English Apples & Pears (EAP) has officially launched its new ‘Great British Apples’ brand campaign with the opening of an interactive pop-up store in London that celebrates the first-ever Great British Apples Day today (Friday 20 October).
Open today only, the ‘Great British Apples Store’ marks the focus of a new marketing drive for the sector, which features point-of-sale advertising at UK retailers, coupled with social media activity and press events.
Prior to opening the doors to the public, last night (Thursday 19 October) EAP invited members, plus a select group of trade representatives and media, to experience an immersive and multi-sensory pre-launch event with apple-based activities and apple-inspired food and drink.
Speaking at the launch, EAP chairman Phil Acock and EAP chief executive Steven Munday said the campaign marks a new chapter for the organisation and a distinct shift away from its traditional promotional activities.
In recognition of an age where no one in fresh produce can afford to stand still, the duo explained that by building a completely new brand EAP aims to raise consumer confidence in British apples and deliver more returns to growers.
“It’s time to shake things up,” pointed out Acock, who is also managing director of Fourayes, a Bramley apple grower and the UK’s largest fruit processor and commercial jam manufacturer for bakeries.
“British apples are more than just a commodity,” he continued. “British providence is recognised as an added value and we’re taking steps to meet this opportunity.
“Great British Apples Day is a new focus around which to build our activities. We hope in time we will see the [Great British Apples] logo appear across the trade; from the field to the shelf and all points in between.”
The key function of the new brand is to allow consumers to easily differentiate between apples grown in this country and those produced elsewhere, explained EAP chief executive Steven Munday.
“We’re developing a generic brand that all EAP members can benefit from,” Munday pointed out.
“We need something easily understood and immediately appreciated by both retailers and consumers. That all important point to connect what you may have seen or heard elsewhere at the point of purchase.
“We think we’ve found that with [the brand] Great British Apples. The new brand is built around provenance, quality, freshness and convenience, which are all important for consumers, as are the traceability and sustainability of apples.
“We’re investing for a future where the term ‘Great British apples’ stands for more than just country of origin.”
In what is only the introductory year for the campaign, Munday revealed that many UK retailers are already on board; telling PBUK that local supermarket operator Booths in the northwest of the country has carried out some activities.
“I’m pleased to say that the many retailers I have spoken to have given us a good hearing, and very supportive language is being used,” he explains.
“We’ve been warmly welcomed by retailers in just year one. We’ve seen some highly encouraging initiatives; ranging from PLU labelling to pack marking and POS materials to get the campaign represented both in store and online in 2017/18.”
To help promote the brand campaign further, Acock also encouraged those EAP members present to add a link to the new Great British Apples website on their own companies’ websites and to incorporate the logo into their social media, newsletter and email activities.
Great British Apples Store
The first-of-its-kind Great British Apples Store is located at Icetank, a contemporary event space in London’s bustling Covent Garden.
Today, visitors to the store will discover a bespoke English apple ‘orchard’ lit up with red and green apple-coloured lighting in a crisp, white room where apples hang like baubles from the windows, and a video of the apple picking and packing process is projected onto a wall.
The store is decorated with real apple trees in pots and white crates filled with apples, while birdsong can be heard in the background; all giving the effect of being in an orchard. Its main focus is an apple variety bar behind which the walls are stocked high with the varieties available in Britain now.
Organised by EAP together with its recently-appointed marketing agency Richmond & Towers Communication (RTC), the store is open from 10am to 7pm, offering apple tasting and crafting activities.
The upper level of the store features the apple variety bar which showcases 12 different apple varieties that are currently in season. Visitors can sample complimentary slices of Cox, Braeburn, Jazz, Smitten, Kanzi, Cameo, Amelia, Gala, Opal, Rubens, Russet and Spartan. A seasonal calendar showing availability is also displayed.
The apple theme continues downstairs with activities including a modern take on apple bobbing, in addition to apple carving and apple decorating, plus an eye-catching photo wall that is made entirely from apples, apple leaves and apple branches.
“Today we have about 40 so-called ‘influencers’ coming, including bloggers and retailers’ magazines, in addition to growers, EAP members, the general public and any passersby,” Munday reveals.
“A local school is coming too because part of the Great British Apples campaign focuses on healthy eating.
“We want to put across the message that apples are good for you and that Great British apples are even better.”
Rob Metcalfe, chief executive of RTC, said the pop-up store is well on its way to generating positive media coverage.
“A London Live News TV crew and Saturday Kitchen have been to the store already, and we expect many more,” he said.
“We’ve had a positive reaction from right across the spectrum. Everyone has reacted positively to the [Great British Apples] concept, the logo and the promotional programme.”
While it’s still too early to estimate the pack-out for this year’s British apple harvest, EAP chairman Munday said quality is excellent.
“The fruit that’s come off is excellent in terms of taste, sweetness and colour,” he told PBUK. “It remains to be seen where we are in terms of volume. I’d like to think that we’ll go for 12 months again, like last year.”
During the preview event Munday also revealed to PBUK that he is leaving EAP towards the end of the year once a successor is in place.
“EAP has been through a period of significant change; my tenure has been about getting EAP ready for the future, and now it’s about understanding the direction the organisation will take next,” he explained.