This article was originally published by Fresh Plaza. Click here for the original article.

Hortgro has partnered with retailers in the United Kingdom (UK) to drive sales and highlight the unique selling proposition and health benefits of South African stone fruit.

The 2021 marketing campaign focusses predominantly on targeting shoppers through online activity and some in-store promotions due to the rise in demand for fresh produce during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a Public Health England report, sales of fresh fruit and vegetables increased by 9% during the first UK lockdown that commenced on 23 March 2020.

One of the main activities of Hortgro’s campaign is the ongoing promotion of South African stone fruit on the leading UK grocery websites in the form of digital banners. It is hoped that the increased online exposure of South Africa’s fresh produce will boost sales through to the end of the stone fruit season in May 2021.

Other online support for the campaign has seen seasonal retailer promotions on fresh fruit that feature various South African plum, peach, and nectarine lines. These promotions have been supported by printed advertorials in retailer magazines that showcase the fruit’s health benefits and include suggested recipes.

A boost in stone fruit exports

Accompanying in-store activity includes on-pack labels and recipe tear-off shelf talkers, providing families with fun facts about South African plums. These aim to position the stone fruit as a fun, healthy snack for both adults and kids. Branded shrouds will also be placed in stores nationwide to give prominence to mainstream South African plum lines.

André Smit, chairperson of Hortgro Stone, comments on the industry’s current situation: “Europe is still the biggest destination for all South African stone fruit (41%), followed by the UK (28%). Strict export protocols remain a challenge and amid Covid-19, even more so. Hygiene and sanitation have become everyday terms and growers will have to ensure that they comply with all rules and regulations. Fortunately South African producers are very resilient and as an industry, I know we can continue to deliver the excellent high-quality fruit that South Africa is renowned for.”

It is currently estimated that by the end of the 2020/21 season, the stone fruit industry will have seen a 16% increase in South African nectarine exports, a 12% increase for peaches, and a staggering 40% increase for South African plums, compared to last year. The increased volumes are mainly driven by young orchards coming into production and more favourable weather conditions.

While promotional work with retailers has been one of the main focusses of this year’s campaign, this season has also seen strong support from food writers and recipe developers on social media and coverage in general consumer media publications. – Fresh Plaza