Positively Prunes: December 2020

Bringing it all Home

It’s officially time to spread that holiday cheer and share the abundant positives that California Prunes offer. Pandemic-related demand for prunes has favored pantry stocking, immunity-supporting foods, and cooking at home – reinforcing our purpose of promoting lifetime wellness through the enjoyment of California Prunes. We are gaining new insights from nutrition, crop, and market research and reaching new consumers who have transformed the way they live and work this year. Our recipe for sustaining this momentum is a dose of versatility mixed with legendary taste and a pinch of innovation. To every grower, handler, and partner in the California Prune industry, thank you for your efforts to navigate this year together, and cheers to a bright future.

-Kiaran Locy, Director of Brand & Industry Communications

California Prunes Take Center Stage at INC Virtual Conference

As sponsors of the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC) online conference this November, California Prunes were the focus of the session titled “News from the California Prune Orchards.” Moderated by Donn Zea, the conversation with California Prune growers highlighted what makes California uniquely positioned as the leader in the global prune industry. The session was well-attended with nearly half of registered attendees tuning in to hear California Prune growers Joe Turkovich, Nick Micheli, and John Taylor discuss this year’s quality crop and what makes California Prunes so special.

California Prunes were also featured in an Industry Marketing Programs panel featuring Kevin Verbruggen, European Marketing Director, CPB (Europe), while former INC Chair Mark Mariani of Mariani Packing, represented dried fruits in the Americas Working Group session. The California Prunes virtual 3D booth also provided attendees a chance to learn more about the California difference with information for the trade on how they can grow their business with California Prunes. IHS Markit, a UK-based publisher of business information for multiple industries captured the conversations from the grower panel in a trade article here.

The 2021 INC Congress is scheduled to return for an in-person event in Dubai next May.

Hear Why These Researchers Study Bone Health and Prunes

A decades-long, growing body of research indicates a remarkably positive connection between California Prunes and bone health. The bone mass attained early in life is an important determinant of bone health throughout aging and may affect various populations differently depending on a variety of factors. The prevalence of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures is growing more rapidly in South Korea than in other countries. A new study that began this year is the first to investigate the bone protective benefits in postmenopausal Korean women.

The 12-month clinical trial investigates the beneficial effects of prune consumption on bone mineral density (BMD) and changes in bone turnover markers in Korean postmenopausal women age 50-75 with osteopenia (low bone mass), expanding the Board’s strategic focus on prunes’ role in bone health internationally. The trial is currently underway with a March 2022 completion date.

Read more about the investigators, Peter Clifton and Yoona Kim, and their interest in bone research in general, and prunes’ role in a postmenopausal model:

Professor Peter Clifton (University of South Australia), physician and endocrinologist, is the Australian principal investigator with many years overseeing clinical trials. He states: “I see many patients with osteoporosis who, because of age or lack of fractures, are not eligible for subsidized drug therapy. Thus, lifestyle and dietary approaches are very important in this group. Important nutrients (other than calcium and vitamin D) include magnesium, silicon, vitamin K, and boron. Prunes have magnesium and are an excellent source of vitamin K. The clinical data in support of prunes’ influencing bone density is limited with essentially only one group providing positive results. The other trials were too small and too short, so there is a strong need for more data and post-menopausal women have active bone loss early in menopause which may be influenced by micronutrients.”

Assistant Professor Yoona Kim (Gyeongsang National University) is the co-investigator in Korea. Dr. Kim received her Ph.D. from the University of South Australia and is a dietitian accredited in the Korean Dietetic Association. She states: “Korea is now entering an aging society. Osteopenia and osteoporosis are associated with an increase in age with longer life expectancy. Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and microarchitecture resulting in the increased risk of fracture of the hip, spine, and other skeletal sites. Osteoporosis is also an emerging global public health problem as the population continues to age. In this aspect, bone health is very crucial to improve the quality of life during the life cycle. Postmenopausal women are at significant risk for osteoporosis due to the lack of estrogen. Appropriate diet and physical activity can delay osteoporosis for women with osteopenia. Prunes have magnesium, vitamin K, and other nutrients that can contribute to bone health.”

