Three-year campaign goes beyond expectations despite pandemic, achieving 8,000 promotional days and over 100 million consumer contacts

Three years of commitment to enhancing the EU’s fruit and vegetables: In&Out, Apo Conerpo’s three-year project co-financed by the European Community, has come to an end after an intense three-year period full of challenges – first and foremost, the pandemic.

But it has cast the spotlight on produce grown by European grower organisations, giving them better visibility in traditional and social media, and reaching consumers right where they do their shopping: in hundreds of large-scale supermarkets throughout Italy, Austria and Denmark.

In an impressive effort, Apo Conerpo, through its business units Alegra, Brio, Naturitalia and Valfrutta Fresco, held more than 8,000 promotional days by utilising every moment left free by the Covid restrictions, intercepting more than 2.3m consumers at points of sale.

Added to these are more than 20m contacts through social media over the three-year period, and about 80m potential readers thanks to the coverage provided by general and sector media.

“At the start of this project we’d set ourselves what we thought was an ambitious goal: using all the available channels to reach 50m consumers, and to tell them about our commitment to environmental, ethical and economic sustainability,” states Davide Vernocchi, president of Apo Conerpo.

Increased awareness

Davide Vernocchi president Apo Conerpo

Davide Vernocchi, president of Apo Conerpo

“it’s a commitment that Apo Conerpo has promoted among its members for over 20 years using the integrated farming model, reducing the use of chemical pesticides and applying methods with a low environmental impact to obtain high-quality produce without wasting water and while preserving the soil, enhancing the seasonal nature of the produce, combating climate change and at the same time trying to guarantee an adequate income for growers.

“Today, three years after that challenge, we’re proud of the results: Despite the fact that the pandemic has deprived us of numerous opportunities to meet with consumers, our intensive work at the points of sale and in traditional and modern media, including social media, has helped us to create more than 100m contact and information moments with millions of people in Italy and Europe.

“Over these three years, we’ve talked about the sustainability of fruit and vegetable growing, saving water, combating climate change but also about healthiness, traceability and, ultimately, the quality of our produce. We’ve spoken to a vast number of people and many of them, according to the opinion questionnaires, went away with a seed of new knowledge that, we’re convinced, will sprout over time, making consumers more aware of how good European fruit and vegetables are from every viewpoint.”

In&Out in numbers

Several indicators sum up the success of the In&Out project. Over the three-year period, 8,000 promotional days were held in 1,100 points of sale in the project’s target countries – particularly Italy and Denmark.

During the in-store activities, according to a conservative estimate, the campaign met and communicated with over 2.3m consumers, in addition to events with hostesses and testimonials, 5,000 posters, and more than 200,000 information leaflets.

Then there were 84,000 eco-sustainable canvas shopping bags distributed during the promotions at the points of sale.

Social media activity was intense: the In&Out pages (in Italian, Danish and German) attracted more than 15,000 followers, in addition to the more than 90,000 one-off users of the website/

Meanwhile posts – thanks to Facebook algorithm dynamics, shares and paid promotions – were viewed more than 20m times over the three-year period.

Press coverage, both traditional and digital, was of great importance. Advertising pages were seen by over 30m readers.

And with almost 300 articles in national and international newspapers dedicated to the project and the various initiatives put in place, information about In&Out was read by a potential audience of 80m people, in Italy and worldwide.

“The result can only be positive,” concludes Vernocchi. “Projects like In&Out are vital for informing and guiding the choices of those who have to decide at the supermarket entrance what to buy to satisfy their palate and look after the nutrition of themselves and their loved ones.

“In these three years we’re certain that we’ve helped millions of consumers become more attentive and aware. And we’ll continue to reach out to them with our next projects to stimulate consumption, a further challenge in an increasingly complex socio-economic context, but one that Apo Conerpo has no qualms about tackling.”