The campaign ''snoep zelfstandig, EET MEER PEER!' (snack independently, EAT MORE PEAR!) is a resounding success in Belgium. Initiative taker Marc Pairon is not from the fruit sector. He lives between two fruit growers and saw that they were suffering from the situation. He wanted to do something about this and this is why he started the campaign. This meant that the direct sales of growers to consumers is promoted as well as every form of distribution and using home grown products.
Now, around 100 growers have signed up. Marc: "Just yesterday I contacted a grower who spoke about a quadrupling of sales. And this isn't just pears, it's also other 'home' products. This grower was a month and a half ahead in sales compared to previous years. These are the kinds of enthusiastic stories we hear every day."
Around a month ago Marc visited ten different supermarkets. To his surprise he saw a lot of imported top fruit instead of 'home' fruit from Belgium. "in this situation it's odd. We don't import from overseas in times of excess, do we?" He did the maths after the visits and concluded that only around 54% of the apples and pears were of Belgian origin. "The rest came from overseas. There were even two shops that didn't even have one Belgian pear or apple. Some of the consumers buy apples and pears en masse and think they're supporting local growers. Meanwhile those who don't know any better are buying products from New Zealand or South Africa. Of course, we have nothing against these countries, but that's not the problem. Dealing with the excess like this is ridiculous."
48 hours after his visit the situation in the supermarkets had changed completely. "Two days after publication on AGF.nl and other websites all the overseas pears were gone. We visited the same places and found they were no longer available. Overseas apples were still there."
Tonnes of fruit
The consumption is certainly increasing due to the campaign. "Veiling Haspengouw indicated a few weeks ago that the campaign 'snoep zelfstandig, 'EET MEER PEER!' had generated 30% more sales in the domestic market. Of course, this is positive, but on the other hand, our consumption in Belgium was disappointing. Our local usage is 50 grams of pear per capita, 30% is 15 grams more. It could be higher." He indicates that large companies are also interested in collaborating with the growers. "An example is Swissport from Zaventem, who hands out free pear snacks to their employees. 1700 staff makes 1 tonne a week." Another example is the action on 'Day of the Customer', when customers are given a gift. A lot of shops have given out pears this year and that's a lot of tonnes. This is bought straight from the growers. The conclusions is that this campaign is creating new campaigns. It really has a snowballing effect. A special Facebook page was founded too. "It already has almost 12,000 likes. Due to this campaign we have reached one million people who had viewed this page in just four weeks, which is fantastic!"