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Sampling campaign shows apples ain’t apples


Consumers receptive to unique taste profiles and characteristics of different apples when trialled in-store. 

When it comes to flavour and texture, no two apple varieties are the same. The very unique taste profile of seven different apples was emphasised during the Australian Apples in-store sampling campaign which ran from March to September in 2023. 

Involving 906 sampling sessions in Woolworths and Coles stores across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, the campaign notched up consumption of 98,410 samples and exposure to an estimated 111,370 shoppers. 

Linked to Pillar 2 of the marketing strategy, Surprise and Delight at the Point of Purchase, the sampling campaign was aimed at driving market growth by building domestic consumer demand. Of particular focus were ‘light buyers’ who infrequently purchase apples. Varietal in-store sampling to drive excitement around the unique taste experience associated with each apple variety was one of the key pillars of the marketing strategy.  

Customers were invited to sample Granny Smith, Jazz®, Royal Gala, Kanzi®, Pink Lady, Envy® and Bravo® apples. They were very receptive to trialling apples they hadn’t eaten before and interested in the different taste profiles and characteristics of each apple. 

Almost 90 per cent of customers trialled a new apple (one they had never previously eaten) and, for the majority of those customers, the apple sampled was Kanzi. 

A total of 57 per cent of customers intended to purchase apples after sampling, and sales of Australian apples during the sample sessions totalled approximately 127,872 apples or 19,181 kilograms.  

Of the shoppers interacted with during the campaign, 88 per cent were converted to trying a sample, resulting in a 130 per cent sales conversion, based on the number of apples purchased divided by total samples.  

Of the customers involved in the sampling campaign, 82 per cent indicated that taste was the primary reason for purchasing apples. Texture was the second most influencing factor. Price was the main factor deterring customers from purchasing apples (53 per cent), followed by taste.  

Below is some of the positive anecdotal feedback from customers involved in the sampling campaign: 

  • “I really didn’t know that the apples tasted different, I just thought all red were the same.” – female aged 21–30 
  • “Wow! Envy is a beautiful apple. Will be buying these.” – female aged 31–40  
  • “Love the look and taste of the Bravo.” – male aged 60+  
  • “Kanzi has great flavour and texture, I will buy to take home for the grandkids.” – female aged 51–60 
  • “Granny Smith has a great sweet and sour taste, really liked the flavour.” – female aged 21–30 
  • “Tried a Bravo. I was here to buy apples so bought what was left. Great flavour.” – male aged 41–50 

Key insights from the campaign included: 

  • The majority of customers rated the quality of the apples on display highly – 50 per cent highly and 4 per cent good quality. 
  • In terms of value for money, apples were rated excellent (21 per cent) and above average (35 per cent). 
  • The likelihood of purchasing the new variety after the trial was extremely likely (32 per cent) and very likely (38 per cent). 
  • 48 per cent of customers said they purchased apples at least once a week. 

More information 

Read more about how the apple and pear marketing and R&D levies are invested on the Apple and Pear Fund section of the Hort Innovation website: /growers/apple-pear-fund/ 


This article was first published in the Autumn 2024 edition of AFG.


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