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#PRWIN: Sun-Maid Raisins Irons Out the Wrinkles

#PRWIN: Sun-Maid Raisins Irons Out the Wrinkles

My bet is that it’s been a long time since you opened up a box of raisins—at least for YOU to snack on, rather than your kids – but when you did, I bet it was a box of Sun-Maid. This brand is in the interesting position of being one of the world’s most recognizable, with its logo barely changed since its beginnings in 1912, but facing falling sales and a total lack of relevance to the rising generation of millennials.1

But if there’s one thing Sun-Maid knows, it’s that shriveling up doesn’t mean dying forever, and that success can be made from sour grapes.

With the onboarding of a new CEO, Harry Overly, the company has ambitious plans to ensure that raisins rule again. With the accelerating decline in crop prices and raisin sales – prices fell 31% in 2017 alone2 – Sun-Maid had barely been promoting its brand or its product at all. It basically functioned on subsistence, in fact, for the past two decades. Now it’s examining its strengths and weaknesses to figure out where it can make up for lost market share.

Market research has shown Sun-Maid (perhaps unsurprisingly) that Baby Boomers and kindergartners are the two primary groups who still consume raisins.3 Older folks are the only adults to whom raisins seem to be relevant as a snack, and parents seem to buy them for kids from the time they begin solid food until they grow out of them as they begin to make their own snacking decisions.

Overly knew that the resurrection of the raisin depends on re-introducing it to millennials and keeping it in kids’ hands as they age.

For inspiration, he looked to another snack that millennials and Gen Z love: Sour Patch Kids. Sun-Maid has been able to develop its natural alternative to the sugary candy that packs the same sour punch: sour raisins.

See what I mean about sour grapes and success?!

The new sour raisins come in flavors like watermelon, mixed berry, strawberry – and grape. Critically, Sun-Maid will also be able to stock them next to the fruit snacks in stores, away from the nut and baby food sections where raisins are usually relegated away from most shoppers’ eyes.4

Sun-Maid is also taking advantage of the fact that its product inherently jives with healthier snacking trends: no added sugars, no GMO, and 100% locally grown in California.

“We have a high amount of brand awareness and so now it’s really about conversion–about reminding them and getting them down that aisle,” Overly says.5

Speaking of brand awareness, findings by Sun-Maid’s consumer research team proved that there was one thing that absolutely had to stay the same: the Sun-Maid logo. It has so much nostalgic value, Overly says, that changing it would “literally be like changing the American flag.”6

Here’s to a raisin renaissance and a “sunny” new chapter in the life of one of America’s great brands.

  1. Raphael, Rina. “Big Raisin Is Not Going to Let Millennials Kill It off without a Fight.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 17 Jan. 2019, www.fastcompany.com/90293336/big-raisin-is-not-going-to-let-millennials-kill-it-off-without-a-fight.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Feifer, Jason. “Sun-Maid Raisins Has a Bold Plan to Reinvent Itself. (Watch Out, Fruit Roll-Ups!).” Entrepreneur, 29 May 2019, www.entrepreneur.com/article/333198?utm_source=HearstNewspapers&%3Butm_medium=related&%3Butm_campaign=syndication.
  5. Raphael, Rina. “Big Raisin Is Not Going to Let Millennials Kill It off without a Fight.” Fast Company, Fast Company, 17 Jan. 2019, www.fastcompany.com/90293336/big-raisin-is-not-going-to-let-millennials-kill-it-off-without-a-fight.
  6. Ibid.

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