberry demand and consumption on behalf of all of our growers.