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Tshiamo Market Gosiame[55]

Market development campaigns

By Wilechia van der Westhuizen

The market development campaign expanded during the 2023/2024 stone fruit season, running in six regions globally: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and India. Middle East and locally within South Africa.

The first-year campaign in the USA was a pilot campaign to understand the market but also tailor the campaign to the USA stone fruit consumer. At the start of the USA campaign, various USA importers and South African exporters met to understand requirements and ascertain what would work. We then established the campaign focusing on a two-fold strategy with a strong digital component and ensuring we have retail exposure in Costco. The campaign was also supported by a competition tailored to USA consumers whereby they could win Visa gift cards. Various press releases were also published and provided to the targeted press, building brand awareness, establishing credibility, increasing visibility and informing consumers that South African plums are available on shelves in their winter months. Most people in the USA perceive stone fruit as a summertime fruit and do not expect to find high-quality products or availability during winter. We want to create awareness within the US market that they can find South African produce during their winter months. Our overarching goal is to take market share away from Chile and establish our presence as the preferred Southern Hemisphere supplier within the next two years.

For the UK & Germany, the goal was to maximise visibility at the point of sale, position South Africa as the most sustainable Southern Hemisphere source with exceptional taste credentials and champion South Africa as a primary source of reliability and quality management. A press trip was arranged during the stone fruit harvest season (8 to 10 January 2024).

Michael Knowles, Fruitnet and Christine Weiser, Fruchthandel joined the trip and had an extensive itinerary, including presentations at the Hortgro offices, exporter meetings and farm visits. Coverage from the trip was featured in the Fruit Logistica Part 2 issue and Fresh-Focus South Africa supplement distributed at Fruit Logistica in Berlin. A competition to win a trip to South Africa was also held at retailers in the UK like Sainsbury, Costco, Tesco and Morrisons. In Germany, marketing mechanisms like inserts in weekly promotion folders, in-store tastings and raffles on retailer websites were among the campaign activities. Social media and LinkedIn content were scheduled throughout the season, highlighting the campaign messages, and recipes, and encouraging consumers to buy South African stone fruit during winter. Trade releases were also distributed throughout the campaign to various trade media.

A market development programme was also conducted locally to promote awareness and consumption of stone fruit. Various aspects were utilised to achieve this, like a public relations drive, trade support, social media, influencer collaborations, chef endorsements and an 8-minute feature on the popular South African breakfast show Expresso. In the informal market, the focus was on educating and reminding the traders and buyers of the new season for stone fruit. Food advisors also had the opportunity to engage with clients of the informal markets and give them information about the product.

As we gear up for the upcoming season, collaborative planning with service providers is underway, fuelling our excitement to build upon the solid foundation of the previous campaign.

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