SweeTango® Apple Crop Promises High Returns for Retailers
SWEDESBORO, NJ - Apple season is in full swing, and SweeTango® is one brand that is reaping the rewards for its hard work and harvesting efforts. Just three weeks into its 2020 apple seaon, the variety has already seen great sales growth across the board with even more demand increases on the horizon. In order to capitalize on this, the brand and grower cooperative behind it, Next Big Thing, are preparing to launch a new marketing strategy.
"Our focus this season is on powering consumer pull-through, since food at home is where it is now and will be for a while,” said Jennifer Parkhill, Executive Director of Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative. “So we’ll be online, on air, and in print where our target audiences are.”
The SweeTango harvest got its start in Washington’s warmer climates early in the season, and is now making its way to the cooler East and Midwest regions where it will round out its harvest. According to a press release, this shift has made for great apple quality on this year’s crop.
“This is the best eating fruit we’ve ever had—grab any bin coming in from the field; it’s top-level stuff. The packinghouse smells like a candy factory, the aroma stays on your clothes like cologne,” explained Austin Fowler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Fowler Farms. “We are really excited to have this quality of fruit this year, that makes us an easy choice for retailers and consumers.”
Growers who are part of the SweeTango collective are reporting bold, flavorful apples that they are deeming “vintage” because of the quality of the fruit. The collective of growers works together across several states and provinces in Canada to bring the apple variety to harvest, and the collaborative efforts between the the growers and packers is what makes the SweeTango variety special.
“We’ve got a vintage crop. The quality, condition, and eating experience are outstanding,” said Scott Swindeman, Owner of Applewood Fresh Growers. “That creates opportunities for us to work with retailers to promote and advertise this apple to consumers like never before. We grow and pack fruit in five states and two Canadian provinces, so we coordinate across five time zones to get this apple to market. This brand has succeeded because our regional sales desks do a great job of working together, all pulling as a team from the same end of the rope to get great product in front of consumers.”
Because of the exceptional quality and taste of the SweeTango crop, interest from a variety of retailers has been sparked. The distribution of retailers ranges from big-box stores to organic retailers, and many more.
“Our growing season was fantastic; the fruit has great color and sugars. And [in Washington state] we got the crop off the trees before the fire winds hit,” said Roger Pepperl, Marketing Director of Stemilt Growers. “We have really wide distribution this year, with more participation from a broader variety of retailers, from the local and regional upscale markets, to the national chains and big-box retailers.”
Pepperl also noted that SweeTango has developed a strong organic following, remarking that, “Organic has become the real deal; lots of organic retailers are jumping into SweeTango.”
As SweeTango apples are appearing in more retailer locations than ever before, the brand has upped its marketing game by introducing innovative and exciting new marketing campaigns. It also partnered with the influencer team behind The Produce Moms, who recently teased a new animated series soon to be released.
“With COVID, a lot of the usual person-to-person marketing tactics have been wiped out. We’ve had to get more creative to reach consumers,” commented Fowler. “We even wrote a jingle—we think we may be the first apple variety to have a jingle. Retailers have bit on that hard. We want to target markets where we’ve historically had good customers and good movement, and build on that—we don’t want anyone to miss out in such a great year.”
To garner further shopper support, SweeTango has announced that its new website will be launching soon, and it will incorporate a zip code-based store locator that will help consumers find the sweet apples in their area.
As part of its continued support of the community, SweeTango is also unveiling its Crunch with Care humanitarian campaign to help those in need. The company will donate to local food banks as it aims to provide solutions for those struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are proud to be essential to feeding America’s families, and want to help Americans be healthier and happier right now,” continued Fowler.
The SweeTango apples are now available in 3-lb pouches to appeal to shoppers who are buying in bulk. The brand has reported that is has also shifted almost 5 percent of its SweeTango crop from bulk to bagged as it pivots to meet consumer demand.
What will the rest of this highly coveted season hold for the SweeTango brand? We look forward to finding out and enjoying one of these delicious apples as we continue to watch the harvest unfold.