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A pear industry task force is recommending that the Pear Bureau Northwest and pear shippers and marketers work more closely together when setting up retail promotions on the domestic market.

The task force was established early in 2010, following a Pear Bureau strategic planning meeting, to review the way the bureau communicates with fruit sales desks and allocates its promotional resources.

Kevin Moffitt, president of the Pear Bureau, said the way pears are promoted has changed over the last decade. Nowadays, many of the larger ­marketers do retail ­promotions also.

The task force presented recommendations to the Pear Bureau board in November. The proposals are designed to avoid overlap or duplication between the branded promotions and the Pear Bureau’s generic pear promotions, and to streamline the process.

“The policies we have been working under have been in place for ten years,” Moffitt said. “A lot of what we’re changing are just updates to fit new realities. It really is refining and improving our communication and collaboration with the sales organizations and shippers in general.”

Recommendations

The task force made three recommendations:

  •  Shippers should contact the Pear Bureau to discuss promotions they would like to arrange with a retailer (for example, a sampling program). If the Pear Bureau feels that collaboration in the promotion is appropriate, it will decide what level of funds or support materials (sampling kits, brochures, displays, or point-of-sale materials, for example) it can provide. Pear Bureau staff will keep the board updated on requests it receives from shippers.
  • The Pear Bureau will notify shippers when it has arranged promotions with retailers so that shippers will have better opportunities to help the retailer fulfill those promotional activities.
  • The Pear Bureau will share with shippers some of the information it provides to retailers about consumer research and retail display and pricing data. Much of this information will be provided through its member Web site.

Moffitt said he felt the changes were positive. “I think we’ve come through with some excellent recommendations and a better understanding of how the sales desks can utilize our information and how we can tap into the sales desk strategies.”

The task force was scheduled to meet again in December, in conjunction with the Washington State Horticultural Association’s annual meeting in Yakima, to discuss various scenarios regarding the assessment that growers pay to the Pear Bureau for promotions. Many of the sales organizations also charge growers for promotions. Moffitt said the task force might consider funding retail promotions in a different way and look for a good balance between the two assessments that growers are paying.

Discussion

He expected that discussion of the assessment issues would continue until the Pear Bureau’s budget meeting in April, and possibly until the annual meeting in early June.

Serving on the task force are: Ron Rivers, grower, of Hood River, Oregon; Rob Peterson of Duckwall-Pooley Fruit Company, Odell, Oregon; Ray Schmitten, grower, of Cashmere, Washington; Randy Abhold of Rainier Fruit Company, Selah, Washington; Bryon McDougall of McDougall Fruit Company, Wenatchee, Washington; and Mike Taylor of Stemilt Growers, Inc., Wenatchee.