The next few weeks will be a peak time for BelOrta's Appelsintjes. The Belgian cooperative introduced this special packaging last year to draw extra attention to local top fruit around the holidays. Despite the better pricing situation, though, BelOrta's Glenn Sebregts sees the consumption of Belgian Jonagold still struggles.

"People prefer other fruits, like citrus, so sales are usually definitely harder, especially at this time of year. Nevertheless, we sold just under 50 tons last year, which can certainly be considered successful. We, thus, didn't hesitate for long to restart the campaign this year." At a recent fruit and vegetable sector day, participants had these apples included in their goodie bags.

The cooperative sees these apples as a healthy alternative to candy that dominates most supermarket shelves. "We evaluated last year's campaign to see what we could learn from it. There's plenty of communication on the store floor around the festive season," Glenn explains.

"We noticed opportunities to highlight the Appelsintjes more in the Belgian stores. We thus designed special Appelsintje displays, highlighting these local apples even more. Our new sorting center helps by perfectly sorting the right sizes and quality for this campaign. That's grown the campaign even more."

Boosting consumption
Still, the situation remains tricky for Belgian Jonagolds. Prices seem somewhat better than last year, but consumption is not keeping up, and costs stay high. BelOrta wants to use a positive story to entice shoppers, especially during this time when exotics are favored and citrus is traditionally widely consumed.

"Jonagold apples are part of Begium's cultural heritage, but people must keep that up. Forcing consumers to do something obviously doesn't work, so we want to place the issue in a positive light. The apples have excellent quality again. Plus, as Sinterkaas approaches, it's high season for local apples. We want to give that an extra push," Glenn continues.

That has not gone unnoticed. The cooperative won a bronze BOA Award in Shopper Marketing with the Appelsintjes. "That's down to the fantastic collaboration with RCA's creative team. To win such an award is surely unique for a Belgian fruit and vegetable company. We're very proud of that. It also shows we're doing something right and are reaching people."

Would BelOrta consider such campaigns for other product groups in the future? That remains to be seen. "We already have initiatives like our 'Brainboosters' snack tomatoes. With that, we want to support students during the exam period. If there are opportunities, we definitely look into them. However, such a campaign requires a completely new packaging line to be set up, so it must make business sense. Nonetheless, if the right opportunity arises, we'll certainly take advantage of it," Glenn concludes.

For more information:
Glenn Sebregts
120 Mechelsesteenweg
2860, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, BE
Tel: +32 (0) 155 51 111