Chiquita's Jamie Postell Discusses Marketing Prowess and the Canadian Market
- by Maggie Mead
MONTREAL, CANADA - This year’s CPMA Convention and Trade Show is going to be totally bananas. At least it will be once you stop by Chiquita Brands’ booth. The banana company will be ready and waiting to connect with attendees and show off its impressive wares. Chiquita Brands Director of Sales, North America, Jamie Postell, spoke with me about the banana’s strong presence in the Canadian produce market, the company’s marketing prowess, and the evolution of Chiquita’s iconic Blue Sticker.
“The banana category continues to be well-positioned in the produce section,” said Jamie. “Bananas are a great source of fiber and heart healthy fats, providing the feeling of staying fuller longer. The fruit also provides a good natural sugar source—fructose—that is slowly digested and absorbed, preventing sugar spikes that leave consumers craving more sugary foods. While consumers know bananas are good for physical well-being, it has also been proven that bananas are good for mental well-being. Bananas include high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, a natural substance known to have a calming effect on the brain and naturally boost your mood and promote feelings of relaxation.”
The Canadian market is particularly primed for a banana revolution, because more and more Canadian consumers are becoming concerned about the link between food and health. In fact, according to Nielsen’s Panelviews Canadian survey, in 2018, 70 percent of Canadians said their number one motivation to make healthier food choices is to prevent future health issues. Because most Canadians consider fruits and vegetables to be integral to healthy eating, produce consumption in the country is growing rapidly.
Chiquita is a produce company with a mind for marketing, and the company continues to invest in research to find unique ways to engage with banana consumers. Chiquita conducts in-store testing and campaign tracking to determine the most successful and innovative ways to engage customers and drive category sales. One way to drum up shoppers’ interest is through the unique and timeless Blue Sticker, which consumers know means high quality. Chiquita introduces a new series of stickers each quarter, whether they be flowery designs to celebrate the arrival of spring or turning the Blue Sticker pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The company has also gotten pretty creative with its stickers, and made a super team-up, this year partnering with the animated adventure movie THE LEGO® MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART. The movie featured the introduction of Banarnar—a LEGO banana character. Over a four-week period though the movie’s February 8 North American release, more than 300 million Blue Stickers in the U.S. and several European countries featured characters from the movie, including Banarnar, of course, as well as a code allowing fans to play online games and win themed prizes in the “Chiquita Build For a Chance to Win” promotion. Unique codes can also be found on the Chiquita Facebook page, which are posted daily throughout the promotion.
And, Jamie added, Chiquita knows the advantages of technology when it comes to marketing and is not shying away from making tech strides.
“In 2018 Chiquita pioneered AR/VR expertise in fresh produce aisles across America, partnering with Shazam to engage with shoppers by taking them on an innovative journey to learn about the brand’s ‘Behind the Blue Sticker’ initiative,” Jamie told me. “By scanning the Chiquita sticker, shoppers accessed an AR experience via the Shazam app that transported them into the tropics and followed the journey of a banana from Chiquita farms in Latin America, to the port facility, right across the Atlantic, and all the way to their kitchen table via their favorite grocery store.”
The partnership paid off for Chiquita, as over 16 percent of users worldwide scanned the sticker, and in the U.S., the campaign captured the brand’s coveted millennial audience—69 percent of total users.
And Chiquita hasn’t stopped there, as the company has most recently partnered with Snapchat to engage shoppers. During the month of April—in honor of World Banana Day on April 17—consumers are encouraged to participate in a new promotion. Through the end of May, SnapCodes will appear on 200 million Blue Stickers, allowing fans to virtually “peel back” the sticker to tap into three exciting new experiences.
With all these promotions and developments, it’s not hard to see why Chiquita is so excited for the show. CPMA offers Chiquita the opportunity to connect with Canadian customers and showcase its product offering across the Canadian market. The unique connections that Chiquita will make at CPMA allows the company to get its message out about its brand values.
“Chiquita’s focus is to bring to market a banana that is premium quality, and that pleases the consumer—not just with the taste and appearance, but also with the intrinsic qualities of the banana itself. Chiquita continues to invest in logistics programs for a fresher and more premium quality banana. At Chiquita, we want to make sure that our iconic Blue Sticker stands for both sustainable bananas and our inspiration for doing well and giving back. Efficient and sustainable business processes throughout the whole supply chain with a healthy, motivated workforce is at the core of how we run our company.”
To go ‘nanners with Chiquita, visit booth #909 at this year’s CPMA Convention and Trade Show.