Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE) today announced the company has again won Supermarket News' Category Excellence Award for the Produce Category.
Supermarket News, a nationally circulated weekly trade magazine for the food distribution industry, stated that “innovation this past year has run the gamut from new product introduction, to creative marketing and merchandising, to new steps toward better conservation of natural resources.”
With this award, Dole Fresh Fruit and Dole Fresh Vegetables were recognized for efforts in:
- Tying Into Consumer Trends: Introducing the second phase of salad blend reimagining with all-natural kits and the publishing of an attractive, information-packed nutrition handbook.
- Marketing/Promotions: Developing far-ranging, multimedia programs to further push banana sales, and successful use of social media, including Facebook, to spotlight salad kits and bananas.
Extensive consumer research efforts related to the re-launch of Dole’s complete line of packaged salad blends last year, found that fresh lettuce and other vegetables alone were not enough to meet consumers’ needs. Consumers wanted salad toppings and dressings included in the salad kits to be all-natural as well. In response, the company took its nine salad kits and introduced All Natural DOLE Salad Kits.
Ronda Reed, Dole Fresh Vegetables Vice President of Marketing said, “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized again for innovation in the category. This validates that the research we are doing and the focus we are placing on hearing what consumers want and responding, is gaining traction in the marketplace.”
The award also acknowledged that Dole hasn't let up either on looking for ways to sell more bananas. Such efforts as the banana diet and creative point-of-sale materials have worked in past years. This year, the company picked up on something that emerged from consumer research. Dole learned that while 95% of American households buy bananas, almost all of the fruit is consumed early in the day. Thus was born Go Bananas After Dark™, a long-term promotion designed to encourage banana lovers to enjoy their favorite fruit after the sun goes down.
“Bananas are a very mature category and as such it is difficult to move the sales needle,” said David Bright, Vice President of Marketing for Dole Fresh Fruit. “Showing consumers new ideas and recipes will truly help inspire them to use bananas more in cooking and outside of the typical breakfast and morning snack usage patterns. We believe it really is an innovative concept, and appreciate the recognition from Supermarket News and the industry.”
This marks the third year in a row Dole has received this award.
Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.