Southern Exposure garners largest crowd ever

03/07/2011 11:29:49 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

At the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Lake Alfred citrus research station, the visitors also heard how researchers are developing improved peach varieties to serve the state’s growing peach industry.

In March 5 sessions, industry leaders learned how to successfully introduce produce products with retailers and engage their target audience through social media.

Don Goodwin, owner and president of Golden Sun Marketing, Minnetrista, Minn., said staying in tune and designing promotions relevant to consumers remains key in the product introduction process.


Doug Ohlemeier

Rich Dachman (left), vice president of produce for Sysco Corp., Houston, talks with Frank Swanson, produce category manager for Rosemont, Ill. office of Columbia, Md.-based U.S. Foodservice's PYA/Monarch Foods, and Allan Sabatier, vice president of foodservice for Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., during March 4 reception at the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Exposure 2011.


“If we were to analyze why most new items fail, it’s because of execution at store level,” Goodwin said. “Introduction of successful items requires a very comprehensive strategy. You can’t do it by just handing a list of components to a retailer anymore. You have to find ways to engage a retailer more strongly and more professionally and have more of a plan in place.”

John Avola, social media strategist and co-owner of 90 Days to Marketing Success, said social media should remain part of a company’s marketing strategy.

“Some people are taking social media by storm, while others are trying to figure out what it is,” he said. “I’m not recommending you dump everything else and only focus on social media because it’s not going to work. You need to tie everything together from direct mail pieces to phone service calls, and integrate that into your social media strategy.”

The March 5 keynote luncheon speaker was Georgia commissioner of agriculture Gary Black.

“We in agriculture are in challenging times,” he said. “Some may say these are the most challenging times we have ever faced. That’s why all of us in agriculture must come together and plan for the future.”

The event also included a large trade show featuring 200 exhibits.


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