(April 6) The push is on to sell more sweet corn from Florida over the next two months.

The Fresh Supersweet Corn Council, the promotional arm of the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange, has orchestrated a marketing campaign this year aimed primarily at consumers in the Northeast and Florida.

“We’re in the second year for a three-year state grant to promote Florida sweet corn,” said Jason Stemm, a spokesman for the council, “and we’re targeting the Northeast.”

Because of poor weather conditions a year ago, sales of Florida sweet corn fell off dramatically in the Northeast — a trend the Council wants to reverse this spring.

Florida is also a target state this year but not for the same reason.

“We’ve done a lot of talking with produce officials, and they all wanted more promotion in Florida,” Stemm said. “They all indicated a need for more materials in both English and Spanish.”

A tool kit for retailers includes various point-of-sale materials and a corn handling poster in both English and Spanish.

The POS materials include recipe leaflets, tear-off pads with recipes, posters and balloons, as well as training material for retail employees.

A 4-page brochure entitled “10 Easy Steps To Turning Corn Into A Year-Round Profit Maker” suggests the following:

  • Give customers a choice of yellow, white and bicolor corn.

  • Offer a choice of bulk and pre-packaged.

  • Price corn low enough to appeal to customers but high enough to be profitable.

  • Keep corn chilled at 33 to 36 degrees to maintain freshness.

  • Increase sales with promotions.

  • Do more in-store merchandising.

  • Create more displays using fresh, unhusked corn.

  • Cater to convenience-minded consumers with pre-packaged corn.

  • Take race and ethnicity into account when planning a product mix.

  • Make the most of seasonal merchandising opportunities.

The Council also plans more in-store taste tests, especially in Florida, and a display contest for retailers during Florida’s peak production period, April 12 through May 21. Cash prizes up to $1,000 each will be awarded to the top four entries in each region of the country.