Sun Pacific's Victoria Nuevo-Celeste Discusses Full Line of Citrus Offerings
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY, CA - While the fall months may bring cooler temperatures and overcast days to the Sunshine State, Sun Pacific is brightening up produce departments with its full line of citrus offerings. The company is forecasting an amazing season of growth with increased Cuties® supplies, strategic partnerships, and a host of promotional opportunities to drive citrus sales at retail.
Victoria Nuevo-Celeste, Vice President of Marketing, joins me to discuss the company’s varietal spread, and what opportunities retailers can tap into during the California citrus season.
“The demand for Sun Pacific citrus is exceptional. Our farming and packing expertise allows us to deliver the highest quality and best tasting products that consumers and customers appreciate,” Victoria tells me. “In addition, Cuties consumption continues to grow, with $/store/wk increasing every single year. This past season the growth was 18% compared to a year ago. This is the result of a perfect combination of great quality, excellent in-store display execution, and exciting consumer marketing.”
Victoria also shares that Mandarins are the segment with the highest dollar sales representing 40% of the total citrus category with double-digit annual growth year over year.
“We have significantly increased our supply of Tango and Murcott Cuties varieties with new strategic alliances with outside growers, and existing acreage coming into peak production. Sun Pacific continues to capture consumers' attention through our robust marketing support behind Cuties, driving brand preference and category growth,” Victoria says. She also shares that the company is concentrating its media efforts on the top communication platforms that Sun Pacific’s millennial mothers are consuming, especially digitally.
In addition to the highly sought-after Cuties program, Sun Pacific is invigorating the navel category with the launch of Vintage Sweets® Heirloom Navels, grown in the company’s best old-line groves, and carefully selected through sensory aspects like touching, feeling, smelling, and tasting, ensuring juicy, sweet perfection.
“Consumer feedback for Vintage Sweets has been very positive and its acceptance confirms that consumers are willing to pay a premium price for produce that provides superior quality and flavor,” Victoria adds. “Vintage Sweets combine sensory and scientific inspection that results in an exceptional eating experience from January to May.”
This season, Sun Pacific will bring more vibrant Cuties packaging that brings its Lil’ Zipper icon to life, enhancing the brand experience in-store. And with existing and new acreage coming into peak production and with new stronger outside grower relationships, the company expects to support more promotional activity with its Tango and Murcott variety Cuties in the second half of the season.
Sun Pacific has also developed a display-ready navel orange pallet for bulk or bag navels packed in high-graphic, open top, Euro cartons, and newly designed high-graphic poly/mesh bags to energize the growth of California Navel orange sales.
"We allocate a significant portion of our marketing spend on customer-specific programs," Victoria adds. "We encourage our retailer partners to take advantage of our attractive and functional POS materials and our support for in-store merchandising contests to tap into the creativity of their store personnel, and watch them drive sales. Our marketing team will work directly with retailer teams to develop creative social marketing campaigns that reach and invite their customers to take advantage of our peak season citrus."
Sun Pacific grows Navels, including Heirloom Navels, under the Vintage Sweets™ brand, and Valencias. Production of regular Navels is consistent from November through June, and Valencias from April through October. Vintage Sweets are at their peak between January and June, when the company harvests on demand. Under the Cuties program, Sun Pacific is harvesting Clementines from early November to early January and W. Murcotts and Tangos between mid-January and April. Lisbon lemons are available from mid-October thru April.
It looks to be a sweet citrus season for Sun Pacific and the company’s retail partners as we move into the holiday push and increasing demand.