The Californian Prune Board (CPB) is hoping that the US market will believe that a prune by another name tastes even better, and have announced the October launch of a new $10m advertising campaign for the fruit.
Sales of the prune have fallen steadily over the last ten years; despite numerous attempts to convince the US public that there was more to the wrinkly processed food than its renowned laxative qualities. Toted as a “powerhouse of nutrition… naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free and sodium-free and a good source of vitamin A, potassium and fibre,” the prune still failed to inspire the notoriously health-conscious US consumers. The solution to its waning popularity? A revamp and name change.
“People have told us that dried plums evoke a more positive ‘fresh fruit goodness’ image. They’ve said they’re more likely to eat dried plums than prunes,” said the executive director of the CPB, Richard Peterson. Not too much of a long shot for the prune growers in California, the world’s largest producer of the fruit, who are hoping that the fortunes of the prune may now follow those of the Chinese gooseberry, otherwise known as the kiwifruit.
The campaign will not reach supermarket shelves outside the US. Peggy Castaldi, Marketing Director of the CPB, explained that, “it is only in the (US) that prunes have a negative image. Outside the (US) people have very, very positive associations with prunes.” Particularly in Europe, the prune is a staple requirement of many dishes.
The campaign will only be short-term. Castaldi insisted that, “if you can get people to try it, in general they like it and will buy it.” There are no plans at this stage to rename CPB the Californian Dried Plum Board.
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