A big part of the promotional push involves international retail promotions.
Canada has increased its purchases of Florida produce.
Florida is pushing toward $440 million in yearly exports to the region, up from $290 million just five to six years ago, Sleep said.
“This has been a tremendous increase in sales for us,” Sleep said. “We have seen a 50% growth in Florida exports there during the last five years.”
An important part of that increase involves Canadian trade teams the agency has brought to Florida’s production areas.
During the spring, a group of Ontario buyers including representatives from Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Sobeys Inc. and the Toronto Wholesale Terminal Market visited with Belle Glade, Fla., and Homestead, Fla., grower-shippers.
The buyers toured the state’s growing operations, packinghouses and farmers markets.
The visit resulted in the signing of additional sales contracts and some interest in new product entries in the Canadian marketplace, Sleep said.
Sleep said the visits were successful and that the agency plans to schedule more in the future.
The agency also has sent groups to promote Florida produce in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad.
Leading British chains such as Waitrose Ltd. and Wal-Mart-owned Asda also participate.
The effort has resulted in the chains running more store advertisements, Sleep said.
The overseas promotions often promote commodities such as blueberries, sweet corn and grapefruit.
The blueberry promotions usually begin in April while the corn and grapefruit promotions start during the winter months.
In total, Florida’ s promotional programs work with more than 40 U.S. chains in 40 states, the District of Columbia, five Canadian provinces and 13 Caribbean and Central American countries, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom.