Industry promoting strawberries via foodservice, media campaigns

01/08/2014 03:58:00 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

DOVER, Fla. — Trying to persuade U.S. consumers to purchase the state’s winter berries, the Florida Strawberry Growers Association is embarking on an aggressive consumer marketing campaign.

Florida Strawberry Growers AssociationDuring the winter, the association wants to educate Florida and East Coast consumers about the quality advantages of U.S.-grown strawberries.

The organization plans to spread its messages through billboards, television appearances, a media tour and a partnership with a regional restaurant chain.

Media campaigns

The association plans to promote its fruit through billboards in eight northeastern and southeastern cities, through media appearances and a dessert promotion with the Orlando-based Smokey Bones restaurant chain.

In Atlanta; Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Nashville; New York; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh, the association plans to tell consumers about the winter availability of Florida strawberries.

In the February campaign, the association is set to send television weather forecasters in those cities samples of Florida strawberries for on-air promotions. The outreach also involves on-air recipe demonstrations, said Sue Harrell, director of marketing.

The media tour is designed to remind consumers that strawberries are in season in the U.S. during the winter in another, sunnier region, Harrell said.

“We want them to know that we’re in season in their local markets,” she said. “If they see berries from another country, ask for Florida because we’re in season.”

Foodservice promotion

HarrellA promotion with the Smokey Bones restaurant chain includes a strawberries and cream cake dessert developed by Jason Gronlund, the casual dining restaurant’s vice president of culinary.

It also includes strawberry-flavored beverages.

Smokey Bones management also plans to try to motivate its staff to increase sales of the offerings through prizes, Harrell said.

A founding member of the association’s chef’s advisory board, Gronlund wanted to promote Florida strawberries and said he believed the promotion could help increase strawberries’ brand exposure, Harrell said.

Boosting social media, logos

In the overall campaign, the association expects to increase its social media presence to accompany the television campaign and media tour, billboards and restaurant promotion.

“We are trying to reach the consumers,” she said. “Because it’s snowing there, they think nothing is being grown in the U.S. Our major goal is to get them aware of Florida on the label regardless of the brand.


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