Fresh Produce Trends: A Bunch of Banana News

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Fresh Produce Trends: A Bunch of Banana News


Two of the world’s largest banana suppliers — Coral Gables, Fla.-based Del Monte Fresh Produce Co. and Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit Co. — are in the midst of major campaigns to boost bigger sales of what is often considered the most purchased fresh fruit by U.S. consumers.

Del Monte Fresh has bowed an integrated marketing campaign that aims to engage consumers with Del Monte’s motto, “Eat Health. Live Healthy,” via a clever “Buy A Bunch. Lose A Bunch” promotion positioning bananas as an affordable diet staple to help people lose and maintain weight. Launched earlier this summer, “Buy A Bunch, Lose A Bunch” combines traditional in-store signage with social and mobile media to connect with shoppers.

Dennis Christou, Del Monte Fresh N.A.’s VP of marketing, said, “There is no magic bullet to weight loss, but bananas can be an integral part of a nutritious low-calorie diet. Their affordability and popularity put them within reach for any consumer.”

The initiative involves a number of online and offline components. Online, Del Monte is offering five trips for two to the Banana Beach Resort in Belize. One trip will be given away, along with $100 gift cards in a sweepstakes run through supermarket retailers and The promotion is supported with a series of new banana stickers and in-store signage highlighting the sweepstakes and driving consumers online.

Four additional trips will be awarded through Del Monte’s new Facebook page, “Fan of Bananas” (, in a Diet Challenge Sweepstakes, in which consumers are encouraged to learn more about bananas and healthy eating. By completing a series of four challenges that range from sharing a recipe and photo to taking a survey, users are entered into the sweepstakes drawing for the trips, and have a chance at other prizes. Twitter users can engage in the promotion via the handle @fanofbananas.

Del Monte is also reaching mobile consumers with the launch of the signature Fresh Lifestyles application for iPhone and BlackBerry users, which features recipes and product information, diet information and tools, games for adults and kids, and downloadable coupons for bananas and other Del Monte fresh fruits and vegetables (available free at the iPhone App Store and BlackBerry App World).

Additional Facebook programs will offer more chances for consumers to engage and win prizes, including live chats with a nutritionist and fitness tips from experts. The page also provides coupons, recipes, diet and nutrition tips, trivia, and general information on bananas.

Del Monte views activity within social media as long-term community building for banana enthusiasts to share ideas and experiences.

“Staying fit is not a trend; it’s a lifestyle,” says Christou. “We want our consumers to feel empowered to eat fresh and to be healthy. The Facebook Banana Diet Challenge and Del Monte Fresh Lifestyles app are tools to help jump-start a new, healthy lifestyle.”

Meanwhile, Dole Fresh Fruit Co. is also “going bananas,” even after dark, by challenging consumers in a variety of major markets to abandon perceptions about bananas as a daytime-only food on a series of “Go Bananas After Dark” tours through Labor Day in 20 cities, including Des Moines, Iowa; Cary, N.C.; Washington; Nashville, Tenn.; and Kansas City, Mo.

The whistle-stop visits are part of a summerlong initiative conceived by Dole Fresh Fruit Co., a subsidiary of Dole Food Co., Inc., to educate consumers throughout the country about fun, intriguing new ways to enjoy the iconic fruit for dinner, dessert or as a unique addition to their summer backyard or beach BBQ parties.

While most folks favor bananas for breakfast or lunch, explained David Bright, Dole Fresh Fruit’s VP of marketing, “[E]ven some of the most ardent banana fans aren’t aware of the amazing things you can do with bananas on the grill and as a healthier dessert indulgence.”

In addition to local advertising and consumer outreach, Dole is also teaming up with local retailers on a number of local in-store programs, key components of which are the development and distribution of new banana recipes and serving ideas for dinner, dessert and summer grilling. The new Go Bananas After Dark recipe library — ranging from Grilled Banana S’mores and Island Kabobs with Tropical Fruit Salsa to Teriyaki Pork Chops with Grilled Bananas and Brennan’s New Orleans Original Bananas Foster — is also available on Dole Bananas’ dedicated Web and Facebook pages.

“Bananas are one of the few genuine summertime treats that provide considerable health benefits,” observed Bright. In addition to qualifying as an excellent source of vitamins B6 and C, and a good source of potassium and dietary fiber, “bananas can provide the natural sweetness for some surprisingly indulgent desserts.”

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