How growers became marketing tools

With phrases like ‘fresh from the fields,’ some sweet music and a flashily edited video, more and more retailers are devoting themselves to food stories. In these videos, supermarket chains, among others, show consumers how cultivation works. The grower suddenly becomes a marketing tool.

Marketing specialist Paul Moers sees it increasingly often: a grower being used in a video from a supermarket or another kind of retailer. According to the expert, the videos are partially made for curious consumers, but also because retailers have to justify themselves. “It’s important that supermarkets are transparent towards consumers,” Paul says. “Let’s be honest: we live in a world in which not everything is always right. Transparency is therefore important. I once worked with Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn to make such a commercial for a bell pepper grower. That way, Albert Heijn wanted to show what’s behind the story of the product’s sustainability. It’s fun to tell your consumers that you use little to no fertiliser as a supermarket, and that you have wasps flying around your greenhouses.”

Social media
According to the marketing specialist it isn’t just clever to make a cultivation-related video, nowadays it’s also much simpler than it was in the past. “It’s much easier to make a video than it used to be,” Paul says. “In the past you needed expensive cameras, and now videos can easily be uploaded to YouTube or Instagram. These are excellent tools to show what you do. Besides, it’s naturally still a kind of advertising. Such a company tells a bit about itself, about what they’re doing.”

Yet there’s a problem according to the expert: originality. Because every retailer is using this tool, it can be difficult to stand out by means of food stories. “Albert Heijn has been doing it for years, and if one company’s doing it, other companies also have to start doing it,” Paul says. “Anyway, consumers are interested in the origin of their food. Albert Heijn, for example, organises the Buitendag (a day outdoors), which people can sign up for. They then spent the day finding out where their fruit and vegetables come from. People want to see what growers do.”

Bonding with the product
One of the reasons consumers are interested in the origin of their food, is that over the years, a divide has come into existence between the food and the consumer, according to Paul. “Fifty years ago, all food was regional. That trend is becoming increasingly important, and supermarkets are responding to it more as well. It’s important that a supermarket shows the truth in their videos. When parties start lying, it’ll soon be found out. That’s not desirable.”

Grower is the hero
Although the growers participate in the retailers’ videos, it mostly benefits the retailers. After all, that’s where consumers buy their fresh products. Yet according to Paul, the growers don’t count for nothing in the food stories. “Not just consumers, but also supermarkets appreciate growers enormously after such a video. Growers show they work authentically, naturally and safely. That way, you become more appealing to the market, because you are transparent. For growers it’s a great opportunity to participate in these videos.”

More information:
Paul Moers

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