Pear ‘shake up’ chance to secure spot in shopping basketNews
Marketing Australian pears as a fresh, inspiring and bold ‘break free’ fruit choice may be the key to securing pears a greater share of the staple fruit shop and driving purchases, according to new levy-funded consumer research.
Carried out by Sydney-based research agency Fiftyfive5 to underpin a brand refresh for Australian Pears, and funded by Hort Innovation using the Apple and Pear Fund levies, research found that while pears were often overlooked, the majority of buyers still counted them among their favourite fruits and were quite open to buying them.
Repositioning them as a ‘different’ and ‘inspirational’ choice to those who already buy lots of fruit, but less frequently pears, and tapping into their desire for fresh, healthy, sweet and in-season fruit, had the greatest potential to get pears back on shopping lists and into baskets.
Hort Innovation has already developed a fresh, new logo for Australian Pears based on the research and will use it in the Australian Pears marketing campaign, consisting of outdoor media like shopping centre panels, digital media such as YouTube, social media across Facebook and Instagram, PR and in-store sampling. A new website will also be launched which will align with the new look and feel of Australian Pears.
The research was carried out through March and April and included in-store interviews in Marrickville and Parramatta in Sydney across the three major retailers, an online survey of over 1000 consumers and two 90-minute focus groups.
It corroborated findings from earlier research carried out in 2017 by Melbourne-based The Source, and commissioned by APAL, that found that consumers viewed pears as conventional and old fashioned, but that they were not rejected for this, but simply not thought of.
Further, it found – as The Source research also found – that while price was certainly considered as part of the purchasing process, it was rarely a deterrent to purchase.
Crucially, a price sensitivity analysis of consumer Fiftyfive5 found the optimal price for pears consumers was $3.99, within a range of $2.99-4.00.
Low prices were actually a deterrent. “At 99c a kilo, over 80 per cent of buyers think that they are so cheap they would doubt the quality,” the report stated.
[pull quote] “At 99c a kilo, over 80 per cent of buyers think that they are so cheap they would doubt the quality.”
Buyer behaviour – why and when?
Fiftyfive5 built a detailed picture of awareness, purchase behaviour, attitudes and usage to identify the clearest opportunities for change and growth:
- 89 per cent of people are open to buying pears
- 37 per cent of consumers interviewed had bought pears in the last three months, making them an occasional fruit (compared to 71 per cent for apples and 74 per cent for bananas)
- Pears were often an impulse-buy, if fruit looked appealing in store, reinforcing the importance of providing the best quality in store
- 67 per cent checked firmness and ripeness before purchasing
- When it comes to buying pears, consumers were consistently looking for fruit that was healthy, fresh and easy to eat, with taste and juiciness ranked close behind.
- Of those who had not purchased pears in the last three months, one in four said it was because they did not have pears on their shopping list.
- Awareness of varieties is low; Pear purchasers are most aware of the greener pears, usually available all year round, although few have tried more than one type.
With a lack of knowledge around ripeness still a key barrier to purchase, ensuring top quality on shelves and using education on how to pick the perfect pear and judge the ripening window will continue to be essential to driving growth.
Promoting the range of uses for pears also offered a means of reducing the over-reliance on snacking as a reason to buy pears – 85 per cent of pear buyers do so to snack – and increasing the opportunities to buy pears.
“We need to convince (those) heavy fruit buyers, (who are) light pear buyers to seek out the fruit for its healthiness, sweetness and seasonality to mix up staples and pick up pears more often,” the report authors found.
Narrowing the market
In order to develop a marketing strategy, Fiftyfive5 looked at the purchasing patterns, characteristics of buyers and what they sought from pears to identify the groups with the most potential for growth and how to appeal to them.
Buying patterns of pear buyers where overlaid with those of all fruit buyers to pin down the best opportunities for growth. The data showed a large number of consumers who brought fruit weekly or more often were ‘infrequent’ buyers of pears, picking up pears on just one in five shopping trips.
Influencing those already buying fruit often to pick up more pears was identified as the best way to drive growth.
However, those who are lighter buyers of pears were less convinced of pears’ nutritional benefits, quality or aware of alternative uses. Increasing awareness of pears’ consistent quality, and educating consumers on health benefits, ripening and the versality will be needed to build support.
Pear buyers were broken down into five groups rough equal in representation. Of these, three were chosen as offering the most potential for growth:
- Health pursuers – conscious about health, choosing healthy snacks and buying based on health benefits;
- Seasonal hunters – who like to know where their fruit and vegetables are coming from, prefer to east Australian-grown fruit and tend to buy whatever is in season; and
- Sweet-tooth foodies – who love baking and being creative with food. They have a bit of a sweet tooth, and often choose sweet over savour snacks.
