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Data drives sales at Cal Giant

About 70 percent of the self-identified California Giant Berry Farms shoppers purchase fresh berries at least once every other week. One-third of those shoppers are looking for main entrée recipes in the berry category. And 22 percent noted that buying berries for healthy eating is high on their agenda for January.

These are just a few of the nuggets that the marketing department of the Watsonville, CA, berry shipper mined from the data collected from their most loyal customers during the fourth quarter of 2018. Cal Giant Vice President of Marketing Cindy Jewell told The Produce News that the company has collected a large data base of users over the years and is now interacting with that group on an ongoing basis to discover insights about their shopper patterns.

IMG 6735 Cal Giant has been a longtime proponent and user of social media to connect with the consumers who buy their branded berries. These consumers connect with the company in many ways, including contests and sweepstakes, and then become part of their data base. Cal Giant regularly communicates with this group offering their coupons and other information, while also asking questions and gaining information.

For example, in January the company’s posted a social media campaign mimicking the movie award shows so prevalent in the January/February time frame. Consumers were asked to cast their ballots in a number of categories including berries in a Leading Role, Best Dressed and Best Foreign Feature. Each contender was a different recipe, which gives the berry firm information as to type of eating occasions and recipes their consumers like.

Armed with this data, and that from other efforts over the years, Cal Giant is launching a new social media program in March that will focus on repeat buyers. Using scan data provided by Nielsen, the company will invite its followers to punch in their zip code and discover where they can buy Cal Giant branded berries. Jewell said the promotion will use geo-targeting to market to consumers in areas where the firm has a presence in the marketplace. Again, these engagements will include more data mining.

“We are continuing to build a strong data base and learning more about Cal Giant berry buyers,” she said.

Of course, the company uses this information to market its berries to retailers and foodservice operators across the country. Jewell believes more and more consumers are becoming brand conscious in their produce purchases, and she said retailers are well aware of this. Informing a retailer or foodservice operator that there is a committed group of Cal Giant berry purchasers in their neighborhood is clearly the ultimate goal.

The Cal Giant shopper trends report reveals that the “database’s primary shopper age ranges from 46 – 66 and 82.2 percent are female. Our shoppers are primarily Gen X and Boomer women who hold the purchasing power for their households,” the report stated.

A sizable majority of the respondents have kids in school and there was a mix of shoppers who preferred each of the berry varieties. A little less than 40 percent noted strawberries were their favorites, with blueberries (25 percent), raspberries (19 percent), and blackberries (17 percent) also having a strong core of devotees.

It also noted that “California Giant shoppers are looking for gluten free recipes for their berries. Retail partners can consider using and directing shoppers to as a primary resource for this information through their social media channels and in-store display opportunities.”

Along with healthy eating in January, these shoppers are looking for recipes for summer cookouts (15 percent), and birthday parties and celebrations (10 percent).

“We’ve been doing this for a long time and we have created a good data base of consumers who are telling us what they are looking for,” Jewell said, indicating that this is great information for buyers and sellers alike in the berry category.