VIDEO: Kontos, Flavor Pic Are Part of Alabama Ag History


Recently we shared a marketing success story with you about Alabama’s Flavor Pic Tomato Co. and it’s slam-dunk hit Handy Candy product, super-sweet grape tomatoes in a portable and pourable four-ounce cup.

You heard all about the product and the thought and planning that went into marketing it — but we never got around to letting you peek behind the scenes and see where Handy Candy and the rest of the Alex Kontos Fruit Co. lineup comes from.

The short answer is Birmingham. The longer (and less smart-aleck) answer comes to us this week from SPW Video Guru Jenni Kight, who recently traveled back to her Sweet Home (do we have to add that it’s Alabama here?) to take a look at what’s happening in agriculture there.

For the month of August, the SPW focus will be on Alabama. We’ll take a look at everything from aquaculture to the Auburn Extension Service to the state Department of Agriculture’s office in Montgomery.

But first, this behind the scenes look at Kontos and the Handy Candy secrets.

A few years ago, Mike Prather and his colleagues at Flavor Pic realized they had a great product and a great marketing idea with the on-the-go container.

Handy Candy — marketing magic

They knew the product and an on-the-go-container were hits – early sampling had shown them that.

What they didn’t have was an idea that would get that product noticed by retail produce buyers.

“The original concept was to put a snacking grape tomato that would fit in a cupholder in a car, you’re driving from point A to point B and you want something healthy to eat that’s not a candy bar and not a chip and fits in a modern environment — every vehicle today has a cupholder. That was the whole point. That was the original concept,” Prather says.

The first version of what’s now known as Handy Candy came in an 8-ounce container and sold for about $2. Associated Grocers Baton Rouge was the first client.  But the product didn’t move. Prather and company knew that in order to make the Handy Candy popular as a snack, price had to come down while convenience went up.

They did and the rest is history as Handy Candy is now rolling out coast-to-coast.

Now for a look at what else goes on behind the scenes in Birmingham…

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