Trinity Fruit Company's Angela Hernandez and Jeri Elsasser Share Produce Marketing Insights
FRESNO, CA - The produce industry plans for both what is happening now and what it expects to happen in the future. As companies plan out their strategic expansions, marketing has a huge role to play. To learn more about how marketing helped Trinity Fruit Company’s growth, I turned to Angela Hernandez and Jeri Elsasser.
“I believe marketing for the produce industry is an absolute MUST—if you aren't advertising in trade media or participating in industry trade shows and events, you aren't staying relevant,” Angela, Director of Marketing, told me. “If you aren't moving forward, you're getting left behind. We know companies must stay on the buyers' minds if you are currently doing business, and being on their minds is CRITICAL if you hope to do business in the future.”
Jeri added that, from a consumer perspective, the industry is finally at a point where it is able to tell shoppers the stories behind the companies feeding them.
“Through creative branded packaging and social channels, we’re able to tell them what makes our company and our brand unique,” the Creative Director explained. “For so long, the industry has relied on volume-fill fruit or vegetables with the best flavor, color, and size at the best price. For many, the only way to identify a company or brand was with a simple PLU sticker or elastic band, but I believe shoppers are becoming more brand-conscious and even variety-conscious in the produce department. It is worth the marketing investment to educate consumers at the retail level.”
Trinity Fruit has seen success from its own marketing endeavors, especially as the company has grown its commodity portfolio over the last five years.
“We’ve added products such as frozen pomegranate seeds and dried pomegranate seeds, the first of which allowed us to toe the waters in the e-commerce world and wrap our heads around direct-to-consumer marketing,” Angela imparted. “In 2020, during the pandemic, we used that B2C knowledge to help us create The Fruitful Market, a sister company that sends fresh fruit boxes directly to consumers' doorsteps as subscriptions, individual shipments, or as a gift. We also have some new items in the works that should be rolling out later this year—stay tuned!”
Outside of its own successes, I wondered where both women see produce marketing headed.
“Sustainability in packaging is a major priority,” Angela commented. “While we are continually hunting for more sustainable packaging that maintains the integrity of our products, we are confident that Trinity Fruit Company is doing its part to inform consumers which materials are recyclable. We have partnered with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) to add the How2Recycle logo to our packaging to educate consumers to help alleviate problems in the recycling stream.”
Jeri added that, “I know that consumers are becoming more brand loyal, willing to follow their favorite brands on social media. I see that trending because more retailers are looking for companies with brands that have a presence on social media.”
As Angela said, stay tuned for more news from this industry mover and shaker.