You have probably heard the saying: “What is old is new again.” I contend that today one could also say: “What is new is old again — very quickly.” Change comes faster than ever. Today’s realities will likely be different next month. We at Pear Bureau Northwest continue to be nimble and open to change, ready to adjust our focus and direction to reach consumers as their buying habits change and to reach retailers as they adjust shopping formats and add new promotion opportunities.

Kevin Moffitt

Pears are still an impulse item, so we need to generate impulse purchases even when the consumer is not shopping in the physical store. We reach consumers before they shop, while they are shopping and after their shopping trip.

Before they shop, we reach them with advertising and communications on social media. We reach them while they shop as well, whether that shopping is done in store or online. Today’s reality includes the fact that many consumers continue to do a lot of their grocery shopping online. Consequently, we are doing more online promotion, including digital coupons and banner ads on retailers’ platforms.

Some of the banner ads will pop up when consumers search certain words, such as fresh fruit and fruit snacks, or even in cross promotions with packaged salads or cheese. Other banners will show up on the produce home page. We also have banners that pop up just before consumers check out — a healthier take on that gum and candy you see at the checkout aisle at your local supermarket, placed there to grab your attention while waiting in line.

We also partner with high-profile companies to grab a larger audience. This season’s partnerships are planned with Pillsbury, Dole, Cabot Cheese and Litehouse Foods. The promotions revolve around shoppable recipe ads that show consumers how they can use your pears in recipes with these popular brands, and purchase all the ingredients with a touch of the button.

In store, we reach consumers with attractive signage and sampling, which can drive immediate purchase even among non-pear buyers. We also set up sales and display contests that create large, attention-getting displays. Retail display space is at a premium. We are competing with an average of over 1,000 different items in retail produce departments. Sales and display contests increase display space and move volume.

Another way we gain space at retail is with attractive retail display bins. Last year, we developed and placed high-graphic display bins in 2,500 stores — giving us an additional 7,500 square feet of display space for your pears. Each bin had a scan code that consumers could scan with their phone and then watch short videos of growers in their beautiful orchards talking about ripening pears and different flavor profiles.

We reach and engage consumers in their leisure hours as well, making use of all the major social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and TikTok. After they shop, or any time in between, we reach them with our website, offering hundreds of inspirational pear recipes and loads of useful information such as ripening and storage tips and nutrition and health benefit information.

However, today’s consumers are bombarded with advertising and social media messages, and their attention spans are shrinking. Today’s consumers have the same attention span of a goldfish, which is about 8 seconds. So, we need to continue to adjust to keep our messaging relevant and effective by being informational, fun, surprising and engaging.

Retail buyers’ attention spans are not much longer than those of consumers. So, we provide them relevant information in small chunks that they will listen to and, more importantly, utilize. Our team reaches out to retailers several times a year, providing fact-based, actionable data and promotion opportunities. We can generate all the interest in the world among consumers, but we need retailers to buy, stock and merchandise your pears with big displays in good locations.

Sixty-one percent of our pear consumer households are now of the Gen Z and millennial generations, with a head of household under 42 years old. We have been successful in capturing the younger consumers who buy more varieties and use them in more recipes. They are active on social media, and that is where we reach them. But we need to be there in an attention-getting way to grab their attention, interact with them and entice those consumers to learn about and purchase your pears.

Not all realities are in the physical world these days. There is virtual reality, and a new reality we will be employing in the coming season is augmented reality. To grab consumers’ attention in a fun way, and show them how they can enjoy pears, we have developed an augmented reality experience where we will inspire consumers to enhance everyday recipes by including pears. This new reality is seen on their phone where they will see pear inspiration floating in front of their eyes, overlapping with the physical world.

You can see how it works by opening your phone’s camera app and pointing it to the QR code below.

Send us a screenshot image of the result shown over this article, the magazine cover or in your place of business or orchard, and we will send you a prize. Check it out to see how realities are blurring in today’s world.

All pears all the time. •

by Kevin Moffitt