Citrus growers are traditionally disloyal. They’ll think nothing of not honouring a supply agreement if a better offer comes along. After all, they get one shot at maximising their income each year.
In a first for the industry, Gisborne-based First Fresh, New Zealand’s largest citrus supplier to the domestic market, launched its Loyalty Recognition Agreement (LRA) in 2015. Positioned as giving Gisborne citrus growers ‘the real rewards they deserve’, it invited them to commit to an Elite, Gold or Silver long-term supply agreement (up to three years or more) in return for a package of rebates and business benefits that would make a positive difference to their profitability.
The campaign objectives were:
- sign up 80-90% of 100% loyal suppliers to the Elite LRA (three years)
- convert 33% of semi-loyal suppliers into 100% loyal suppliers and sign them up to the LRA (any level)
- convert 10% of non-suppliers to First Fresh suppliers by creating ‘grower envy’
- have 200 growers RSVP to attend the LRA launch event.
For First Fresh and their growers, this was a stunningly successful campaign. They had previously had no grower supply contracts in place and growers had never been given a strong enough reason to commit to just one company. First Fresh shifted a mind-set of mistrust across the sector to real grower commitment.