- De Souza continues to advocate for the return of visits that can be executed safely with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) in place so that interim and final measurements can be made in the study on bone health in postmenopausal women.
- Hooshmand and Kern report that they plan to be back in the lab in the middle of June and do not anticipate any delays in their study on bone health in women on oral contraceptive agents.
- Arjmandi is awaiting IRB approval to begin in-person visits in his research on prunes and rate of fracture healing.
- Kim/Clifton report that the IRB has approved their study in South Korea and arrangements are being made for prune shipments.
Effects of Dried Plum (Prunes) on Bone Density and Strength in Men
Shirin Hooshmand, Mark Kern et al.
Although there were no statistically significant changes in bone mineral density (BMD) from baseline to 6 months and 12 months in the sites measured in the control group (0 g/day prunes or 100 g/day prunes), there were modest beneficial effects of prunes in bone geometry suggesting promotion of greater bone strength.
The Short-Term Effects of Prunes in Preventing Inflammation and Improving Indices of Bone Health in Osteopenic Men
Bahram Arjmandi et al.
This study, primarily funded by USDA with the Board providing prunes, reported that regular consumption of either 100g or 50g prunes for three months may make some contributions to bone formation and bone turnover activity, and minimal contribution to decreasing inflammation and improving bone density and quality. More information would be available after the full 1-year trial.
Alterations in Gut Health, Bone and Inflammatory Biomarkers, and Blood Flow After Three Months of Prune Consumption.
Elizabeth Foley, Bahram Arjmandi, et al.
While statistical comparisons in this preliminary data set did not reveal any significant changes with the addition of prunes to the diet, additional parameters of inflammation, bone density and turnover, and gut health are currently being evaluated. Preliminary data suggests that prunes affect bacterial communities, but that the effect is dependent upon the dosage (50 or 100 g).
Domestic Marketing Updates
Social Influencers Reach Millions; Shares Recipes, Photos
As part of a year-long program, California Prunes partnered with bloggers and social media influencers to create recipes, photos, and tips for enjoying California Prunes which kicked off last harvest as part of the Sunset magazine event. Throughout the year, the California Prunes social influencers have inspired their readers through blog posts and social media content that further amplifies and demonstrates the endless versatility, premium quality, great taste, and amazing nutritional benefits of California Prunes. Throughout the 2019/2020 program, the 21 influencers reached nearly 6 million people across a variety of channels with their content including this Flourless Chocolate Chunk California Prune Cookies from Paleo Paparazzi and this video how-to for California Prune Oatmeal Bars from Krolls Korner.
Expert Advice from RDs Amplify the California Prunes Nutrition Story
Throughout the year, California Prunes has continued to build upon and expand a robust nutrition communications program featuring credible nutrition professionals to advocate for California Prunes while influencing consumers and other nutrition experts. This year’s Registered Dietitian (RD) Ambassadors have created custom content featuring the benefits and versatility of California Prunes as well as securing media in print, broadcast, and online outlets. Check out RD Ambassador Leslie Bonci’s Tips on Reaching Core Nutrition Goals with California Prunes and Annessa Chumbley sharing snack ideas featuring California Prunes while kids are home. Read all of the RD articles on the Expert Advice page and be on the lookout for more coverage to come including Men’s Journal, MyFitnessPal, and Better Homes & Gardens.
Nutrition Roadshows Go Virtual, Reaching Expanded Audiences
In response to COVID-19, scheduled nutrition conferences including the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Today’s Dietitian, and Produce for Better Health have pivoted to virtual events. As a conference sponsor, California Prunes had the opportunity to prepare and execute online programming and digital integrations, including newsletter inclusions, social media integration, and a custom webinar by long-time California Prunes ambassador, Leslie Bonci, RD.
The digital shift also gave way to the California Prunes Wellness Hub. To further build upon the nutrition resources offered on the site, California Prunes created multiple digital assets including an illustrated video and digital nutrition guide. These interactive multimedia resources help share easy-to-digest nutrition factoids and healthy living tips with California Prunes. Visit the California Prunes Wellness Hub and share a healthy surprise with others.
