- TYING INTO CONSUMER TRENDS: Went into second phase of its salad blend redo with all-natural kits; published attractive, info-packed nutrition handbook.
- MARKETING/PROMOTIONS: Developed far-ranging, multimedia program to further push banana sales, and successfully used social media, including Facebook, to spotlight salad kits and bananas.
DOLE PRODUCE, FOR THE third year in a row, has been voted tops for innovation by its customers and others in the industry.
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.
As part of an extensive consumer research effort related to the relaunch of its salad blends last year, Dole found that it wasn't enough that Dole lettuce and other vegetables were natural. 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 made them completely all-natural. In addition, we added all-natural, creamy coleslaw,” Chris Mayhew, director of marketing, Dole Fresh Vegetables, told SN.
Dole hasn't let up either on looking for ways to sell more bananas. Such efforts as its 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.
COMPANY TO WATCH
C.H. ROBINSON: The company was cited by nominators for maintaining the efficiency of its transportation system, even through recent, stressful times. Such a system, described earlier by company officials as utilizing a combination of the best technology and person-to-person contact, undoubtedly helped maintain speed of delivery and maintenance of product quality. Innovation was not slowed by tough economic times either, according to officials. “Even through the economic downturn, we continued to invest in our business, our technology, and our relationships so that we could support our customers' focus on running a competitive supply chain,” a company spokesman said. “A great example of our innovation includes our floral solutions program, which aids the floral industry by adapting customer-specific requirements to a flexible logistics solution focused on supply chain management.”