Applewood Fresh Growers’ Shelby Babcock Discusses Michigan Apple Promotions and Branded Varieties

Chandler James // Thursday, April 13th 2023

SPARTA, MI – To tell the Applewood Fresh Growers story, there must be an emphasis on Michigan apples. Spreading that awareness is the grower’s primary marketing tactic, though it employs many strategies to achieve its goals.

Applewood Fresh Marketing and Sales Specialist Shelby Babcock

Shelby Babcock, Marketing and Sales Specialist, Applewood Fresh Growers

“When Applewood Fresh started in 2019, the initial focus was on the fundamentals of marketing,” Shelby Babcock, Marketing and Sales Specialist, told me. “We wanted to build a foundation that we can layer with more in-depth customized programs for our customers in the years to come. Our team is now shifting our focus to increase our B2B marketing tactics, while keeping B2C efforts in place.”

Shelby explained that each customer has specific needs that need to be met depending on their location, demographic of customers, and products offered. Applewood offers customization tactics that can emphasize the programs retailers already have in place and stay up-to-date with their teams.

EverCrisp Single Apple Sleeve

Applewood Fresh Growers’ Single Sleeve Apple covers fit a single apple and are great for sampling, customer giveaways, and check-out lanes

Applewood is looking for innovative ways to get apples into the hands of consumers. To do so, it utilizes in-store demonstrations, media/photography, social media content, displays, customized in-store signage, and more. For example, Applewood currently has Single Sleeve Apple covers that fit a single apple for the EverCrisp variety.

“We are keeping the traditional marketing methods such as ads and displays, but also adding in new, innovative elements like social media that can hit a different target market,” Shelby continued. “You can reach anyone from the touch of a button now—an aspect that was unheard of 20 years ago.”

Kiku Apples Influencer Box Samples

These influencer kits featured the Kiku apple variety for sampling and influencer purposes

At the store level, Shelby assured me that Applewood can help buyers from an operational standpoint. The brand is willing to participate in customer-specific programs, such as loyalty programs, coupons, and events. Its digital marketing and advertising also drive consumers to specific retailers looking for certain varieties.

“We are not looking to be the biggest shipper/marketer out there for Michigan apples, but we do want to provide high-quality, consistent fruit that retailers can depend on year after year,” Shelby continued. “People oftentimes get lost in the big-picture stuff and forget about the minor details that matter—providing standards like no other.”

Applewood Fresh Growers team members Southern Exposure

From left to right are Brian Coates, Shelby Babcock, and Scott Swindeman with Applewood Fresh at the SEPC event this past March.

Applewood aims to be a year-round supplier of Michigan apples. The grower offers varieties into late June and some through July. Currently, its focus is on branded varieties like EverCrisp, Ambrosia, Kiku, and Kanzi, as well as core varieties like Gala and Fuji.

With such a wide-ranging repertoire and marketing efforts to match, it is no wonder why Applewood Fresh has become a top provider of Michigan-grown apples. As we continue to keep our eyes on the grower, keep clicking back to ANUK.

Source: And Now You Know