California Prunes also worked with Today’s Dietitian to commission a survey to gain new insights from registered dietitians (RDs) during the COVID-19 timeframe and better inform our messaging. Completed by 1,074 respondents, findings hot off the presses show RDs strongly to somewhat agree that consumers are most interested in: Convenient/easy-to-prepare foods (82%); Shelf/pantry stable products (81%); Immunity-supporting foods (74%); and Snacking (66). The survey findings will be used to develop a continuing education webinar for RDs later this summer and serve as a relationship-building and visibility-boosting opportunity for California Prunes among the influential RD audience.
Global Market Update
Though the global market has been affected by COVID-19, the California Prune industry has been quick to provide solutions to promote California Prunes to consumers and trade audiences. Here’s how each market has handled the pandemic.
In March, CPB Canada ran a digital contest to increase awareness of the California Prunes website and key messages to the masses via an online consumer contest that geo-targeted audiences and key markets and drove consumers to the website. The contest resulted in 6,435 visits to the website and 3,520 valid entries.
The contest sign-up form asked entrants if they knew that California Prunes were good for bones and 73% answered YES! As many Canadians were placed in lockdown due to COVID-19, a further jump in entries was noticed.
In response to COVID-19, Chinese consumers are paying more attention to enhancing the body’s immune system so as to lower the risk of infection. CPB China used this opportunity to educate consumers on California Prunes’ immune health benefits and encourage them to eat California Prunes as a perfect snack. Articles on this topic were published on 25 online mainstream food and health-related websites. In total, this round of press coverage was a huge success, reaching 26 million consumers, generating 43.28 million impressions, and creating a total value of US $198,650.
In addition to promoting gut health, the campaign highlighted that California Prunes are high in fiber and a good source of Vitamin B6, copper, and manganese, which can help support the normal function of the immune system and protect cells from oxidative stress, all of which are trending topics. CPB will continue to launch press coverage campaigns in the future.
From January through March, CPB Europe worked with popular TV show, Donnavventura, for product placements within 6 Donnavventura episodes. The goal was to enhance brand visibility and raise awareness by reaching a wide consumer audience and make key trade contacts part of the preview process. The product placement reached 18 million people on TV. This number is expected to increase with possible fall repeats.
In addition to the TV exposure, trade media included one dedicated press release and 10 dedicated articles for a total of 40,047 reach and $7,350 ad value. On CPB social, there were 20 Facebook and Instagram posts with 115,303 video views and 2,116 interactions. On Donnavventura social, there were 10 posts on Facebook and Instagram with 16,700 video views and 2,594 interactions. Overall, CPB Europe felt the TV format works well with California Prune placements, with and without branded packs, and is also a good propeller of the “natural & healthy snack during the day” starting from breakfast.
With more consumers staying at home and working remotely, there has been an increased use of smart devices and social networks. In an effort to support the community, CPB Korea utilized social media and social media advertising to inform consumers on how California Prunes can help during hard times. Posts provided information and tips about California Prunes health benefits, uses, and California premium messaging.
The engagement rate, reach, and fan/followers significantly exceeded CPB Korea’s goals. Key highlights include:
- 23% increased number of fans
- 21% increased reach
- More than 50% increased engagement rate
- Total impressions: 37,996
California Prunes Branding Adopted On Pack Around the World
The launch of the California Prunes brand last year has successfully rolled out across the industry and adopted in promotions from social media to packaging in markets all over the world. The brand logo is a clear recognition for the premium quality that California is known for and gives shoppers an identifiable mark they can trust and educates consumers about the source of origin for the best prunes on earth.
The California Prune industry has adopted the brand onto packaging in both domestic and export markets including Japan and China, encouraging their consumers and everyone in the supply chain to learn more about the wonders of California Prunes. Join us to lead the industry in driving global demand for California Prunes and show your commitment by applying the new brand logo to your packaging. For more information about how to apply the brand on pack, click here or contact: Kiaran Locy at [email protected]