Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the chestnut marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Chestnut Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2018/19.
Public relations (PR)
As part of pre-season outreach to media and influencers, a chestnut information flyer was produced and sent to an extensive range of contacts in late January 2019. It aimed to keep the Australian chestnut season top of mind as editorial teams began content planning for the year.
Meanwhile, a greengrocer/chestnut retailer education and chestnut advocate program began in February. Some 250 greengrocers across New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland were contacted with a revised version of the chestnut season information. A4 sized (portrait and landscape) chestnut merchandising point-of-sale material was downloadable from the chestnut website for display in store.
An email campaign was also sent to greengrocers with content resources to share on social media. This aimed to educate greengrocers and offer them ongoing marketing support in the form of free, shareable chestnut content.
To reach the food service industry, an email campaign was trialled to target fresh produce providores located in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia, as most providores produce a weekly newsletter that they distribute to their food service customers.
To engage consumers directly, the marketing program took Australian Chestnuts to two Victorian events during the 2019 season – the Village Bonfire as part of the Bright Autumn Festival and the La Fiera Italian Festival in Myrtleford.
The Bright Autumn festival in early May attracts thousands of visitors each year from all over Australia. This is the second time that a promotion was undertaken at this event. It was a success, with an eager target audience ready to taste and be educated in all things chestnut. Some 160kg of fresh and roasted chestnuts were sold over the course of the day, which is 60kg more than in 2018. Industry-produced recipe brochures were given out to consumers eager to learn more.
La Fiera was also held in May, with the chestnut industry having a significant presence. It was the biggest marketing promotion for the industry to date, with some 600kg of chestnuts roasted and sold fresh during the day.
As part of the marketing program, there was also a dedicated chestnut masterclass at the event run by growers themselves. A good turnout of approximately 35 people attended. Three recipes were featured: Spicy Chestnut and Pumpkin Soup, Chestnut Maple Butter and Chestnuts and Brussel Sprouts. Attendees were able to taste the finished products and reported that they were impressed with the results.
The Chestnuts Australia Instagram account (@chestnutsaustralia) was updated with one to two photos with captions each week during the season, with all industry events being featured as well as any promotions. This was a visual way to engage consumers with chestnuts, chestnut recipes, and the industry itself. During 2018/19, followers on the page increased from 381 to 789. Regularly, the posts received between 40 to 70+ ‘likes’ and one photo during the harvest attracted 106 likes. New followers were added each week during the season.
Point of sale recipe brochures
Point-of-sale recipe brochures were the main marketing strategy for 2019 to inspire consumers to purchase chestnuts. Two new brochures in the series ‘Make everyday meals special with chestnuts’ were produced, featuring new recipe content to keep them fresh and engaging for consumers. These were distributed at the start of the season (February) with 50,000 supplied throughout the major wholesale markets and to growers across Australia from a distribution list. There were a further 30,000 copies distributed on request to growers, other wholesalers and retail outlets. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Chestnut Fund