Eurofresh Farms, an Arizona farming operation and the leading producer of greenhouse tomatoes in the United States, has won a 2009 Marketing Excellence award from Produce Business magazine for their recent “Arizona Grown” campaign. The grower was the only greenhouse operation honored by the publication.
Produce Business magazine awards retailers, restaurants, wholesalers, shippers and commodity organizations that connect with consumers in innovative ways. This year marks the 21st year the publication has sponsored the awards.
Eurofresh Farms created the Arizona Grown marketing campaign to strengthen its identity as a locally operated company that provides great-tasting, safe products to Arizona consumers year-round.
According to Eurofresh Farms’ CEO Dwight Ferguson, the company felt Arizona shoppers would choose to buy products from a company that has their best interests in mind, including a concern for health and a desire for high-quality fresh produce at a good price.
“The key strategy for this program was timing,” Ferguson said. “Food was a major news topic in 2008, especially because tomatoes were wrongly implicated in the nationwide salmonella outbreak. We quickly activated our regional marketing plan to restore consumer confidence in the food supply chain while the recall was fresh in the public’s mind.”
Eurofresh Farms worked closely with the Arizona Department of Agriculture to use the defunct “Arizona Grown” logo on all their packaging and point-of-sale materials. The company also formed a partnership with Fox Restaurant Concepts, an Arizona company that owns and operates upscale restaurants in Arizona, as well as in Texas, Colorado and Kansas.
“Fox Restaurant Concepts was buying our tomatoes and using our produce almost exclusively,” Ferguson said. “It made sense to work together to remind consumers that Eurofresh Farms grows all its products in Arizona and without pesticides.”
Eurofresh Farms provided information about their growing practices to the organization’s chefs and even invited the company’s staff to tour its hydroponic growing facilities in Willcox and Snowflake. In return, Fox Restaurant Concepts agreed to identify the source of its tomatoes on its menus and gave the company the rights to use its recipes in outreach efforts.
Multiple retailers embraced the Arizona Grown marketing promotion including Arizona-based grocer Bashas’, which asked Eurofresh Farms to create stand-alone secondary display units for all of its stores statewide. According to Ferguson, sales increased more than three times from any past company promotion.
Produce Business magazine is based in Boca Raton, Fla., and covers the fruit, vegetable and floral industries. The trade publication focuses on purchasing, marketing, merchandising and management news.