The Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association (ECGA), a leading food safety and advocacy group for Eastern Cantaloupe growers in the Midwest and eastern U.S., has announced the launch of its Flavor of Sunshine campaign to support the 2021 Eastern Cantaloupe season. The annual campaign helps drive business for retailers with consumer-facing marketing components such as branded PLU stickers on the fruit, recipes and a social media campaign that promotes the benefits of Eastern Cantaloupes.
“Our members are proud of the Eastern Cantaloupes they grow, with their exceptional sweetness and unique flavor profile,” said Debbie Johnson, ECGA executive director. “They’re also proud of the strong partnership they have with buyers and retailers in the Midwest and eastern U.S. and are excited about the Flavor of Sunshine campaign and the positive impact it will have on retail sales.”
Also called Athena melon, muskmelon and rockmelon, among other names, Eastern Cantaloupes are grown throughout the Midwest and all along the East Coast. In its outreach to retailers, ECGA notes that melons produced in these regions, which are available from mid-June through early September, benefit from the wetter climate and rich soil, and consequently tend to be larger and sweeter than those grown in the western U.S.
“Eastern Cantaloupes go from field to store in as little as 24 hours,” said Tony Phillips, COO at Frey Farms and ECGA president. “They’re picked when ripe, ready to eat and give off an enticing aroma that hints at their incredible sweetness. They’re also larger than other cantaloupes, so they catch the eye of any shopper walking through the produce area.”
Grocers find that stocking Eastern Cantaloupes also taps into the strong consumer preference that has developed in recent years for locally grown produce. ECGA’s Flavor of Sunshine campaign supports retailers in making the farm-fresh nature of Eastern Cantaloupes clear to consumers.
“Eastern Cantaloupes have the benefit of providing immediate satisfaction to retail customers,” said Matt Solana, VP of operations at Jackson Farming Company and ECGA treasurer. “They take home a melon with its even, straw color and sweet smell, and cut into it that same day to enjoy the delicious flavor that so clearly says, ‘Summer is here!’ For the American consumer, there’s a positive association between cantaloupes and summertime that runs deep.”
To learn more about the 2021 Flavor of Sunshine campaign, visit https://flavorofsunshine.com/. For more information on ECGA, including how to become a member and details on the organization’s highly regarded food safety program, visit https://ecga-usa.org/.
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The Eastern Cantaloupe Growers Association was founded in 2013 to foster programs that serve the needs of the Eastern Cantaloupe industry. Headquartered in LaGrange, GA, the organization is committed to strict adherence of the highest food safety standards and provides educational programs on the proper production, packing, handling, storing, processing and distribution of Eastern Cantaloupes and similar melons. It also conducts unannounced safety audits at member farms and packing facilities. In addition, ECGA members benefit from marketing initiatives that educate buyers, grocers and consumers about the benefits of Eastern Cantaloupes. Learn more at https://ecga-usa.org/.