TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s sales and marketing arm is looking at adding new retailers to its Fresh from Florida programs to increase sales of Sunshine State produce.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ division of marketing, based in Tallahassee, promotes the state’s fruits and vegetables through retail-based campaigns.
The agency provides retail incentives to run advertisements featuring the Fresh from Florida logo. The agency this year expects a minimum of 10,000 individual stores to display the logo and promote Florida produce in their weekly store ads.
That number could increase to 15,000 stores, said Dan Sleep, senior marketing analyst.
Programs help grow sales
The Winter Circle program promotes Florida-grown produce in the region while the Global Grid campaign works with retailers throughout North and South America, Europe and Southeast Asia.
For the Winter Circle program, the agency plans to add some small chains to the lineup of participating chains that includes Publix Super Markets Inc., Lakeland; Sweetbay Supermarkets, Tampa; Harvey Co. Inc., Nashville, Ga.; and Whole Foods Market Inc., Austin, Texas.
Internationally, the agency plans to add 10 retailers in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, South Korea, Singapore, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and a number of Caribbean countries.
The program focuses on grapefruit in the United Kingdom and Southeast Asia and is testing sweet corn sales in Scandinavia.
In South Korea, the agency is working with 450 stores, up from the handful that participated in 2007 when the stores imported 60,000 cartons of grapefruit. Currently, those retailers run promotions for 235,000 cartons, Sleep said.
In Singapore, supermarkets bought 2,400 cases of valencia oranges in 2010. In 2011, they increased their purchases to 6,200 cases.
The success of grapefruit and orange sales prompted the department to try to introduce other items to South Korea and Singapore, Sleep said.
For European corn exports, the agency helped Florida shippers send two containers of 3,000 crates to a major United Kingdom chain.
The following year, exports to the U.K. increased to 400 containers, expanding sales from $1 million to $5.4 million, Sleep said.
“There’s decent potential to see that repeated elsewhere,” he said. “It’s a vibrant program we’re watching.”
About 3,200 overseas stores participate, Sleep said.
Increase in promotions
In the U.S., Publix took the initiative and, at its own expense, displays Fresh from Florida point-of-sale material in front of Florida produce, Sleep said.
Overall, the agency expects 50 retailers throughout the world to promote Florida produce through 412,000 individual store advertisements, higher than the 400,000 ads that ran last year, Sleep said. Typically, the program sees a minimum of 325,000 individual store advertisements, he said.
Participating chains run an average of 35 Fresh from Florida ads promoting 19 commodities.
The state this year is investing $500,000 in its retail promotions, similar to previous years, Sleep said.
“Consumers know that the Fresh from Florida brand represents quality and affordability,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said.
“For generations, Florida’s farmers have taken pride in providing fresh fruits, vegetables and citrus to consumers across the nation and in more than 100 other countries.”