Watermelon Board Ramps up Research to Help Grow Sales
The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB) is getting back to basics in order to whet the appetites of more consumers. Jesse Wiggins, NWPB’s President, says the Central Florida-based organization is investing in comprehensive research — particularly on the nutrition side — to uncover and create new opportunities.
Studies will look at watermelon’s potential effects on weight loss and digestive health; impacts on post-exercise recovery; compounds in watermelon flesh, rind and seeds; as well as effects of juice to support cardiometabolic health, according to Wiggins. “We’re looking holistically at consumer behavior, nutrition research, retail data, and menu trends to market watermelon in different niches,” he stated in a prepared news release.
NWPB also is leveraging the plant-based food trend. It will participate in The Culinary Institute of America’s Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit to get the cucurbit in front of food distributors and restaurant operators who are implementing these trends.
Stephanie Barlow, NWPB’s Senior Director of Communications, added that the outreach campaign will deliver easy applications for consumers that are big on flavor, as well as demonstrate watermelon’s journey from field to table. “People want to have a personal, emotional connection with their product choices,” she stated. “We’re turning watermelon into that experience with our new ‘Back to Basics’ consumer campaign.”
Through NWPB’s retail program, merchandising representatives and watermelon queens will conduct in-store activations that promote flavor pairings, handling and selection information, and ideas for using the whole watermelon. It also will be launching a new retail kit to provide resources and tools for in-store employees.
“The market is shaping up nicely, and the growers will be really happy as long as watermelons keep moving,” Wiggins concluded.