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Fred Searle


Tenderstem boom continues

Despite some challenging growing conditions, the brassica brandís upward trajectory shows no signs of abating and 2018 will see a strong focus on digital marketing

Tenderstem boom continues

Tenderstem had its biggest-ever sales month in March 2018

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Now the second-biggest fresh produce brand behind Pink Lady, according to Kantar, Tenderstem continues to go from strength to strength.

In March the Chinese kale-broccoli hybrid enjoyed its biggest-ever sales month, shifting just over 1.1 million kg of product, and in 2017 sales rose 14 per cent on the year before – the product’s ninth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

This is partly thanks to heavy investment from master licensor and marketing specialist Coregeo, with marketing activity ranging from advertising and sponsorship to digital, PR and experiential.

In January the brand also launched frozen Tenderstem at Iceland after almost ten years in development. “Sales have been consistent since the launch in January 2018,” says Theresa Richards, assistant marketing manager at Coregeo, which owns the brand, adding that the frozen launch was well promoted on social media, where adverts reached over 725,000 users between January and March.

Across the wider brand, 2018 has been an exciting time, Richards says, with Tenderstem launching a new advertising campaign in collaboration with renowned food photographer Carl Warner. The artist, best known for his ‘foodscapes’, has been busy creating print and digital adverts for the brand, which hopes these will inspire consumers to be more adventurous with the brassica in the kitchen.

“This year Tenderstem’s media plan will be more heavily weighted towards digital platforms rather than print media compared to previous years,” Richards reports. “We’re finding that Tenderstem’s consumer base is increasingly looking to digital platforms for information and inspiration.” 

When it comes to production, volumes of the vegetable continue to grow, rising 10 per cent in the past year thanks to increased plantings and higher yields. The brand expects volumes to rise further in 2018, with the UK harvest predicted to begin as early as June. At present, growers are grappling with unusually wet spring conditions but plantings are under way.

In major counter-season source Kenya, dry conditions have been a challenge, although growers have welcomed good recent rainfall; while in Spain, production has increased this season, with growers enjoying plentiful rainfall since the start of the year.

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