Promoting small fruit to kids took a big leap forward in January with the addition of fresh Sunkist oranges to Stemilt Growers’ successful Lil Snappers line of Washington apples and pears.

Julie DeWolf, director of retail marketing for Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Sunkist Growers Inc., said the first 3-pound bags of navels, minneolas, cara caras and moro blood oranges shipped Jan. 14, with mandarins to follow.

“I love having the focus on kids with the fun, cute graphics, and helping people understand that this is small fruit for children,” DeWolf said.

She said a number of retailers are rolling out the Sunkist bags this month, and one chain is planning a big Valentine’s Day promotion featuring a Sunkist and a Stemilt bag.

“We’re excited about the lineup of items and about combining our products with Stemilt’s to create a portfolio of products,” DeWolf said.

To support the program, the companies launched a joint website Jan. 14 geared to kids at

The companies will use the same quick-response code to direct shoppers to a mobile version of the site.

Sunkist is shipping its Lil Snappers citrus bags in high-graphic display-ready trays.

“We tried to give retailers an instant solution to merchandising,” DeWolf said.

“We want them to be able to take these trays and drop them on the floor, ready to go.”

The trays are stackable, and a small pedestal about a foot high keeps them off the ground.

She said Sunkist’s new quarter bin will allow retailers to stack two trays vertically, both accessible to shoppers.

The next phase of the project, combining Stemilt and Sunkist fruit in one bag, should begin by early March, she said.

Stemilt launched the Lil Snappers grab-and-go bags in fall 2011.

DeWolf said the new partnership aims to get more servings of fruit into kids’ hands.