Berry marketers plan to promote berries through a variety of cross-promotions, contests and social media.

Red Blossom Farms, Los Olivos, Calif., recently began a promotion in partnership with the California Milk Advisory Board to inspire the pairing of fresh strawberries with dairy products, said Michelle Deleissegues, marketing director.

The promotion, timed to kick off as California strawberry production begins peaking, gives consumers peel-off coupons to use when they buy a Real California dairy product and strawberries.

Coupons are on the top of strawberry clamshells, Deleissegues said. When unfolded, the coupon reveals a recipe and Red Blossom’s artwork.

“The milk board likes to use strawberries because they go with their products so beautifully, but also because strawberries are such a top-seller and a big draw in the retail stores that they boost (the board’s) product sales as well,” Deleissegues said.

The promotion includes point-of-purchase materials and recipes, Deleissegues said.

Another way Red Blossom is promoting berries this season is with quick-response codes on its labels.

The grower is working with retailer customers to create retail-specific promotions and recipes that can be accessed by scanning the codes, Deleissegues said. A retailer could promote its own Mother’s Day recipes or barbecue recipes, for example.

Unless they’re set up for retail-specific promotions, the QR codes route browsers to Red Blossom’s regular website.

Watsonville, Calif.-based California Giant Berry Farms this season added to its labels information about its consumer-focused promotional website, said Cindy Jewell, marketing director.

Consumers can enter contests and sweepstakes online. California Giant uses social media and QR codes on packages to publicize contests.

A Summer Smoothie Sweepstakes began April 30. The contest is a joint promotion with Hamilton Beach, which markets kitchen appliances. Each week for six weeks, a winner will receive a Hamilton Beach smoothie blender, Jewell said.

“We’re having fun creating different promotions to make it easier for people to learn how to make smoothies,” Jewell said. “People are doing more breakfast at home … so why not a smoothie sweepstakes?”

After the smoothie sweepstakes wraps up, California Giant will focus on a baseball sweepstakes promotion, Jewell said. California Giant was still working with the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco sports radio station KNBR on the details of the promotion in late April, she said.

Retailer partners will have tags on the end of radio spots, and there will be activities at the ballpark.

Among the baseball sweepstakes prizes will be gift certificates to Play It Again Sports stores, Jewell said.

“We like Play It Again Sports because they’re locally owned, they encourage recycling and they make sporting gear affordable for families,” Jewell said.

Radio spots are to run throughout baseball season. The sweepstakes promotion is expected to run from July 4 into August.

In late April, judges chose winners in eight categories for the Sweet Taste of Spring recipe contest, which it held in partnership with kitchen accessories company Chef’n.

The grand prize winner was a recipe for blueberry corn fritters. All eight winning recipes will be featured on California Giant’s website, Jewell said.

The contest ran during March and into early April.

Jewell said the contest generated many good recipes, including some surprising and interesting ideas, such as spicy blueberry empanadas and potato blueberry dumplings.

In addition to contests, California Giant’s consumer-focused marketing strategies include social media sites Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Pinterest. For about two years, California Giant’s labels have featured Quick Response codes that consumers can scan with their smartphones.

Jewell said about two-thirds of the company’s website hits are generated through scans of those QR codes.

Gourmet Trading Co., Los Angeles, is pushing SuperBlues this season, said Julia Inestroza, marketing director.

SuperBlues blueberries measure a minimum of 19 millimeters. They are packed in 5, 10, and 16-ounce sizes.

Gourmet Trading offers its retailer customers SuperBlues point-of-sales materials to help promote sales.

It also promotes SuperBlues with an online list of serving ideas and recipes at, and through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Gourmet Trading has ongoing social media photo and recipe contests, which started this spring, Inestroza said.