Marketing Update

California Prunes Have a Bone to Pick

No bones about it — California Prunes are becoming a topic of nutrition conversations around the globe as seen through the communication efforts in key markets. Here’s how the bone health benefits of California Prunes are being shared around the world:

With a strategic focus on laying the foundation for bone health messaging in PR and marketing, teams across the world have primed their audiences on the benefits of California Prunes. In the U.S., the dietetics community received an E-blast from Today’s Dietitian, promoting California Prunes as a “best friend to bones… as good for tibias as they are for tummies.”

The sponsored content included several nutrition facts about bone health and paved the way for the “Bone Health Boosters” in collaboration with Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN to be shared in local newspapers early next year.

Across the pond, California Prunes were featured in an article in Baking Europe, which highlighted information about the bone health benefits of California Prunes reaching over 12,000 readers in the UK, while an Italian PR event with Dietitian and Nutritionist, Annamaria Aquaviva, communicated the many health benefits of California Prunes with a particular focus on bone health.

In Japan, the CPB team collaborated with the Japan Osteoporosis Foundation, for a cross-promotion generating additional web traffic to the California Prunes (Japan) website. The team also facilitated the development of a health booklet entitled, “A Miracle Fruit that Supports One’s Health and Beauty – The Secrets of California Prunes.” The booklet is part of the Nutrient Library series and was published by leading health care professionals: Dr. Shigeru Orimo, Ph.D., Chair of the Japan Osteoporosis Foundation, and Prof. Kazuhiro Uenishi, Ph.D. – Nutritional physiology, and will be shared with the trade, and consumer and trade media, as well as those within the health care industry.

In September, California Prunes reached over 4 million Chinese consumers through digital and print media with a message about the positive effect on bone health. Consumers were also reached through the California Prunes branded Weibo and WeChat social media accounts.

In Canada, a new Benefit for Bone Health website page went live featuring an infographic, and Canadian dietitians received a dedicated newsletter during Osteoporosis Month reminding healthcare professionals to recommend California Prunes to their clients. A new suite of digital ads will focus on several themes including bone health, reaching Canadian consumers visiting websites like healthline.com, simplyrecipes.com, allrecipes.com, webmd.com, and many more while TV spots aired in November focused on Osteoporosis Month in the country.

New Campaign Encourages Canadians of All Ages to TEAM UP with California Prunes

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games re-scheduled, athletes worldwide will continue training from now through next year. This additional training year provides an opportunity for California Prunes to authentically align with rising Canadian stars who are and will become local and national heroes as the Olympics draw closer.

CPB is partnering with 36 Canadian athletes who have competed or will be competing on the world stage, in a “Team Up with California Prunes” campaign. Working with the athletes, and the experts behind the athletes, driving home three key benefits (bone, gut, and fiber) of California Prunes to all Canadians. These ambassadors of varying ages and backgrounds are helping inspire Canadians to be more active and proactive in their bone maintenance. They are being featured in ad campaigns, videos, podcasts, on the California Prunes (Canada) website, and more. One of the underlying objectives in all activities is to convey: An athlete, at any age. A snack, at any age; California Prunes. Prunes. For Life.

While messages are tailored to athletes to show benefits specific to their training, they are also curated with relevant and easy-to-understand concepts for general consumers. Check out the athletes’ hub section on californiaprunes.ca to learn more about the current campaign.

SIAL China Reaches New Potential Buyers

CPB promoted California Prunes at SIAL 2020 in September. CPB customized point-of-sale materials with the new logo and the latest California Prunes nutritional information were provided to attendees in the booth. Informative flyers, buyer brochures, and tasting samples were also distributed during the show.

Show outcomes exceeded outreach goals, successfully generating 52 trade leads and two new importers of California Prunes.

