Driscoll’s, a California-based seller of fresh strawberries and other berries, has released a new line of strawberries and raspberries with a decidedly millennial twist. Instead of the traditional red color and sweet flavor profile, the berries were light pink and had notes of floral and peach.
Frances Dillard, Driscoll’s senior director of brand and product marketing, said the taste was "silky and creamy, almost like a creamsicle”.
Sold at a limited number of stores on the West Coast and available through Fresh Direct on the East Coast, the berries’ late-spring launch aligned with the start of rosé season.
Driscoll’s creates proprietary seedling varieties of berries, but doesn’t actually grow any fruit. Instead, it provides seeds to farmers, who keep 85% of the revenue, and then handles marketing and distribution.
For the past few years, the company has been developing a pink berry with an unusual flavor profile. When members from Allison+Partners, Driscoll’s marketing partner, toured the R&D facility in August 2018 and tasted the berry, they realized the company had a buzzy new product on its hands.
"We started playing around with it," Dillard said. "Younger consumers, the millennials, were more open to a strawberry that didn’t look like a strawberry.”
The berries neatly aligned with a macro trend: rosé. Both the wine and color have exploded in popularity in recent years. Driscoll’s main goal for the campaign was to differentiate itself from other brands by introducing premium berry lines that drive sales for retail partners and command higher prices.
"We were really looking to lean into flavor as a core purchase driver," said Lisa Rosenberg, Allison+Partners’ chief creative officer. This meant emphasizing the berry’s similarities with rosé wine.
Before a new berry is released, Driscoll’s tests around a thousand varieties with consumers. "Our mission is always flavor," Dillard said. The company wanted to release its line of rosé berries in time for the start of rosé season in June. "We knew the media was going to have to taste it to understand the unique flavor profile, and to also get past its unique look," Rosenberg said. "We wanted reporters and media to taste them at their peak."
Prweek.com reported how, directly before the berries were made available to the public, Driscoll’s shipped boxes to select media organizations across the country.