In spite of aggressive marketing, the pomegranate’s well-known health benefits and its star role in everything from juice to shampoo, relatively few U.S. consumers are familiar with the fruit. Sources say they’re working hard to change that.

“We’ve spent a lot of time, effort and money promoting poms, but in every household penetration I’ve seen — whether it’s for juice, fresh fruit or arils — the number is very low,” said Brad Paris, vice president and general manager of Los Angeles-based Pom Wonderful.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement and growth.”

In early November, Pom Wonderful plans a freestanding insert in national Sunday newspapers with a coupon for fresh pomegranates, Paris said.

An insert promoting arils will appear in 2013.

“We hope the coupon will get new people in the category and give longstanding customers a reason to go to the store and buy one,” Paris said.

Madera, Calif.-based Western Fresh Marketing Services Inc. is shooting a promotional DVD to introduce its two pomegranate growers to consumers.

Sales and import manager Chris Kragie is offering the DVD to retailers with TV screens in the produce department.

“With everything that’s going on with cantaloupes and food safety, we feel the more we can connect the consumer to the grower and show them what the fruit is about, the more it’s going to increase their trust in the fruit and increase consumption,” Kragie said.

The DVD idea, which worked well with the broker’s fig deal, will take viewers from the field to the packing shed and include recipes to be demonstrated in-store.

“We’ll also show people how to open the fruit and make their own arils,” he said.

For its fig promotion, Western Fresh partnered with the California Fig Advisory Board to provide point-of-sale materials such as brochures and tear-off recipe cards.

“That’s the next step with pomegranates,” Kragie said.

“It hasn’t been a big item for us, but now it’s increasing and we have a small budget to work with.”

Since late July, Reedley, Calif.-based D.J. Forry Co. has been driving consumers to its redesigned website, one step in the campaign to promote the 40-year-old company’s new brand.

“We want to communicate to the mom out there with children and talk about the health benefits not only of pomegranates but of all the items we market,” said vice president of marketing Ray England.

Forry also plans to shoot videos with its growing partners and show consumers how to open a pomegranate. But it won’t be the slick approach Pom Wonderful employs in its current You Tube video: “How to Open a Pomegranate in Six Movements.”

“Ours is going to revolve around family,” England said.

“To us it’s about a mom with her daughter or son making an event of peeling a pomegranate, getting the kids involved and ending up with a healthy snack.”