Timing is essential—priming the best and worst-case scenarios for certain fates or uncertain likelihoods. In fresh produce, timing is everything.
The beginning of each year presents epic alignments and possibilities, especially in a space as pivotal as fresh. With New Year’s resolutions abounding, thriving, or being revised or revitalized, February and the kick-off of 2023 bring together a passion for change and betterment—as well as National Sweet Potato Month. All these elements fulfill consumers’ appetites for tasty solutions to healthy ambitions, and the retailer’s desire to differentiate in the marketplace and be that meeting ground of solution and execution for the sweet potato lover.
Striving to meet the spud’s sky-high endeavors, Country Sweet Produce and its esteemed Bako Sweet® brand present such allure and optimization, hosting an array of programs, benefits, tailored strategies, and category insights that make each customer both unique and coveted.
All these words are pointing in a direction that Prescott Leyba, Director of Sales, is already traversing with buy-side customers. As he tells me, action—along with timing—is everything, and Bako Sweet sets the path and walks it every day to address the needs of its retail relationships.
Prescott Leyba, Director of Sales, Bako Sweet®: February is a great time for National Sweet Potato Month because we’re fresh off of January, a month many shoppers use as a “back-to-health” month after countless holiday meals and treats.
February is also National Heart Health Month, Heart Healthy Month—and National Cook-a-Sweet-Potato Day is on February 22! Sweet potatoes are heart-healthy; we’re certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program and use the organization’s logo on our packaging to educate consumers. This type of value creates a bridge between the retailer and the consumer, due to a symbol and household name that are recognized from the supply chain to the kitchen table.
Bako Sweet sweet potatoes are about as heart-healthy as a category can get. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can move consumers one step closer to a healthy lifestyle. We help communicate this to the shopper through point-of-sale (POS) materials and eye-catching packaging as well.
During the month of February, we plant our sweet potatoes in tunnels called “hotbeds.” We plant sweet potatoes in hotbeds because it traps the heat and keeps them growing right on time for harvest in the fall. So, again, this is a prime time for us to plan ahead with a great season outlook.
PL: Our goal is to use February as a month-long opportunity to educate consumers on two items: One, we want to generate excitement around the health and nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes; two, we aim to communicate how versatile an item sweet potatoes are. It’s a good reminder that foods can be healthy and taste great!
This level of engagement creates brand recognition. Sweet potatoes = Bako Sweet = heart health. It is a formula that is as great for retailers as it is for us.
PL: We’re long past the days when sweet potatoes were nothing more than a holiday staple. The category continues to grow year after year, and it’s important to provide variety and assortment to shoppers who are more interested in sweet potatoes than ever.
The category perception that “sweet potatoes are healthy for you” is strong, with 92 percent of consumers agreeing with this*. You really cannot go wrong investing around statistics like this.
“Bako Sweet® sweet potatoes are about as heart-healthy as a category can get. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can move consumers one step closer to a healthy lifestyle. We help communicate this to the shopper through point-of-sale (POS) materials and eye-catching packaging as well.”
Prescott Leyba, Director of Sales, Bako Sweet®
PL: We remain committed to partnering with retailers to elevate the category with promotional support. It’s important to make buying sweet potatoes as easy as possible!
We accomplish this goal in a myriad of ways. One is through targeted paid advertisements on social media as well as Instacart. To support social media investments, we also conduct giveaway contests, promote recipes, and make nutrition facts understandable and accessible. Additionally, our Bako Sweet website is an amazing resource for recipe creation, cooking information, and storage tips.
Not to mention, we also drive interest through our email newsletter, press releases, media placements, and, of course, merchandising support. We bring an entire tool kit already prepared to the retailer.
PL: Our support doesn’t stop when the product makes it from our facility to the store. We support our partners through the entire process.
Our product packaging was designed from the start to be optimized for merchandising and shelf appeal. In addition to consumer-friendly packaging, we offer a suite of point-of-sale materials, including display bins, grower signs, shelf tags, and a variety of educational materials.
We shifted our focus to communicating to the consumer the flavor and health benefits of sweet potatoes on our packaging materials as well.
While timing is everything, innovative support and progressive thought leaders ensure the clock is ticking toward a common goal on the retailer’s side: drive sales and consumption of sweet potatoes. In an industry where every move counts and moments cannot be gambled lightly, Bako Sweet is filling time with every advantage it can create. And the company is doing it with a sweet potato brand that is not just an echo of sweet potato excellence, but something that exemplifies its standard.*Source 2018 Sweet Potato Buyer Attitude & Usage Study by The United States Sweet Potato Council