Fruit company hopes to 'create Malta's Chiquita'
A fruit company based on the Mediterranean island of Malta has said it wants to establish a trusted reputation for its new banana brand, in a market that to date has largely been based on fierce price competition with a lack of consumer engagement
Fruitland Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of Malta-based Famalco Group, launched its trademarked Gioia brand several years ago, which means 'joy' in Italian, and earlier in 2014 began a fresh marketing campaign.
Fruitland's commercial and business development manager Jonaphin Spiteri told www.freshfruitportal.com he hoped his product would bring stability to the Maltese fruit market.
"When a market is very price aggressive, often the consumer ends up having an inferior product because everybody is in it for a profit," Spiteri said.
"When wholesalers and producers try to maintain the same profit margin they lower their costs. Often they also end up cutting on service and quality of the product so to make ends meet and get their profit margin.
"What we want to do is create a completely different marketing proposition. We want to practically create the Chiquita for Malta."
Spiteri said his marketing plan was for the long-term, and he would invest in promoting the brand now so in the future consumers know and trust Gioia bananas.
"We want to provide the Maltese consumer with a premium product, reliable and constant service. We want to excel in every part of the value chain," he said.
"In fact we take great care to select our suppliers, make sure that the fruit is transported in temperature controlled vessels with the least possible transit time and is ripened professionally so that it reaches the final consumer in tip-top condition."
Fruitland receives weekly shipments of category 1 bananas from Colombia’s Uruba region.
Spiteri said he was confident that in three years' time the brand would have built up enough momentum so that consumers start recognizing and requesting Gioia bananas in shops.
He added that it could be quite challenging to work out how best to market bananas, given they were generally difficult to differentiate.
"It's not easy when you consider you don't have much to distinguish, and when you consider that you don't have any packaging because nature takes care of that," Spiteri said.
Much of the initial brand promotion will be done on popular social media websites.
"We have a Facebook page, and lately we've been doing several competitions to build hype," Spiteri said.
"Social media is very important here – a lot of the Maltese population use Facebook and spend so much more time on it compared to other Europeans.
"So we're building hype for our brand of bananas, and eventually later on this year we're going to get a lot of in store solutions."
Spiteri said he was also planning to create a television promotion, and was considering using an innovate wax labeling system for the fruit to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
Fruitland Company also imports and sells a range of other fresh and dried fruit, and Spiteri said he hoped any future success for the Gioia brand would be the key for his salesmen to open to door for new opportunities.
"I want my Gioia to be the brand that green grocers cannot go without in their stores," he said.
Photo: Fruitland Co. Ltd