Nutrition- Inspiring, educating and empowering consumers

Promoting fresh produce is a privilege. That our primary function is the marketing of products, the health promoting properties of which have been firmly and definitively established,  is something about which we in Dole are incredibly proud.  Few industries can contend with such certainty that their core business- in this instance driving fresh fruit and vegetable consumption, makes so positive a contribution to public diet and general well being. In Dole, our strategy in promoting fresh produce is predicated on affecting behavioural change by inspiring, educating and empowering consumers. Collaborating with our partners across the supply chain and with other interested Governmental and non-governmental third parties, we work to educate consumers concerning seasonality- when it’s best to eat which fruits or vegetables, preparation, the relative nutritional profiles of diverse fresh fruits & vegetables, uses, recipes and serving suggestions.  We do this through packaging, in-store promotions and utilising a wide variety of digital resources including social media and by supporting fresh produce promotional programmes.

Dole Crate fruit

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A Case In Point: Dole Consumer Compass

Dole’s Consumer pan-European research project began life as “Kostministeriet”, meaning “the Ministry of Food” commissioned by our Swedish business. Dedicated to providing deeper insights into what motivates and inhibits consumers from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, in 2022 its scope was broadened to cover 10 different European countries. Using a variety of complementary research methods Dole Consumer Compass, so named given its objective to “point us in the right direction”, seeks to deliver a deeper understanding of consumers than traditional research provides. It is used to support generic promotion of produce, for New Product Development and for category management with retail partners. 10,000 people were interviewed across 10 European countries; Austria, Germany, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and the Netherlands. By garnering a deeper understanding of consumer perceptions of fresh fruits and vegetables, our hope is to better meet the expectations of consumers across the continent, driving consumption and promoting better health and well-being. You can view our 2022 report here.

A Case in Point: The Eat Them to Defeat Them Campaign

In Dole, we're very proud to be a primary sponsor of the innovative, “Eat Them To Defeat Them” campaign in the United Kingdom. The campaign, with its extraordinary reach- some 36 million people in 2022, is dedicated to using best-in-class advertising and in-school programs to encourage children to eat more fresh produce, placing vegetables front and centre on primetime national television, engaging kids in a fun, irreverent way.

Broadcast during “Must See TV” programming on the ITV channel across May, June and July the £3.5m TV campaign was complemented by a £1m above the line and digital campaign. The school intervention programme that accompanied the campaign saw 1 million children across 3,845 primary schools take part with tasting events and reward charts.  The results were impressive with 57% of parents with children who took part in the school’s program finding that their children ate more vegetables and 74% of children agreeing it made eating vegetables more fun!

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Responsible Sourcing- Assuring Best Practices

In addition to fruit and vegetables from our own production, Dole sources a broad portfolio of produce from trusted third party growers around the world- many of whom we have worked hand in glove with for generations. We recognize our obligation to promote and assure best practices right across the supply chain on our farms- not just on our own farms but also on those of our partners. There are three components to this process: Grower profiling and selection, ongoing vigilance and enforcement. Sustainability certifications, third-party accreditation and audits, along with stringent Dole-implemented standards developed over many years offers assurance to our customers and other stakeholders that the fruit and vegetables that we sell have been produced in accordance with the highest environmental and labour standards. Protecting human rights is a clear priority. As a company that operates in many developing countries, Dole’s focuses on empowering its employees, enhancing communities, and protecting the surrounding environment. Dole has strict policies on human rights abuses such as human trafficking, child labour and slavery, and actively encourages the adoption of a similar approach in our supply chain. These policies are enforced by our Code of Conduct, disclosures from growers, and regular audits and inspections as required by business partners.

A Case in Point: Supplier Profiling- The Dole Insight App

The global fresh produce supply chain is complex, and sustainability is an involved, intricate, and flourishing sphere that encompasses many factors from climate change to human rights. These factors are vitally important to our customers, consumers, investors and within the communities in which we live and work. Developed in 2020, the Dole Insight App is a dynamic intelligence tool that empowers our buyers, procurement experts and managers with an immediate, effective, and powerful route to identify sustainability risks within the global fresh produce supply base. The Insight App is a quick, simple, and efficient interface that simplifies a comprehensive database using 20 publicly available data points to profile 51 countries on the basis of key sustainability related metrics. Areas are categorised under “Environmental Risk”, “Ethical Risks” and “Other Risks” (for example, political instability). Using the familiar and established traffic light system, Insight guides the user swiftly by country to essential and definitive information regarding a source’s potential sustainability risk, so informed and better decisions can be made for our customers and consumers.

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Promoting Local Growers and Produce

By virtue of our global reach and on-the-ground infrastructure in the markets in which we operate, Dole plc has succeeded in developing an unrivalled network of local growers- some of whom we have been working with for generations. Across each of our markets, we commit to putting “Local Produce First”; prioritising locally grown produce where it is available, commercially viable and environmentally responsible to do so. We undertake to provide, where possible and practical, agronomic assistance to help local growers achieve the quality standards and accreditations necessary in the modern marketplace, financial, logistical and operational support to ensure local produce reaches local consumers in pristine condition and the commercial, marketing and promotional expertise and resources necessary to place local produce at the heart of the portfolio of produce we present to customers across our international operations.

A Case in Point: The Grá brand in Ireland

In 2016, Dole launched a new local produce brand, “Grá” – the Irish word for “love” or “to have a longing for.” The Grá brand is being applied to produce sourced from some of the most accomplished local growers from across Ireland. A wide range of Irish fresh fruits, herbs, salads and vegetables have been specially developed and presented in Grá packaging with Dole Ireland exclusively marketing and distributing the produce via its Retail, Wholesale and Foodservice channels nationally. Across our Group, Dole is committed to working with independent growers to harmonise quality, efficiently distribute and creatively and effectively market home grown produce.

Watch here to see what the development of the Grá brand means to one Irish apple grower.

Stakeholder Engagement

In Dole, our understanding of the nature of our responsibilities to each of our stakeholders is unambiguous. In the first instance, as a customer orientated organisation, the delivery of premium quality, safe, traceable produce to the consumer and value to our partners in trade must always remain a priority for us. Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is what we do.

We recognise also, though the responsibilities inherent in the pursuit of this goal, most notably to the emerging and developing nations from which we source, and more specifically to our partners in production – the local and global growers who supply us. This responsibility extends beyond the growers and their people to the environment in which they operate.

Ultimately, we know, our commercial fortunes and our corporate responsibilities are inextricably interwoven and we recognise that integrating our sustainability strategy within our commercial planning and enshrining responsible principles and protocols into our everyday trading practices is essential to our future success. We recognise too, that many sustainability issues are global issues requiring a global response necessitating cooperation and collaboration across the supply chain. We are deeply committed to working constructively with our stakeholders from our partners in production to our marketplace customers to assure best sustainable practices right across the global fresh produce sector.

Cross Industry Collaboration in Europe

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Dole plc is proud to be working with Freshfel, the European fresh produce association and stakeholders from across the fresh produce sector, in embarking on an Environmental Footprint Initiative to develop a fresh fruit and vegetable environmental footprint methodology and digital tool. Our shared objective is to develop an objective, standardised environmental footprint methodology, database and digital tool for the fresh produce sector that is broadly accepted by the industry, stakeholders and consumers. It will align with the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology as recommended by the European Union and which is likely to be employed by the European Commission in upcoming legislation concerning the substantiation of green claims and the harmonisation of EU sustainability labelling framework.  Category rules specific to the fruit and vegetables sector will be developed ensuring comparable results of PEF-calculations.