Honeybear Brands' Don Roper Talks Pazazz Apples
- by Kayla Webb
ELGIN, MN - Is there anything that screams autumn more than a basket of freshly picked apples? The correct answer is no. As we make our way through October, Honeybear Brands is wrapping up its Washington state and Midwest harvests and zeroing in on helping all of its apple varieties make it off the shelf and into consumers’ carts.
I caught up with Don Roper, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, to get some inside tips on what varieties retailers should push this year to give fall promotions that extra pizazz, if you will.
“It has been a great fall with nearly perfect weather for finishing the apple crop, giving it great color and brix. On the marketing side, we are shipping nearly the full line of varieties right now, including the Midwest’s RiverBelle and our brand-new variety First Kiss® MN 55—both of which have been early season winners for our customers,” Don revealed to me. “We are also excited about the Honeycrisp crop, which is eating great and looks amazing coming out of all our growing regions. And it’s go time for Pazazz of course.”
Don told me that it is looking to be Pazazz’s biggest season yet, with the variety growing 300 percent at retail last year—almost unheard of when there are so many new varieties on the retail deck still trying to get a foothold—and is expected to be a hit again this year. Don is anticipating larger volumes shipping to more stores nationwide to support the variety’s establishment as a guaranteed retail performer for Honeybear Brands’ partners.
“Pazazz received a lot of consumer love right out of the gate when we first introduced it into select markets. And every year consumer response has grown and grown. We’ve done a lot of sampling and demo events across the country in support of retail partners and we’ve seen for ourselves consumers experience the wow factor when they taste Pazazz. In a produce category where it’s easy to be a commodity, Pazazz has become a standout,” Don said.
To keep consumers coming back for more Pazazz each and every year, Honeybear works with its retail partners to ensure the appropriate POS and in-store materials (signage, bins, totes, and more) are available and ready to go each season to attract and engage consumers. Don noted that since its launch, the Pazazz brand continues to evolve.
“Our team also works to provide a whole suite of marketing support services that gets the Pazazz name out into the local market, including social media, digital couponing, sampling at local events, and press,” Don continued. “We’re also working with influential food experts, bloggers, and local chefs to come up with exciting new Pazazz recipes to give people even more opportunities to enjoy Pazazz. Without giving too much away, we think retailers and consumers are going to be delighted by the playful personality the brand is developing and the efforts we’re planning to attract existing, new, and repeat customers.”
As Pazazz apples hurtle into retail—with crop expected to hit shelves as early as November in select markets and by January in all participating markets—retailers better buckle up for another exciting autumn because there’s no telling what Pazazz is going to do this year.