Marissa Ritter Breaks Down Naturipe Farms' Back-to-School Season Promotions
SALINAS, CA - School is now back in session for many across the country, and that means your shoppers are in more need than ever for health and convenience. What better solution than Naturipe Farms’ vast portfolio? As Marissa Ritter tells me, Naturipe has just the supplies and strategies for a successful back-to-school season.
“Just like for students, the back-to-school season kicks off a busy fall for Naturipe Farms. We’re in the early stages of transitioning from our domestic blueberry crop to imports from Peru, but weather has been a challenge with El Niño and as such we are late getting started and volumes will be light until November,” Marissa, Naturipe’s Marketing Manager, explains to me. “The fall California strawberry season is also starting up and is looking to be a great quality crop with strong volumes. We’re also gearing up for a busy few months with several industry events that will culminate at International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) Big Show in October.”
For now, Naturipe is highlighting its blueberries—which are coming out of peak domestic season in Michigan and the Pacific Northwest—through mid-September. Not only do blueberries make for a great snack throughout the day, but the grower also celebrated this delicious berry in Michigan at the annual National Blueberry Festival, where the jumbo Mighty Blues™ proved to be the star of the show.
Back-to-school timing also aligns with Naturipe’s late summer and fall strawberry peak, which is a great time for retailers to promote strawberries. Raspberry promotions are also on the horizon as the peak season comes in September. If your shoppers can’t get enough of this category, Naturipe has the supplies to satisfy their demands—even cranberries.
“Believe it or not, cranberry season also starts during the back-to-school period, so we’ll have promotions going on for those as well,” continues Marissa. “Most people associate cranberries with later in the fall and Thanksgiving, but we always like to remind retailers and shoppers that they are available starting in September.”
With so many healthy berries making up the patch, trends and promotions for healthy indulgences continue to entice shoppers thanks to Naturipe Snacks™ Bentos and Berry Parfaits.
“Our Bentos and Parfaits are perfect for school lunches. They’re a convenient and healthy addition to a retailer’s grab-and-go section, making them a hit with shoppers looking for nutritious school lunch options,” Marissa says. “Parents will want to start the school year off strong with nutritious lunches that feature berries and other fresh fruits. In the produce section, we recommend retailers set up a specific ‘back-to-school’ display at the front of the section with a variety of berry options. Retailers can also offer a variety of pack sizes so that parents can pick a smaller one for snacking or a larger pack to last them a full week of lunches.”
As the value-added sector continues to grow, Naturipe is expanding its own team to bring retailers and consumers new products. The grower just welcomed Matt Lyons, Director of Business Development for Value-Added Fresh, to the team. He’ll be focused on expanding Naturipe’s footprint in foodservice and retail channels, as well as contributing to new product development.
More exciting releases are on the way, Marissa tells me. The company will be announcing a few new additions to its premium products portfolio in the coming months. Naturipe has been working on these behind the scenes for years and is excited to offer them to retailers and consumers soon.
So, check back often as we continue to report.