International kiwifruit marketer Zespri has reported on a positive set of results in the North American market for the year-long period ended 12 March 2017, with the launch of SunGold boosting sales in the gold cateogry.
Zespri, which also opened its first North American offices in 2017, said that golden kiwifruit drove the category dollar gain with sales increasing 125 per cent – SunGold Kiwifruit led the growth and represented 80 per cent of the golden kiwifruit category with 27.8m lbs sold to establish a new sales record.
"As our 2017 season comes to an end, we are looking forward to 2018," said Ben Hughes, Zespri's general manager, Americas.
"Zespri is already working with retailers to set-up exciting programmes for the 2018 season as New Zealand shipments begin arriving in May," he continued. "We have plans to target 50 per cent growth for the coming year and extend the season through Zespri-grown Italian fruit so consumers can begin to enjoy Zespri SunGold though winter."
According to the group, the Zespri brand guarantees that consumers are consistently getting the best-tasting kiwifruit, with all Zespri kiwifruit grown for taste and delivering on Zespri's comprehensive system of quality standards.
"Consumers have embraced and celebrated the SunGold with us," outlined Sarah Deaton, Zespri's North American marketing manager. "Consumer response to the new SunGold has been overwhelmingly positive with brand awareness increasing by seven percent in one season."
To help promote SunGold, retailers were able to order point-of-purchase displays and other merchandising material, which featured the "Celebrate the SunGold" graphics that tied into the consumer campaign.
The campaign targeted specific markets with billboard advertising, and social and digital components designed to convey joy, optimism, and excitement to consumers by leveraging SunGold as a moment of celebration with the season arrival.
Zespri also launched regional display contests to promote and encourage trial of SunGold. The larger displays drove trial because of in-store visibility.
"Our retail display contest resulted in a 400 percent increase in sales during the promotional period," added Deaton. "The results were remarkable. We plan to expand the contest during our 2018 season."