We all know what swag is – those products you hand out to customers to increase brand awareness and loyalty, hoping they’ll remember to visit your website. Sometimes it’s pens. Or it might be coffee mugs or tote bags. Regardless, the traditional swag industry of cheap, disposable items is a $24 billion dollar industry with negative environmental and economic impacts.
Because of growing concern about waste and pollution, a few of the big wigs are choosing something a little different: branded fruit. The branded fruit craze (which is exactly what it sounds like: putting your logo on a piece of fruit) all started with Lyft. At a recent event, Lyft decided to treat attendees to a different kind of swag, one that’s tastier and environmentally friendly. They left mounds of green avocados with the Lyft logo printed on them in a large bowl for guests to enjoy. It was an instant hit. Attendees were more than happy to take one home and post pictures across Instagram of the unusual offering. After that, more large companies decided to give branded fruit a try. AT&T gave out branded pineapples. Twitter passed out peaches with little Twitter birds. And Soundcloud slapped their logo on some radishes for a party. WordPress is also a fan. These large companies are starting a trend that’s sure to increase in popularity within the next year.
Branded Fruit: A One-woman Company
Danielle Baskin, a visual artist based in San Francisco, is the woman behind the fruit. She actually started her company, Branded Fruit, as more of a joke. In 2015, she attended a party for her friend’s company, Scroll Kit, that had just been acquired by WordPress. The host asked her to bring some avocados, and Baskin got the idea to put the Scroll Kit logo on the fruit to make others laugh. Baskin already had the equipment needed, thanks to the work she does for one of her other companies, so it didn’t take her long to figure out how to print a vinyl logo on the fruit.
Everyone at the party loved her branded avocados and word started to spread, thanks to her connections in the tech community. In 2017, Branded Fruit was launched. For now, Baskin only prints on fruit with outside skins that are removed, but the possibilities to print on other fruits are available. Another company, Logo Fruit, which is only in Belgium, is able to use edible paste to put logos on apples, giving consumers something they can bite into.
Swag for the Environmentally Conscious
So why opt for branded fruit? Consumer focus has been shifting for quite some time toward companies that show concern about their global impact. With news reports of climate change and a population of Millennials and Gen Zers growing up, everyone is getting a little tired of the same old plastic items that most people pick up and then quickly throw away.
Branded fruit is fresh, good for the environment, and something people can actually benefit from. Though the costs for Baskin to print on fruit are a little high right now, about $5 per piece, her long-term vision offers a lot of promise. Besides using fruit as a new type of swag, she envisions companies partnering with produce suppliers to put logos on fruit bought at grocery stores. If marketing spend shifts from traditional advertising to advertising on fruit, farms could receive more revenue and food prices could decrease. Plus, people would be getting something the really wanted: fresh, sustainable produce. It’s a win-win for companies and for consumers.
Definitely keep an eye out on this trend. The next time you need swag for an event, give branded fruit a try. You’ll be guaranteed to stand out from the crowd and gain top-of-mind awareness as customers remember the business that gave them something fun they could take home and enjoy.