Honeybear Brands' Don Roper Discusses Pazazz and Key Messaging
ELGIN, MN - When I think of apples, there is rarely any one single season or occasion anymore, that comes to mind. They have essentially made their way into every holiday spread, every lunchbox, every kitchen—the entire year-round.
With such a competitive category anchoring displays in the produce department, I checked in with Don Roper, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Honeybear Brands and Pazazz apple-lover, to see what retailers can do to take their programs up a notch this fall and winter.
Q: What advantages and benefits does the Pazazz program bring to the retail produce department in terms of flavor, differentiation, and quality?
Don Roper: First and foremost, it all starts with unparalleled flavor. When a produce manager brings Pazazz in to their store, it’s a differentiating variety from day one, offering unrivaled flavor—a perfect balance of sweet and tart that appeals to almost every customer palette—as well as an unrivaled crunch factor that creates a wow apple eating experience each and every time.
With five years of consumer research in over 200 test markets throughout North America, we have been able see first-hand the strong consumer appeal and adoption of the Pazazz variety driven by one overriding factor: an exceptional eating experience.
Q: What are the advantages and benefits of tapping into the Pazazz program for retail sales and year-over-year growth?
DR: There are two distinct advantages for the Pazazz Retailer partnership. First, we are growing a premium, high-quality and fantastic-flavored apple with proven consumer appeal. We get Pazazz into the hands of our best retail partners to help them deliver a great new product to their customers. We’ve also seen incredible loyalty from Pazazz customers. Data we’ve collected across our sales regions indicates an expectation and anticipation from customers who return to their local stores to ask for Pazazz by name. This strong repeat purchase is critical for our retail partners.
Second, we provide extensive marketing support for our retail partners. We work with retailers who excel at promotion and new product introductions, and we support the rollout with many ancillary marketing tools and tactics. It is a huge task to introduce new varieties and products to the marketplace and we support the retailers complete process from POS, social, and digital platforms way down to traditional media outlets and in-store demos. The retailer is the conduit to the consumer; we support all of their efforts in the best and most seamless manner possible.
Q: As new apples are introduced to the marketplace, how does Pazazz add to incremental sales dollar growth versus just cannibalizing existing sales?
DR: We are seeing many of the legacy varieties declining in sales, and in some cases disappearing from certain retailers’ apple decks. There is a huge “trading out” of sales dollars and volume to new high performing varieties such as Pazazz. Why is this happening? Simple—the consumer is voting with their dollar in hand; they are looking for new great flavored varieties such as Honeycrisp, Pazazz, and others that give them a truly great eating experience. In fact, Pazazz is driving incremental sales and sustaining increases in sales in the apple category for our retail partners. We are truly in the most exciting times in the apple aisle—greatly improved varieties appealing to increasingly more people, pushing apple category sales even higher.
As an industry, for the past 30 years, we focused on eye appeal and getting our products through the supply chain versus giving our retail partners and their consumers world class eating varieties. That has changed. Give the consumer a great product to get excited about and great things happen!
Q: As we move into 2018, what can we expect from the Honeybear Pazazz program?
DR: Flavor, of course—that’s a given. And significantly increased production of Pazazz as our harvests in Washington, up and down the Mississippi River Valley, and from Canada to New York will be larger than ever and more bountiful. Production will drive more sales for more retailers in more markets than ever before with broad North American production. And we’re expecting to see Pazazz as the most directly requested premium apple variety in stores across North America.
With the increased scale of production and retail distribution across North America, more consumers than ever before will have their first chance at experiencing Pazazz and this new wonderful flavor spectrum that it brings to the category—a true “Wow” experience—exciting times indeed.
As we continue to see more and more differentiation in the apple category, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow as we bring you some of the most exciting programs from around the industry.