Table Grape Season Off To Strong Start

The 2012 California table grape season kicked off during the first week of May, with initial shipments of grapes coming out of the Coachella Valley. Shipments from the Coachella Valley will continue into July as the harvest moves up the state to the San Joaquin Valley. The 2012 season is expected to run from May through January 2013.

“The climate in California’s table grape growing regions is ideal for growing quality table grapes,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “The climatic conditions, combined with the rich experience and commitment of California’s table grape growers, continue to produce the grapes that consumers have grown to love and prefer.”

California produces 98% of U.S. table grapes, and commission research shows that 99% of consumers prefer California grapes over imported.

The commission’s trade and consumer marketing campaigns will run throughout the 2012 season, with a strong focus on the health attributes and versatility of usage of California grapes. The goal is simple: to maintain preference and increase consumption, giving both consumers and retailers more reasons to ask for grapes from California.

Working with celebrity chef and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, the commission will implement numerous programs and contests to promote grapes from California as the “original super snack.” Super as in simple, flavorful, nutritious, and portable.

Consumers will be reached through blogger, magazine and newspaper outreach, and expanded communication through online media, including a mobile website accessed via quick response codes.

For the third season, the commission is partnering with the Food Network. This includes full-page ads and adjoining chef advertorials in Food Network Magazine, a “Fresh Picks for Grapes” landing page on foodnetwork.com, and TV ads showcasing chefs and how they use grapes from California.

The commission will be exhibiting at regional and national produce tradeshows and targeting signed promotion agreements with retailers. Other trade marketing initiatives include tagged banner ads and print ads through Food Network, traffic radio, and trade advertising.

Rounding out the domestic campaign is foodservice marketing, which includes menu developer outreach, foodservice editorial, and the sponsorship of school salad bars. The commission will also continue to support California’s table grape growing community, offering numerous scholarships and grants for both teachers and students.

Finally, with more than 40% of the crop exported to more than 60 countries around the world, key export markets will be supported with retail promotions, merchandising, point-of-sale materials, and consumer research. Multinational retailers and in-country chains in select markets will receive additional in-store grape sampling days and retailer tagged advertising in both print and online media.

“There’s a strong story to tell about grapes from California,” says Nave.” The programs planned for 2012 will ensure that trade and consumers around the world hear that story and continue their support for California grapes.”

The California Table Grape Commission was created by the state Legislature in 1967 to increase worldwide demand for fresh California grapes through a variety of research and promotional programs.

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