Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the custard apple marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption of the fruit, under the Hort Innovation Custard Apple Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2018/19.
Custard Apple ambassador
The custard apple marketing program engaged lifestyle influencer Dani Stevens to develop custard-apple-inspired recipes to promote the versatility of the fruit during the season. These recipes were leveraged during media outreach and on the Custard Apples Facebook page.
In addition to recipe development, Dani attended a farm tour during the peak of the season that offered the opportunity to deliver high-quality coverage of the paddock to plate story for custard apples and provide further education on the fruit. The day involved a tour of the trees, an overview of the picking and packing process, and a custard-apple- inspired morning tea. A Facebook Live Q&A was filmed and shared on the day and Dani also posted footage from the day on her Instagram account, including 11 videos, and Facebook channels. The collaboration provided 1.2 million opportunities for people to see the content over the campaign period.
Media outreach was used to announce the custard apple season and to help drive awareness and education about the fruit, as well as inspiring consumers through recipes. To drive custard apple media coverage, a comprehensive media pack was distributed to key media targets, including a seasonal press release, a selection of recipes and images (including those developed by Dani Stevens), and an interview opportunity with custard apple grower Patti Stacey.
Over the course of the campaign, media coverage was secured across traditional and online mediums, delivering 3.9 million opportunities for people to see custard apple content. All coverage delivered at least one key campaign message about custard apples, and these messages included “in-season”, “shareable”, “selecting”, “inspiration” and “health”.
Facebook was used to inspire and educate consumers about Australian custard apples. Content was posted twice a week over the campaign period, focusing on custard apple inspiration, with supporting messages on selection and storage. The best performing posts included shots of fresh produce and images of Australian custard apple farms. Facebook advertising was used to boost performance on all posts to extend the reach and engagement.
The Custard Apples Australia Facebook page (www.facebook.com/custardapplesaustralia) performed well, delivering some 634,000 opportunities for people to see the content (above the 600,000 target), and a very strong engagement rate of 13 per cent (likes and comments) which was well above the seven per cent target set.
Through their Hort Innovation marketing programs, a joint Australian Custard Apples and Australian Persimmons in-store sampling campaign was executed in a total of 98 Woolworths and Coles stores across Sydney and Melbourne from 28 March to 26 April 2019. The objective of the campaign was to strengthen consumer awareness of custard apples and persimmons; increase purchase confidence among consumers by providing key information such as seasonal availability, how to select, and health benefits; and to facilitate immediate purchase by highlighting the in-store position.
Consumers were able to try sliced fresh custard apples and persimmons, and brochures were distributed to shoppers that contained key facts and tips. A total of 10,980 samples were consumed throughout the campaign, and it’s estimated more than 19,000 shoppers were exposed to the products.
In addition to in-store sampling, 400 shoppers participated in a deep-dive questionnaire (200 for custard apples and 200 for persimmons). This helped to provide key insights into consumer behaviours and barriers that influence purchase of custard apples, which will be used to inform future marketing plans. Key take outs included that almost half (46 per cent) of people had never heard of custard apples before and that there are a number of factors that could increase consumption such as greater awareness of availability during the year, providing consumers with more selection and storage information, and quality of fruit.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Custard Apple Fund