NZ: Zespri ties up with Mumbai group to spread SunGold message
The first pilot project in an affluent part of Mumbai was so successful, Zespri will select other districts targeting middle and upper class consumers.
The idea is to distribute 5,000 punnets of SunGold kiwifruit directly to households via Dabbawalas, meaning 'box carriers'.
The company has been delivering food in the bustling Indian city for many years, usually to offices, and is well known for its local knowledge, organizational skills and brand promotion.
Zespri India's country head and marketing manager Ritesh Bhimani says the Zespri tie up with Dabbawala is different because consumers are targeted directly in the home rather than the workplace.
"This is a very innovative initiative because instead of targeting offices, as is traditional with the Dabbawalas - we wanted the target audience to be women and kids so we decided to distribute the fruit in the evening so the housewives receive the kiwifruit at home," Bhimani tells www.freshfruitportal.com.
Approximately 5,000 punnets containing three SunGold kiwifruit each, were initially delivered alongside discount vouchers and coupons, explaining how to order more fruit as well as a spife (a spoon and knife instrument) to educate consumers on how best to enjoy kiwifruit.
"The idea is that we want to start a new distribution channel so we send out a punnet with a pack of three kiwifruit.
"The customer fills out the coupons with details and mentions how many packs of three they want, and hands it back over to the Dabbawala who would then pass it on to Zespri distributors and then those punnets get delivered to the home, directly into the hands of the consumer.
"There is also additional information inside the pack talking about the health benefits of SunGold."
As part of the Dabbawala drive, many new consumers have been introduced to the Zespri brand and initial feedback has been so good, Zespri will roll out the promotion to other neighborhoods.
"We received lots of positive feedback and people were very excited about the promotion. Some people knew about Sungold while others did not, and it was a nice surprise for many people because no brand has done something like this in association with the Dabbawalas where they get such a product at home.
"Usually here promotions tend to be more like a leaflet sort of thing, but we wanted to give out actual kiwifruit.
"We are now following up on the orders that have started to come in as a result of this pilot initiative and the Dabbawalas have already started distributing the fruit to the households making orders.
"We will be looking to extend the pilot initiative and look at selecting another particular area where we can do a similar promotion with another 5,000 punnets and take it from there."
Zespri has a continuing strategy in India to drive sales and introduce kiwifruit to consumers, many of whom are unfamiliar with the fruit and the Zespri brand.
In December 2014, Zespri kiwifruit sales doubled in India as the exotic fruit makes headway in the country and consumers tap into the perceived health benefits of the fruit.