“At the beginning of the pandemic and still today we are faced with different shopper behavior than we’d typically expect,” Overly told FoodNavigator-USA.
In March, demand for Sun-Maid products was up considerably, he said, spurring the company to ramp up production while ensuring employee health and safety. Sun-Maid Raisin sales were up +18.2% last quarter, according to Overly.
“For back to school, of course we had planned to meet the demand of single-serve items and instead are now in a situation where we are selling through a lot more multi-serve packs,” he said.
Anticipating consumer demand for multi-pack items, the 108-year-old brand is promoting options such as its Sun-Maid Bites (snack-bite clusters of whole fruit, oats, and nuts), which come in four flavors (PB & J, birthday cake, s’mores, and banana split) and in a multi-serve pack.
“We hear a lot that consumers are looking for variety and options the kids will crave – being home all day and looking for new snacks. This is a great solution,” said Overly.
Back-to-school campaign: ‘Childhood is always in session’
In order to promote the brand to moms and families with kids heading back to school either virtually, or for in-person classroom learning in some states, Sun-Maid has launched a new back-to-school campaign with the tagline: 'Childhood is always in session.'
The campaign builds on and highlights the company’s first repackaging overhaul and advertising in over a decade introduced last year which features a bold, more modern look calling out its key product differentiation in the snacking category (e.g. 0g of added sugar, ‘made with whole fruit’, and Non-GMO Project verification).
“This year, the school year looks a whole lot different than mom is used to. But just like it always has been, Sun-Maid will continue to support mom during this unique back-to-school season with its portfolio of snacks made with whole fruit,” he said.
“Sun-Maid's back-to-school campaign is all about reminding mom that no matter the circumstances, childhood is always in session!”
The full 360 campaign includes a partnership with Shelley Johannes, author of the “Beatrice Zinker – Upside Down Thinker” books, whose message is all about looking at situations from a new perspective, said Overly.
The books’ illustrations and art style inspired the imagery and messaging for Sun-Maid’s new back-to-school campaign.
Original better-for-you snack?
While a legacy brand with origins dating back over 100 years, Sun-Maid has stayed current by continually rolling out new product innovations to its portfolio including Sun-Maid Bites, Yogurt Covered Raisins, and Sour Raisin Snacks.
“We’ve grown up from the little iconic red box that you may remember, into versatile and innovative snacks that match today’s tastes and snacking needs,” said Overly.
According to Overly, Sun-Maid raisin products are the original better-for-you snack for consumers, containing no-added sugar (with the exception of its Bites line which has 5g of added sugar), no artificial flavors, and no synthetic flavors.
Overly added that Sun-Maid has also benefited from the rise in home baking as a staple home baking ingredient.
“With the rise in home cooking and baking, paired with the shelf life of stable whole fruits, consumers are making more of a conscious decision to make fewer and bigger shopping trips,” he said.
“You add in our rich history, with our latest product innovations like Sun-Maid Sour Raisin Snacks and Sun-Maid Bites that allow us to take our trusted little raisin into new formats that appeal to new consumers and their taste buds.”
FOOD FOR KIDS 2020 virtual summit
Which meals do parents find the most challenging when it comes to finding something that's easy, affordable, healthy, AND appealing to feed to their kids? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Find out what parents have to say during WEEK 1 of the FOOD FOR KIDS virtual summit on Oct. 21st when we'll kick off the online event series with a lively consumer panel discussion! Register your interest in tuning in HERE.