BC Tree Fruits is hoping Canadians celebrate with the locals during February’s Apple Month.
The Kelowna-based co-op, which represents some 500 growers in the province, has launched a radio and in-store marketing campaign to celebrate Apple month and drive up sales of Ambrosia, Royal Gala, McIntosh, Spartan, Pink Lady and other apple varieties from the province.
Radio ads running in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan feature the tagline “Come celebrate with the locals,” and tell of the relationship between growers and the fruit, reminding consumers also that February is Apple Month.
In past years, the co-op promoted Apple Month with consumer contests that gave away cash prizes and a vacation in the Okanagan Valley, where many B.C. apples are grown.
This year “we wanted to focus more on our growers” and the importance of local fruit, Chris Pollock, marketing manager at BC Tree Fruits, told Canadian Grocer.
The “Celebrate with the locals” tag is being extended into supermarkets through point of sale. Red and white signs also remind consumers “to pick all you want; we’ll grow more.”
Grocery chains in Western Canada getting involved in the promotion include Overwaitea Food Group and H.Y. Louie. The distributor The Grocery People is also taking part through its independent network of stores.
BC Tree Fruits harvested around 2.7 million cartons of apples for its 2014-2015 season, which was more typical than the previous year’s lower crop of 2 million cartons, Polllock said.
Pollock added that his organization will keep on promoting apples to Western Canadians after Apple Month ends.
For instance, February BC Tree Fruits is gearing up to launch the Apple Cup, a inter-store display contest done in conjunction with Sun-Rype Products, the apple juice maker, and Overwaitea.
During February and March, Overwaitea stores will put up displays incorporating BC Tree Fruits apples and Sun-Rype juice. The best display wins the Apple Cup.
“In past years stores have really made some elaborate displays,” Pollock said, noting one particular standout: a display that featured a river made of apples, with juice containers piled up as the riverbanks.
In April, BC Tree Fruits will also launch a new product: an apple cider under the name BC Tree Fruit Cider Company. Pollock said that the cider will be entirely made from apples grown in B.C.
In addition to apples, BC Tree Fruits markets and distributes a variety of other fruit, including pears, cherries, peaches, plums and blueberries. Its growers own the co-op.