The pandemic impacted pear marketing plans, but the Pear Bureau Northwest was able to quickly pivot from in-store tastings and displays to digital ads and social media marketing, president Kevin Moffitt told his board of directors and other industry members at the board’s annual meeting, held via webinar on Thursday.

“The COVID crisis is just amplifying many of the consumer trends” the Pear Bureau was already adapting to, Moffitt said. “We’re just trying to ensure that we can get pears in front of consumers in a digital world.”

For example, a sponsored search promotion on a grocery store app, suggesting pears to consumers shopping for “fruit,” returned $20 in pear sales for every $1 spent on the trial campaign, Moffitt said. Other promotions include shoppable recipe videos — click and the ingredients are loaded into your digital grocery cart — banner ads at online stores and partnering with social media influencers.

While shipments have slowed since the onset of the pandemic, fruit movement is starting to pick up again, he added. Overall, 91 percent of the 16.5-million-box crop has sold, he said. 

When it comes to this year’s crop, the board discussed expectations for a near-average crop in most of the growing districts but declined to release a crop forecast until further into the growing season. 

The board voted to continue assessments at the existing rate of .463 cents per box and approved a $10 million budget that reflected the pandemic-related shifts in both domestic and international marketing efforts. 

by Kate Prengaman