World first commercial release of Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes to aid breast cancer research

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 26th November 2008

Seminis, a prominent global fruit and vegetable seed organisation, has announced the Australian release of its unique Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes to directly benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF).Seminis Vegetable Seeds Western Australia manager, John McBride, said the world’s first commercial release of Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes presented a “good fit” for a corporate partnership with the Australian charity due to their name and colour.

“Globally Seminis is involved in many community based projects but this particular concept is a first. We had to meet key criteria throughout the process including traceability and charity legislation requirements,” Mr McBride said. “Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes meet all these objectives and we are confident they will both raise vital funds for breast cancer research and help Seminis achieve a significant share of the cherry tomato market. Seed companies like Seminis are always looking for an edge – produce that increases consumer uptake because of its great flavour, achieves good returns for the growers and lifts the status of fruit and vegetables in general.”

“The Pink Pearl cherry tomato was developed out of a joint effort between our Korean and Italian tomato breeders,” he added. “This sharing of material through traditional breeding systems has resulted in a product with the best of both programs. An attractive fruit with superb colour and flavour makes the Pink Pearl tomato unique.”

National sales and marketing manager, Richard Knowles, said, while screening and testing continued overseas, Australia had become the first country to commercialise the tomatoes following successful growing trials which began a year ago.

Grown in soil and under protective structures in Australia’s key cherry tomato growing regions of Virginia, South Australia and Carnarvon, Western Australia, Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes are also under trial in Tasmania, Victoria and Queensland to try and ensure year-round availability.

“The agreement with the NBCF ensures the Pink Pearl will always be sold in punnets displaying the Pink Ribbon, and assures selected growers they have the opportunity to grow an exceptional variety while supporting the NBCF,” Mr McBride said.

NBCF Head of Marketing and Corporate Partnerships, Leonie Walton, said Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes were among 50 products selected for a Pink Ribbon cause-related marketing campaign so far this financial year and the charity was particularly delighted to partner with a new-to-market fresh produce line.”The Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes will not only assist in the NBCF raising funds for our research programs but also bring greater awareness of our cause into regional areas where the tomatoes are grown. The more awareness raised, the better the outcomes for the early detection of breast cancer,” Ms Walton said. “Most Pink Ribbon products are on the shelves during October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) but Pink Pearl cherry tomatoes are among the few to display the Pink Ribbon all year. It is a lovely product which is being grown specifically to support the NBCF and all involved, from breeders to growers, are aware of its direct support of our cause.”

Ms Walton noted that brand recognition of the Pink Ribbon had grown strongly over the years with the assistance of a growing number of products in the marketplace. “Research indicates there is a 90 per cent brand cut-through for Pink Ribbon products in the marketplace – that is the number of consumers who equate the Pink Ribbon with the NBCF and breast cancer research,” she noted. “There is also evidence of an 83 per cent difference in consumer decision making in favour of products with brands supporting a charity over other products and we have certainly experienced great success with this.”

Ms Walton said cause-related marketing had experienced a slow birth in Australia since yellow ribbons were first used during the United States-Iran hostage crisis in 1979 but had gained momentum in the past three to five years.

“Corporate partnerships, such as this, have contributed $5 million alone in the past year which is about a third of our funds raised annually.”