Sometimes, people who haven’t been exposed to a large range of produce items—particularly some higher-end specialty varietals--can feel like they’re on a Jeopardy episode when looking at unfamiliar names and terms. (*flashback to a younger me managing only an, “Ummm….” at half of the semifinalist episode prompts*) And personally, I have experience with that feeling when it comes to fresh: before working in the fresh produce industry, I had never heard of a Cara Cara orange, and the only dates I knew were the kind you take to prom.
Even after working as a fresh produce marketer for the past six months, I know there is much more to learn, and most people don’t have nearly the kind of exposure to fresh as we do (yet). But if there’s one thing we know, it’s that you can reach people by meeting them where they are…and luckily, there is something we can learn about produce marketing from one of America’s most beloved tv game shows! Here are 3 ways you can make those “unknown” ingredients more, well, known. Take it away, Alex Trebek!
3 Lessons Fresh Produce Can Learn From Jeopardy
1. Show—Don’t Just Tell—How Fresh Produce is Used
One of the blessings Jeopardy gives viewers is its video segment—finally, an explanation of the category! (And one that doesn’t give us 0.00001 seconds to figure out what the prompt even refers to.) Not only are these videos engaging to viewers, they also show us how the information is useful in real-life situations.
The same concept works for fresh—showing people how to eat, drink and introduce your product is (at least) half the battle! In reality, what good is it to entice someone to buy your product for the first time if they 1.) prepare it badly and errantly think they don’t enjoy the item at all, 2.) eat it improperly (tough, bitter, thorny part of the artichoke, anyone?), and 3.) put their family and friends through that same experience? Avoid all that by using the ol’ “show and tell” method when marketing to consumers.
2. Make it Fun
Nobody likes listening to a monotonous professor, and the same goes for eating the same thing three times a day (unless it’s late-night, produce-rich pizza after a long day at the office). To the person crafting each unique category on Jeopardy, we salute you—(how do you do it, and for so many decades!).
Fresh produce marketers, follow Alex Trebek’s lead: make your product fun. By nature, people are interested in things that create buzz or spark curiosity, so show them how fun your product can be! For example, any fruit can be put in a salad, smoothie or incorporated into a savory dish, which means an endless number of new possibilities and taste profiles. Variety is more than just the spice of life—it’s also the reason consumers come back to your product again and again.
3. Give “Contestants” Enough Time
The final category at the end of each episode is my favorite part of the show. They finally give us enough time to think through a logical answer (or at least try to)! Just like contestants on the show, fresh produce consumers often need a little time to understand and warm up to your product if it’s unfamiliar. It’s important to remember that some will need more time than others (for example, I’m still explaining to my father that a clementine is more than that song that begins, “Oh my darlin’…”). Are you giving people enough time to adapt?
As someone who was not raised eating a large variety of niche fresh produce items, it took me a while to figure out the difference between romaine and iceberg lettuce, and I will say that fresh produce brands’ social media posts have had a true impact on what I buy at the grocery store and on my meal choices for the week. So just remember, when marketing to people like me, provide engaging educational content, make it fun, and give us time to adapt—and eventually, become advocates for fresh.
Have something to add? Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on Twitter @TheCoreBlog!