CMI broadens roll out of Heros bags

Columbia Marketing International, Wenatchee, Wash., introduced its Hero box last fall in U.S. markets. The free-standing display holds 24 2-pound bags.

“We’re trying to take advantage of high graphics, color and pouch bags,” said vice president of marketing Steve Lutz.

CMI, one of Washington’s largest grower-shippers of apples, pears and cherries, previously had used a black silhouette of a heroic figure to market its Hero brand in export markets. U.S. children and their moms had input in developing the colorful, new cartoon character that appears on domestic packages and displays.

Lutz said CMI is packing red delicious, gala, fuji and granny smith apples, sizes 138-198, in the Hero bags.

Crunch Pak Branding Snack Trays With Marvel Characters

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” opened in movie theaters nationwide April 4. By mid-May, the superhero and other Marvel characters also will start popping up in produce departments across the country on packages of sliced apples.

“Based on the popularity of the Marvel characters, we think it’s going to be an extremely popular product,” said Tony Freytag, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cashmere, Wash.-based Crunch Pak.

The movie is a sequel to “Captain America: The First Avenger.” That film, released in 2011, grossed $370 million worldwide and spawned digital comics, video games and a line a toys. A third installment in the series already is planned for 2016.

Crunch Pak’s new products are 4.75-ounce snack trays that feature apples (primarily gala or pink lady) and cubed cheese. Packed in three SKUs, the trays also feature either grapes, pretzels or a caramel dip.

Crunch Pak started a similar marketing agreement with Disney several years ago and expanded from two SKUs to 10.

Although Marvel-branded products are intended to get apples into the hands of young boys, Crunch Pak hasn’t forgotten about girls. As a cross-promotion with its partner Disney, Crunch Park shipped more than 1 million specially marked products with $3 coupons for the Blu-ray combo pack of the movie “Frozen” in mid-March. The promotion is expected to run through April 29.

National Mango Board targets kids

Kids love sweet, juicy fruit. Although mangoes fit the bill, they aren’t the easiest fruit for children to eat on their own. The good news for the industry is that availability and sales of fresh-cut mango are on the rise.

Megan McKenna, marketing director for the National Mango Board, said fresh-cut mango sales increased 62% in 2013. McKenna said that in addition to fresh-cut mango offerings, cut mangoes also are being included more often in mixed fruit trays and bowls.

So how do marketers get more mangoes into kids’ hands? The National Mango Board is targeting the primary shopper in most households — moms. The board is planning a Mother’s Day promotion with its celebrity spokesman Clinton Kelly — the co-host of “What Not to Wear” — and his mother, Terri. Kelly and his mom will share breakfast recipes — for items such as mango curd crepe cake, mango yogurt and granola bowls, and mango doughnut muffins — personal Mother’s Day stories and ideas to celebrate with national broadcast, print and online media leading up to the May 11 holiday, McKenna said.

The board also plans a Mother’s Day contest on Pinterest. McKenna said that promotion is intended to drive Web traffic and inspire moms with recipe ideas, relaxation tips and more. Moms can create contest boards on their Pinterest accounts during a 30-day promotion period scheduled to begin April 14. Winners will be announced May 16. Prizes include mangoes, a cutting board, fruit scoops, a paring knife and a spa gift card.

Stemilt Aiming to Make Kids ‘Consumers for Life’

It’s been three years since Stemilt Growers Inc., introduced Lil Snappers, but the Wenatchee, Wash.-based grower shipper isn’t done improving on the concept.

“We’re working to develop a kid brand that’s appealing to parents who want a perfectly kid-sized pieces of fruit for lunches or snacks,” said Brianna Shales, communications manager.

The line first rolled out in 2011 with 3-pound bags of small apples and pears. Sunkist Growers joined the effort a year later, bringing small oranges into the mix.

This season, Stemilt added bosc and red pears to the product offering, which already included bartlett and d’anjou pears. Lil Snappers are offered with seven different apple varieties, including Honeycrisp and Pinata.