“Blessings of California” TV Ad Campaign Builds On Success

CPB continues to build upon the success of the 2019/20 “Blessings of California” commercial. Originally created for Japan, our single largest export market, the ad now has opportunities in Italy as well.

In October, the ad was featured in three of Japan’s major metro areas, followed by a campaign in November, where it was run in four major regional hubs. The TV ad, which highlights the premium quality of California Prunes through well-timed mass media exposure, has also bolstered trade relationships to increase overall consumption as indicated by point-of-sale data.

The ad was adapted for the Italian market and tested among consumers, where it was positively-received. The video is also being used on social media channels, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to reach trade members. This multi-channel marketing approach has been an effective way to reach 3.5 million Italian consumers and bring to life the health benefits, premium quality, and taste of California Prunes.

Reduce, Replace, Reward: A Message for Bakers

Pantry stocking and home baking continue to uptick as consumers spend more time at home. Home cooks seek new inspiration for the holidays through indulgent treats but love a “better-for-you” alternative when they can get it. Serving up inspirational California Prune recipes will have consumers eating their cake and creating healthier habits.

In the UK, California Prunes kicked off the holiday season with a 5-page print and digital feature in Baking Europe magazine, the definitive publication for the latest trends and innovation in the European bakery, confectionery, and allied trades. The article focused on the fat- and sugar-reduction properties of California Prunes and was amplified on LinkedIn reaching new suppliers and generating introductions for future business potential.

While baking is on-trend in 2020, Americans have often taken a cue from Europeans on premium confections. So it’s no surprise that the domestic team is capitalizing on English cookbook writer and endorser Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook which features recipes using prunes and the popularity of British baking shows to entice consumers to make California Prune recipes. Content with eye-catching imagery invites bakers to buy premium ingredients like California Prunes and showcases the amazing versatility of the fruit.

The “Reduce, Reward, Replace” messaging emphasizes how California Prunes can be used to reduce sweeteners and fats in holiday treats. Leading up to the holiday season, top U.S. lifestyle media editors gathered for a virtual Home for the Holidays event layered with background on the farming process from grower Sandie Mitchell, nutritional benefits from RD Leslie Bonci, and an immersive cooking experience with Chef Barbara Alexander. California Prunes are also featured our holiday recipes, and in a Produce for Better Health digital content series running this month, culminating in a steady stream of communications to end the year.

UK Ambassador Chef Crafts New Culinary Creations with California Prunes

High-profile ambassador chef, Peter Sidwell, is creating a range of delicious new recipes, all of which showcase the versatility and mouth-watering taste of California Prunes. Peter’s plans for the California Prune Board include the development of 10 new culinary creations, accompanied by digital content to showcase his recipes to a trade and consumer audience.

Peter says: “California Prunes are a versatile and delicious addition to a range of dishes, adding sweetness, texture, and depth in flavor. They’re tasty, high in quality and extremely nutritious, and can be used by food producers, chefs, and consumers to bring any type of cuisine to life.”

Among the first of his new recipes, Peter has created a dish that combines California Prunes with chicken, cream, and brandy. The dish is showcased in a dynamic video, which is being used on social media channels in the UK and other key markets.

Prune-packed News

38 Best Low-Sugar Foods to Satisfy Every Type of CravingGood Housekeeping with additional pickup from up by MSN Lifestyle and Yahoo! News

Your Skeleton Replaces Itself Every 10 Years—Here’s What You Can Do Now To Protect Your Bones for LifeWell and Good

Mouse study reveals a positive connection between dried plums and bone healthNutra Ingredients USA

Prune sales boosted by Covid shoppersFruitNet

Boning Up on Good HealthToronto Sun

Sticky Toffee Pudding Prune SquaresBake from Scratch (sponsored)

Holiday Recipe Roundup

Check out what California Prunes bring to the table in our Holiday Recipe Collection and add a bit of wonder to each course of your holiday meals. From savory to sweet applications, California Prunes add that something special to a variety of dishes!