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Is This New Product Destined To Be
The Potato Chip Of The Produce Department?

We’ve explored the issue of cartoon marketing for kids here, here, here, here and here. The Washington Post picked up on it here and The Associated Press continued with the issue here.

Labeling of this sort can help but, in the end, satisfaction with a product is going to be determined by convenience, flavor and other product attributes.

This is especially true if our interest, as an industry, is not solely in selling product to children but, also, in having them eat it.

The Junior Pundits are now 3 and 5 years old, and they love sliced apples and Grapple apples. But now, Stemilt Growers has found a new way to flavor apples without chemicals and combines this flavoring with fresh-cut pre-sliced apples. Something tells us these are going to be pretty popular at the Pundit’s house.

Pundit Investigator and Special Projects Editor, Mira Slott, interviewed Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director of Stemilt Growers, to find out more:

Q: Your new flavored AppleSweets sliced apples have been described as akin to whole Grapple apples. Why are they different?

A: The patented process for flavoring the apples is uniquely all natural and not done with any chemicals.

Q: Does the flavoring process add calories or impact the product’s nutritional content?

A: It doesn’t change the nutritional value in any way. The flavor is added after the slicing process and is so minimal that it does not increase the caloric value over plain slices. The process produces an unbelievably precise, consistent slice for a great clean visual image.

Q: What flavors are available and what’s in the pipeline?

A: We have sweet and tart options as well as flavors. We are starting out with caramel and wild berry, but will also have other flavors that will be coming out over time. You’ll see flavors like Mom’s apple pie, tropical mango, pina colada, and blueberry, which we’ll be launching in December.

Q: Seems as if the opportunities are endless…

A: We have about 40 flavors we’ve tested at different levels, with a wealth of flavors to explore as we broaden the concept. We will have seasonal flavors, warm weather and winter flavors. We’ve talked about orange ‘creamsicle’ in the summer. The fact we are vertically integrated with orchards, processing and packing allows us continuous raw product management that we control.

Q: Could this process be adapted to other commodities besides apples?

A: Yes, in our long-term vision, but I don’t want to elaborate on that except to say the process is pending.

Q: Will your product vision continue to build on the theme of healthy convenience?

A: In today’s society of convenience, people eat on the run, while walking, unfortunately while driving. Snacking out of the bag at one’s desk or at school, people are able to enjoy the flavors like caramel, but they avoid the mess of dipping as well as the extra calories, sugar and fat. Many studies have proven if a child is presented with sliced apples versus a whole one, consumption jumps off the page. Also, women find sliced apples more socially friendly to eat in public places. The optional flavor profiles broadens the market appeal.

Q: What’s your marketing strategy?

A: In our testing, the concept appeals to all age groups. We are marketing the product line as a healthy snack option, and obviously kids and mothers are our target audience. We are one of the early adapters to put the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s More Matters logo on the packages. We’ve soft-stepped the introduction, but this concept could make real noise down the road as the new potato chip of the produce department.

What a great idea. So often the Pundit hears people complaining that they can’t make money shipping a commodity — well here are people with some savvy saying let us not just ship a commodity.

It is great that Stemilt is utilizing the new More Matters logo, but the whole product teaches a lesson about increasing consumption. It is not just a matter of marketing; it is also a matter of our industry developing substantively better products.

We are running a few graphics to show you some sample bags, you can also learn more at the AppleSweets web site right here.

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