Delta Produce Co-Operative is New Zealand’s largest producer of sweet potato, known locally as New Zealand Kumara. A co-operative of 25 growers, Delta wanted help for stagnating sales and what looked to be a poor season.
The co-operatives challenge is similar to many growers, “We were selling most of our kumara loose and the competition was tough. Loose kumara is generic, a commodity, and prices were being driven down. We thought if we could upgrade our packaging, we could carve out a more profitable niche for ourselves.” Locky Wilson, CEO Delta
Going beyond a new pack design, Fresh Produce Marketing completely re-thought how kumara was being sold. Research into the industry revealed insights to revitalize this category. It was found that the size and shape of the vegetable and packaging was a key barrier to purchase, so FPM together with Delta worked out a new method for sorting and grading kumara according to what shoppers valued.
Previously small kumara had been waste, with larger vegetables being graded for sale. Research revealed that customers preferred smaller kumara as they are quick, easy and convenient. This opened a new sales channel – smaller vegetable as a premium grade option.
A new pack design “Love! Kumara” was created. The bags used as the primary tool to communicate the new offer and positioning to the customer – this is a modern product, easy and a new way to enjoy this great vegetable.
• Net returns to growers increased by 231%
• The new product offers expanded total category sales
• Delta now sells more higher value pre-packs and less, low-price loose product
In 2013, Lisa was awarded the PMA / Produce Plus Marketer of the Year award for her Love! Kumara work.