Accelerating Demand for Blueberries

Last week, over 150 industry stakeholders gathered in Richland, Washington, to participate in USHBC’s promotions committee meeting and hear the latest on USHBC’s efforts to increase consumer demand for blueberries. The Promotions Committee led by Chair, Bob Carini, gathered on Thursday, October 3rd to hear about the domestic consumer, health and food service programs designed…

Last week, over 150 industry stakeholders gathered in Richland, Washington, to participate in USHBC’s promotions committee meeting and hear the latest on USHBC’s efforts to increase consumer demand for blueberries.

The Promotions Committee led by Chair, Bob Carini, gathered on Thursday, October 3rd to hear about the domestic consumer, health and food service programs designed to encourage consumers to eat more blueberries.  Adam Brohimer, President of Category Partners, shared recently conducted U.S. Nielsen retail sales data highlighting performance in the category for fresh and frozen blueberries. From 2017-2018, fresh blueberry volume is up 5.2% and dollars are up 9.3% while total fruit sales were only up 0.8%.

Adam Brohimer, president of Category Partners, shared recent Nielsen retail sales data highlighting performance in the category for fresh and frozen blueberries. He highlighted that from 2017-2018, fresh blueberry volume was up 5.2% and dollars were up 9.3%, while total fruit sales were only up 0.8%. He also shared a seasonal analysis report showing blueberry sales and volume throughout the year.

Victoria De Bruin, marketing manager for USHBC, highlighted research for the 2019 Usage and Attitude (U&A) Study and a health professional study conducted this summer. Health awareness of the benefits of blueberries rebounded in 2019 to 63% from 57% in 2017. De Bruin also shared that for our current target audience referred to as fruit lovers (moderate users) and foodies (heavy users) intent to purchase blueberries in the next month rose to 76% from 62% in 2017. She explained that these studies will serve as baseline measures for our programs, and results are being used to inform our 2020 plan targeting new consumer segments, fondly referred to as Overwhelmed Young Families and Fun-Loving Freshness Fans. 

De Bruin also shared that the council funded a large, long-term human study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May. The research study found that participants with metabolic syndrome who consumed the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries, given as 26g of freeze-dried blueberries, showed clinically relevant changes in measures of heart health. More than a year ago, USHBC began developing plans for promoting the findings of this important study to millions of health professionals and blueberry users nationwide. 

The Council’s agency, Padilla, presented results from the 2019 consumer, health and food service plan and the first quarter Positively Bluetiful plan for 2020 to reach fruit lovers (moderate blueberry users) and Foodies (heavy users). The plan included a digital advertising campaign, influencer marketing, social media content strategies, retail shopping activations and media coverage.

The council’s communication and advertising agency, Padilla, presented results from the 2019 consumer, health and food service plan and the first quarter “Positively Bluetiful” plan for 2020 to reach our target audience of fruit lovers and foodies. The plan included a digital advertising campaign, influencer marketing, social media content strategies, retail shopping activations and media coverage. 

The Promotion Committee’s request for $4.5 million for promotion and marketing was approved by the board for 2020. The committee will be convening an additional meeting in Dallas, Nov. 5-6, 2019, to review new agency proposals for USHBC’s food service program as well as finalize marketing and promotion tactics for Q2 through Q4 of 2020. If you would like to learn more about our campaign efforts, please contact USHBC Marketing Manager Victoria De Bruin at vdebruin@blueberry.org.