Terminal markets are old institutions, founded at the “terminal” of the railroad to allow sellers to sell and buyers to buy. Yet their role is often misunderstood.
Supermarkets are big buyers, of course, but the place terminal markets occupy is unique in the produce ecosystem. Whereas retailers buy what they want to buy, terminal markets help producers sell what they need to sell.
As such, the markets stand at a unique nexus in the produce industry. On the one hand, terminal markets are crucial to the prosperity of the growing community. A retail chain may decide it only wants a certain size, a certain grade, a certain variety – but the Good Lord has not seen fit to allow a grower to only produce that. Farmers need outlets for ALL the crop. ALL the sizes. ALL the grades. ALL the varieties.
On the other side, this flexibility creates enormous opportunities for independent retailers and restaurants – it means they can find exceptional values and offer differentiated product. It means they can often underprice and out-merchandise the largest retailers, often with fresh product.
Indeed the terminal markets serve as the distribution center for the independents that have none of their own, and, in so doing, support the differentiated retailing and unique restaurants that make cities appealing places to live and work.
It’s a unique value proposition ranging across the produce supply chain.
And as the biggest of all the produce markets, Hunts Point is well positioned to take the lead in explaining this value proposition to stakeholders of all sorts.
When we heard that the Next Generation of Leaders had decided to take the bull by the horns and begin an effort to rebrand in a way that will capture the value proposition it offers, and that they had decided to unveil this rebranding at The New York Produce Show and Conference, we asked Pundit Investigator and Special Projects Editor Mira Slott to see if she could get some background on the branding to be unveiled at the show:
Q: The Hunts Point Produce Market will be unveiling a new brand strategy throughout the New York Produce Show, culminating in the unique opportunity to experience the enormity and importance of the Market in action during a special, exclusive tour that takes place on the last day of the event.
According to the website, Hunts Point is the largest produce terminal market in the world, generating $2.3 billion in sales, and trading 210 million packages of produce every year. It supplies the full international spectrum of produce varieties throughout the New York Metropolitan region and surrounding areas, covering some 23 million people. True to its roots, Hunts Point Market still engages daily with more than 2,500 green grocers, and supplies produce to 23,000 restaurateurs, in addition to filling orders for all the big retailers…
I understand you’ve been extremely busy gearing up for the campaign launch…
What was the impetus for developing a new brand strategy? Could you describe the reasons for embarking on this rebranding? What was involved in the process?
A: This idea sprouted from what we call the Next Generation of Leaders at the Hunts Point Produce Market. We’ve created a committee of the Next Generation to work on matters affecting the market such as marketing, and through our meetings we realized that the market has so much to offer — expertise, variety, value, etc. — but the message wasn’t being conveyed properly with our old brand. Therefore, we decided to embark on a rebranding project.
Q: What are the key messages you want to convey with this new brand strategy, and why? How are you looking to position the Market’s brand identity?
A: We want to convey our expertise in the industry that is based on businesses that have been well established in the produce industry, some for four generations. The produce market has been around for more than 200 years, but, while we are steeped in a history of expertise, we also have an eye on the future and modern-day needs.
The goals of the campaign are to create greater awareness of the market, its merchants and the amazing variety, freshness, and expertise that can be found here. When it comes to produce, we know best.
Q: Where and to whom will the campaign be directed?
A: Everything from customers to various stakeholders and to our community.
Q: Are you looking to reach a new audience unfamiliar with Hunts Point Market or not fully aware of the dynamic qualities that make Hunts Point Market an invaluable resource? Are you trying to reconnect with people who already know of Hunts Point Market with new inspiration, i.e., what sets it apart and makes it unique? Is there new information, notable changes/improvements to the Market that people may not be aware of that this campaign highlights?
A: All of the above! We have an amazing story here, and we are an integral part of the food industry in the tri-state area, and we want to tell our story.
Q: Are you creating different messaging/campaign materials for different audiences? Are there misconceptions about Hunts Point Produce Market that this campaign is looking to address? If so, what would those be?
A: The market can be a bit intimidating or overwhelming to some, so we are trying to educate current customers and potential new customers on how to navigate the market and make it more approachable for them.
Q: What is the scope of the re-branding campaign? Could you describe all the elements?
A: We’ve engaged in a full rebrand from design of a new logo to new messaging and new brand collateral — a completely new look and feel from before.
Q: What is involved in each of the elements (logo, slogans, promotional material, brochure, signage, website, social media, etc.)? How will the campaign be marketed?
A: It’s being launched at the NYPS with many touchpoints that we hope will resonate with the attendees. And there will be more to come over the next 12 months.
Q: How did you come up with your new brand slogan, We Know Best, and what is the significance you want to connote? There are so many qualities connected with Hunts Point Produce Market… how do you prioritize what to focus on?
A: We went through an extensive process, which began with a brand questionnaire, meetings and stakeholder interviews. We distilled from all of that information what is most important about the market. We decided through this process to focus on our expertise. We know produce and we know it well. This market has existed in one shape or another for over 200 years. That is something that sets us apart from all of our competitors.
Q: Could you provide historical context for the re-branding? What kinds of branding/promotional campaigns has Hunts Point Market done in the past? How different is this re-branding campaign from other campaigns?
A: We created a logo and slogan many years ago, but to my knowledge this is the most extensive rebranding process we have undergone.
Q: Is there a way for people interested in participating in the campaign to become involved?
A: All campaign initiatives are open to all merchants in the market. It’s been an open and transparent process. We wanted to make sure to collect as much input and generate as much participation in the process as possible.
This is a difficult interview since we are talking about something that won’t be unveiled until the show. So all the more reason to register and come join us at The New York Produce Show and Conference!
You can sign up right here. And don’t forget to sign up for the tour of Hunts Point, a special event taking place on Friday, the day after the show!
You can check out the show website here.
If you need a hotel room, just let us know here.
And if you are already registered and want to know how to add the Hunts Point tour to your itinerary, let us know here.
The Pundit’s family business was an original tenant when Hunts Point opened in 1967 — it was exciting then and, now, to rebrand and re-market is a brave new day.
Come see it all at The New York Produce Show and Conference and on Friday at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx.