Milestones in the agricultural business are often measured in season to season comparisons. With some companies, decades are significant achievements, and for a select few, there is the century old mark that sets the standard for longevity and sustainability.
United Apple, located in western New York, marks the year 2020 with a celebration of 115 years in the agriculture business that began in 1905 with a modest 70-acre plot. Started by the Dobbins family, the farm was a way to support its own needs and offer a source of fresh, high-quality produce for the local community.
Over the past century, the company has remained true to its roots while expanding into a grower/packer/shipper that has broadened its reach and packs over 1.5 million bushels a year through regional, domestic, import and export programs.
Fourth generation owner Ward Dobbins indicated that the agricultural business has obviously changed with advances in growing practices, technology, varietal development, sustainable farming protocols, logistics, and food safety.
“Our personal commitment to growing the finest, most flavorful fruit has never wavered from what our great grandparents taught us. This is the essence of the United Apple brand. With each successive generation, we have learned more and evolved the business side of the operations, which has required significant ongoing investments and training to compete in a global market,” commented Dobbins.
In reaching the 115-year mark, the company took a look at its overall brand messaging and explored ways to update United’s presence in the market and increase awareness of its broadened capabilities.
As part of the rebranding, the United Apple logo was given a graphic update with an enhanced apple image, new font and oval outline. A key element was to keep the reference to the company’s start date of 1905.
In addition to refreshing its logo, another element was added to United’s shipper boxes and product packaging. The 'Because Local Matters' icon was developed to draw attention to United’s program of working with local orchards and domestic growing partners. The new graphic incorporates a farm scene and bold type, which is simple but reinforces the importance of United’s commitment to local farmers and related businesses that support agricultural companies.
“Many leading retail partners, who are striving to be regionally relevant, have embraced our Because Local Matters program as it reinforces their 'buy local' initiatives, and resonates with their customers who want to support local farms and ag economies” commented Dobbins.
Another key branding component is a total redesign of the United Apple website. It now features updated video and digital assets to illustrate the company’s comprehensive capabilities for growing and packing apples, cherries and pears.
“The new site is a platform for us to share United’s many programs with our partners. Through the online Varietal Availability Feature, retailers can see when and where our fruit is available year-round across our regional, domestic and import seasons,” said Baker.
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