These groups collectively account for 70 per cent of value of pear purchases and 68 per cent of the volume of pear purchases. Families make up the majority of all three groups.
All three groups want healthy, tasty and easy to eat fruit, with some favouring juiciness, origin or sweetness over other factors.
New positioning for Australian Pears
With the target group and their needs understood, the focus groups were used to test new ways to position and market Australian Pears.
Three possible ideas for rebranding pears based on were tested in two focus groups sessions:
- ‘Sweet as’ – marketing pears as the go-to-choice for a sweet, delicious snack, focusing on taste, fun, provenance;
- ‘Always on song’ – capitalising on pears’ year-round availability, and variety allowing the satisfying of pear cravings any time; and
- ‘Shake it up’ – appealing to the desire to be different, while also highlight the many ‘different’ uses for pears. Be bold, choose something different, pears are sweet, easy to eat on the go and always in season.
Focus groups comprised both regular and irregular pear buyers, consumers from all three target-pear buying groups, and a mix of ages. ‘Shake it up’ was seen as the most appealing and credible, with the advantage of highlighting both the difference of pears from other staples and also the different uses of pears. It was also seen as most likely to drive purchases.
The focus groups also identified that if consumers were educated on the different types of pears that were available, it would encourage purchase.
As a result of the testing, a new logo for Australian Pears has been developed by Hort Innovation.
Australian Pears marketing manager Olivia Grey said the new pears logo had been developed in consultation with pear growers, using insights from the research.
“It is modern, vibrant and eye catching, which will hopefully help to shift the perception that pears are an old-fashioned fruit,” Olivia said. “Importantly it communicates the different pear varieties available beyond the green pear.”
The new logo will be showcased throughout the Australian Pears 2019 marketing campaign, including through the following activities:
Outdoor media is a growing channel that has proven effective at driving mass awareness and capturing attention, with 79 per cent of grocery buyers claiming to have seen outdoor ads in the last week.
To remind consumers to purchase pears, Australian Pears will have street furniture panels, delivering over three million impressions.
And, to act as a final reminder at the point of purchase, Dare to Pear ads will appear outside of major retailers on shopping centre panels, communicating the versatility of pears. These retail ads are expected to deliver over seven million impressions.
The digital campaign will make use of programmatic video technology, which allows a targeted placement of ads in areas most likely to resonate with the target groups, in the case of pear advertising, on nutrition, cooking, health and lifestyle sites. Six-second unskippable ads on YouTube will be used to drive awareness of pears in the target groups and on nutrition, cooking and health sites. Additionally, 15 and 30-second video will be used to raise awareness and consideration of pears on lifestyle and cooking sites. Digital media is expected to deliver over 3.5 million views by consumers.
Social media activity
Social media activity is a cost-efficient way to reach the masses (an opportunity previously only available via ‘above the line’ media such as television and newspapers), and also to ‘keep a finger on the pulse’ in terms of how people are using pears, answering any questions they have, and giving people an opportunity to simply share their love of pears. The role of social media is to help remind shoppers and consumers of the benefits of pears through compelling content.
Social media for Australian pears will leverage Facebook to keep pears top of mind, with one in two Australians using Facebook on a daily basis. And with one in three Australians using Instagram on a daily basis, Hort Innovation will continue to use its Instagram channel to keep pears top of mind.
Compelling content will be promoted across Facebook and Instagram to educate consumers about pear varieties and ripening indicators, as well as promoting ways to use pears for different meal occasions.
Following great results from in-store demonstrations in 2017 and 2018, a further 400 sampling sessions will occur across August/September and October/November in Woolworths and Coles stores. The objective of the sampling is to drive awareness of pears in-store to keep them top-of-mind at the point of purchase and educate consumers about the versatility of pears to encourage purchase frequency. Pan-cooked pears with yoghurt and granola, as well as a pear salad, will be given to consumers to sample.
Importantly, the Australian Pears website will undergo a refresh to help improve the user experience. The look and feel of the website will be updated to align with the new logo and creative, and refreshed content and updated recipes will help to engage consumers. The website will allow the tracking of data through google analytics that can then be further leveraged for media targeting. The new website URL will be australianpears.com.au and is anticipated to launch October 2019.
Industry marketing initiatives are managed by Hort Innovation and are funded by the apple and pear marketing levy. Growers are welcome to contact Apple and Pear Marketing Manager Olivia Grey (email@example.com or 02 8295 2387) with any questions relating to the marketing program.