The Making of a New Product: Dole Pineapple Dippers

January 12, 2016

Dole Pineapple Dippers was chosen as Pick of the Week for Phil's Food Reviews. We caught up with Vanessa Beltran, Senior Business Manager at Dole Packaged Foods, to find out more about how this great new product was developed.

What inspired you to create your new product? Is there a particular niche or segment of the market you were focusing on? 

The inspiration for Dole Pineapple Dippers came from the success of our Banana Dippers and Strawberry Dippers. When we first launched Banana Dippers, the goal was to generate excitement within the frozen fruit category with a new product offering that combined a frozen fruit base with dark chocolate. When consumers responded well to Dole Banana Dippers and Strawberry Dippers, we wanted to give them a new option to try. Pineapple was the number one fruit that our Dippers fans were requesting. It also allowed us to tap into Dole's long standing equity with pineapple, which is known around the world.

What makes your product different and able to stand out against similar ones? How important has differentiation been in developing this product?

We knew from the success of Banana and Strawberry Dippers that consumers loved the concept of chocolate covered frozen fruit. In fact, our Dippers franchise is Dole’s most praised franchise both via social media and within our own consumer service center. When we were thinking of ways to expand the franchise, we discovered that Dole’s beloved and tasty pineapple went extremely well with dark chocolate. The combination of the flavors blew us away, and we knew we had a winner on our hands. Not only was the combination unique and delicious, it was also only 80 calories per serving. We’re excited for consumers to experience this product for themselves!

What was the process like of designing your package, and how do you feel the final result has impacted perceptions of your product?

One thing we’ve heard from consumers is that they love our single-serve packs because not only do they help with portion control, but they also help with calorie count. Keeping this in mind, we designed our Pineapple Dippers to be packaged in single-serve pouches. Each box contains six single serve pouches making it easy for consumers to get just the right amount of dark chocolate pineapple tidbits to satisfy their cravings without any of the guilt. Plus the single-serve packs make it easy to enjoy your treat anytime, anywhere.

What sustainability efforts have you made with your product/packaging?

At Dole Packaged Foods, we are committed to sustainability, especially when it comes to packaging. For this franchise, we did a lot of testing to make sure that we reduced packaging to minimal levels while still protecting the integrity of the product.

Through creating a new product, what would you say were the most difficult parts of the process and what came the easiest?

As Pineapple Dippers is a line extension, a lot of the fundamentals of launching this new product were already in place. We worked hard to perfect Banana Dippers, Strawberry Dippers and Banana Dippers with Almonds and applied those learnings to creating Pineapple Dippers. However, because Pineapple is a different fruit and the cut size is much smaller than what we had previously been working with, manufacturing changes were required to properly cover the product in dark chocolate.

Anything you would change if you were starting from scratch again?

Time in market with any new product reveals many key learnings. We recently did research with consumers who love the Dippers franchise, which revealed that what they loved about the product was the chocolate. This was surprising to us since we had always strived to give the fruit just as much attention as the chocolate. New insights like this enable us to better communicate with consumers and to play up the indulgence element of this product in all our future marketing materials.

Besides your product, what's one out on the market that you admire?

There really isn’t just one product out there – there are many! I really admire all those smaller players who are coming into dormant categories and reenergizing them with unique products, simple ingredients, and packaging that does a great job of using beautiful imagery to highlight the simplicity of the ingredients found inside.”