The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) has contracted with the Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) to lead its integrated foodservice marketing and promotional activities for the council and the blueberry industry.
SRG was awarded the USHBC account following a comprehensive review process that attracted many high-profile agencies around the country and was narrowed to a final group of four. The decision to hire SRG was made by the council’s Promotion Committee, a group of blueberry growers and marketers.
“SRG came in with a distinctive approach to working with us as a business partner to help us drive the volume of sales of fresh and frozen blueberries,” explained Bob Carini, owner of Carini Farms in West Olive, Michigan, and chair of the USHBC Promotion Committee. “They have an impressive track record of working with and connecting commodities with large foodservice operators, finding creative ways to grow the channel and working with chefs to develop new ways for consumers to enjoy blueberries across menus and in different formats throughout the day.”
“This is an exciting opportunity and change for USHBC’s promotion and marketing efforts within the foodservice channel,” shared Kasey Cronquist, president of USHBC. “We’re looking forward to working with the team at SRG on volume-driving opportunities over the next year.”
On behalf of USHBC, SRG will build an integrated program that leverages research and insights, culinary innovation, promotional support and advertising to reach key decision-makers within the foodservice industry to grow volume and increase sales.This B2B approach has helped the agency grow sales and volume for many global brands and U.S. commodity boards such as Avocados From Mexico, the Almond Board of California and Potatoes USA.
“We work extensively with growers and ranchers around the globe and understand their issues and priorities,” explained Amy Shipley, partner and managing director at SRG. “Our understanding and experience working in foodservice and with restaurant operators directly will help us create a wide range of initiatives for the USHBC that will be measured across the foodservice channel in sales, not media impressions. The bottom line is what’s important to the growers.”
USHBC will work with SRG to conduct a volumetric study to help determine how well blueberries are performing across foodservice, identify opportunities for expansion and measure the program’s success.