U.S.: surf's up for Costan Rican pineapples

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U.S.: surf's up for Costan Rican pineapples

Based out of a home office in central California, Kelly Brothers, Inc. hopes to step up the game for pineapple marketing in the U.S. With the recently launched Goldies line, the company has created a rare brand name for Costa Rican pineapples.goldies

Now in the pineapple business for three years, the company began to notice a lack of fresh fruit branding from major industry suppliers, explained Jihoon Kim from the marketing team.

"As we built our pineapple program, we noticed nobody out here has an actual name. Everybody uses a company name as a brand name," Kim told www.freshfruitportal.com.

Company founder Patrick Kelly explained that although the company is small, it wanted to created a friendly face that consumers could associate with pineapples. Beyond a corporate logo, Kelly Brothers hoped to develop an educational, fun brand to encourage its Costa Rican fruit sales.

"We've got to get beyond Kelly Brothers Inc and get to a brand. We want people to know we're a family but at the end of the day, we want them to know the brand and associate the brand with good product," Kelly said.

Starting in mid-May, shoppers on the U.S. East Coast will have the opportunity to meet the face of the Goldies brand - a "bodacious" Costa Rican surfer with a pineapple for a head.

A laidback salesman in his late 20s, Kelly said the icon was partly inspired by his own down-to-earth demeanor.

"I don't look like the normal salesman. I've got long hair and am a free-flowing guy. Whenever I go down to Costa Rica, they always ask me if I'm a hippie or a surfer. I say, no, I'm an entrepreneur. We developed the pineapple character off of that, this kind of laidback pineapple character," he explained.

So far, he said the surfer icon has been well received and has encouraged the company's marketing efforts.

"Our whole company is based on processing. This is our first trademark brand. This will be the first experience of creating a brand and working toward a new sector. With the feedback we've been getting, people having been wanting the pineapple character and fun element brought out more, rather than just on the boxes," he said.

On July 24, Kelly Brothers will attend the Fresno Food Expo to promote the new brand and educate consumers on how to pick a good pineapple.

"We chose the Fresno Food Expo because it's focused on retailers, food service and actual consumers. We are going to bring boxes in from Costa Rica and we're going to be showing people how to pick a pineapple in the store," he said.

Beyond color, Kelly said consumers should look for firmness and a natural sweet aroma. Currently, Kelly said few know how to identify a ripe, quality pineapple.

"I did a study and brought pineapples to a class and put a pineapple on everybody's desk. I gave everyone a color chart and asked them to describe what the pineapple would look like on the inside, if it was ripe or not. About 15 people picked up the pineapple, turned it upside down and smelled the butt of the pineapple," he said with a laugh.

Rather than smell the fruit's "butt," Kelly said consumers should look out for white gloss or mold - a sign the fruit was not properly cut from the tree.

Through the Goldies name, Kelly said the company hopes to generate greater consumer awareness and familiarity with pineapples in general.

"The goal is also to promote awareness of Costa Rican pineapples. A lot of people in grocery stores still think pineapples come from Hawaii," he said, explaining that Hawaii's pineapple sector now focuses mostly on tourism rather than fruit sales.

"We're in contact with distributors in Tennessee, New Jersey and Oregon about distributing the product. We're planning on hitting all of the ports the second week of May, which is L.A., Oregon, Houston, Fort Everglades and New Jersey."


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