(Oct. 30, 5:42 p.m.) ORLANDO, Fla. — Columbia Marketing International Corp. has plenty of merchandising ideas for retailers carrying the Wenatchee, Wash.-based company’s apples.

CMI was so sold on its farm stand bin after testing it last year that it’s making 1,000 of the units available to retailers this season.

Vice president of marketing Bob Mast said Oct. 25 during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit that the display ships just like a normal apple bin with the components, tote bags and 10 cases of fruit inside.

The bin has dividers and displays up to four varieties.

CMI also has a free-standing display for its Grapple promotion. Both Columbia Marketing and Selah, Wash.-based Rainier Fruit Co. are offering free soccer balls and air pumps to consumers who mail in three Universal Product Codes from four-count clamshells.

“Soccer is huge,” said marketing manager Brett Bursdal. “There are more kids playing soccer than any other sport in the country.”

CMI also has a new free-standing display that holds five euro cartons of Ambrosia apples. CMI is the exclusive marketer of that variety in the U.S., Mast said.

The company also is testing a bin targeting children. The bin includes a coin box so that children can pay 25 cents and eat a 125-count or 130-count apple in the store.

Finally, CMI is marketing giant, 60-count pears from Fresno, Calif.-based Bouquet of Fruits. The bosc pears are dipped in chocolate and caramel and rolled in walnuts. Mast said the product will sell for $8-10 in upscale stores.

PMA 2008: Columbia Marketing offers apple ideas
Columbia Marketing International is testing an apple bin with a coin box that allows children to buy small-size apples for a quarter and then eat the fruit in the store.