Some of the areas where we are ahead include social media and public relations. Social media, while not expensive, require a strong commitment in order to keep posts and information fresh, whether it be the world’s largest website dedicated to pears, updated Pinterest pages, or contests on Facebook.
Your Pear Bureau is active on many forms of popular social media, which keeps us relevant among younger consumers while reaching many people of all ages in an inexpensive form of communications.
Research and data are also important in order to track change and identify opportunities. Today’s retailers are hungry for information on pears. We conduct research that the retailers, as well as our industry, can use to increase pear sales and grower returns.
The Pear Bureau has extensive data that shows retailers how they compare to their competition and helps them increase sales. We also have consumer research, tracking their purchase triggers and barriers, which helps us provide solutions and target messages to increase consumer consumption.
In the 2014-15 season, we will conduct nutrition studies, involving human trials, to help us identify health benefits that we can tout to magazines and bloggers, providing more reasons for consumers to choose pears over the other 400 to 600 items in the produce department.
It is important to look ahead and track change and trends but also important to look behind to see what is going right and what needs to be improved. We track short-term goals, such as the sales lift in a pear sampling, as well as longer metrics, such as return to growers.
The price per ton returned to the grower has doubled since 2000, and the total pounds of fresh pears consumed in the United States have increased 7 percent in the last decade.
Small successes can build into big ones. Visits to our website usapears.org have doubled in the last five years. More than 300,000 people access our website each year, searching for recipes as well as information about varieties and nutrition of pears. Our Facebook likes increased by a third last year, with nearly 50,000 people engaging us through this social media site.
These successes can help drive tomorrow’s increase in consumption and next year’s increase in grower returns.