How should the produce industry reach consumers?
The method has long been a question.
Indeed, for a very long time the thought was that if one couldn’t afford to spend upwards of $20 million a year on network television advertising, there was no point in trying to reach consumers.
That attitude is gone. With web sites, social media and consumers turning to bloggers for information and the growing use of clamshells and other packaging conducive to labeling, shippers and importers are increasingly recognizing that they have an ability to begin to build brand equity with consumers.
The message has also been uncertain.
The great industry institutions, such as 5 a Day and now, More Matters, have had their hands tied as they often accepted government money, and this restricted their ability to promote produce except in its most austere form, almost as a kind of medicine.
Increasingly, though, there is recognition that this medicinal approach is, at best, inadequate and that though health-oriented promotions may have their place, the industry also needs other vehicles to reach consumers and to tell different stories. That is what we were talking about when we wrote a piece titled Two Cheers for Bacon in our sister publication, PRODUCE BUSINESS.
To help the industry deal with both these methodological and messaging issues, PRODUCE BUSINESS is launching a new magazine. It is a hybrid publication focused on the love of produce. Think of a magazine such as Wine Spectator. Well-read and respected in the trade, but also a must read for those consumers most focused on fine wine.
This new magazine will be published quarterly, in line with the seasons, and from the very first issue it will be available to consumers at every Barnes & Noble and on the newsstands at Hudson News, at airports and commuter terminals across North America. Digital editions will be available for both Apple and Android devices. It will also be available in supermarkets, warehouse clubs and fine food stores everywhere.
The new magazine is named PRODUCE ENTHUSIAST, and its cover will feature major celebrities discussing their love affair with produce. It may be movie stars, celebrity chefs, athletes or politicians, but the magazine won’t hesitate to celebrate produce in all its forms — on the grill or in a Bloody Mary, the star event in Strawberry Shortcake or a supporting role on a sandwich. We will celebrate stir-frys and salads, juicing and baking. We will luxuriate in fruit soaked in cognac and vegetables served with rich specialty cheese.
We will do profiles to introduce consumers to the great personalities of this industry and we will feature ag tourism to attract people to produce growing regions. We will rank restaurants and highlight housewares. We will show how produce fits in fine entertaining and a graceful lifestyle. We will introduce new specialty items, celebrate varieties old and new and provide loads of recipes.
The consumer readers will be a special, self-selected lot. They will be very valuable to the industry because they will be the passionate ones, the opinion leaders.
The readership of Motor Trend or Car & Driver includes a lot of teenage boys. Yet their readership is valuable, not because they buy a lot of cars themselves, but because family and friends respect and listen to their opinions. In our case we will have a cadre of the most committed and engaged “produce enthusiasts.” We will nurture that enthusiasm and, in so doing, give the industry a portal to build demand. These are the Evangelicals who will help the industry tell its story.
The first issue is out in May for the summer of 2014. It is going to be an incredible new point of contact with consumers.
If you are a retailer and would like information on how your store can sell PRODUCE ENTHUSIAST, please let us know here.
If you are interested in our Charter Advertising program, let us know here.
If you would like to get subscription information, just let us know here.