Industry body looks to ignite winter stonefruit demand in the US through consumer promotions

South African stonefruit body Hortgro has said it is championing its offering in the US as it looks to educate and grow sales.

South Africa stonefruit crop Hortgro

“Most people in the US view stonefruit as a summertime fruit, and do not expect to find high quality products or availability during the winter months,” said Wilechia Van Der Westhuizen, trade development manager at Hortgro.

“Since our fruit is harvested at peak of season during our summer months from December to February in the Southern Hemisphere, we are able to provide the US market with high quality and great tasting fruit when it’s least expected to elevate demand.”

The South African climate is much like the Mediterranean with warm days and cooler nights.

Hortgro noted that this, coupled with rich soil, made for the perfect growing location of stonefruit, like plums and nectarines.

Furthermore, weather patterns allowed for the fruit to cool when formant which added natural sugars and amplified the sweetness of the fruit, it said.

“The proof is in the plums,” said Van Der Westhuizen. ”We’re excited to be able to not only educate consumers on our plums but also provide premium products to retailers, so shoppers don’t go without this sweet and delicious fruit during the winter months.”

Hortgro recently wrapped its inaugural consumer promotion, the ’Plum Possibilities Sweepstakes’, to educate consumers on South African plums as well as highlight different ways the fruit can be enjoyed and stored once purchased.

In addition to building awareness, Hortgro said the South African stonefruit industry drove foot traffic to local Costco stores where the product was available through geo-targeted advertising.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of our first ever consumer sweepstakes and look forward to hosting again next year to continue to gather shopper intel and generate excitement around the South African Plum season,” added Van Der Westhuizen.