Fresh from Florida program markets Sunshine State produce internationally - The Packer

Fresh from Florida program markets Sunshine State produce internationally

03/18/2011 04:47:03 PM
Doug Ohlemeier

In 2002, Sleep said Florida shipped $339 million in produce to Canada. By 2009, that number had increased to $505 million, he said.

Global reach
Fresh from Florida promotions also are experiencing strong growth in the Caribbean.

Price Smart, a chain of hypermarket stores, promotes Florida bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes and corn.

This season, the department is adding Colombia through a program with Carrefour-Colombia, a large French retailer. Though the program has the chain promoting Florida orange juice, Sleep said the operator also plans to promote fresh produce.

In the United Kingdom, the Waitrose supermarket chain plans to promote fresh grapefruit.

Sleep said the agency is expecting to see a spike in exports to the country as the Fresh from Florida program helped increase export sales from $2.19 million in 2005 to $5.7 million in 2006 when the program doubled its month-long campaign.

In Sweden, the Fresh from Florida program plans to conduct a pilot program in a handful of stores.

The marketing representatives plan to continue promotions in South Korea, where after a decade of inactivity, Florida marketing representatives helped the country experience some success in 2008.

Sleep said demonstrations and sampling lifted grapefruit sales by more than 900%. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, promotions conducted in 2010 helped increase sales by 80,000 cases, Sleep said.

As South Korea expresses increased interest in promotions, Sleep said the Fresh from Florida program plans to expand its campaigns in the region and consider working with other partners.

“We plan to be in there for a while and do some great things,” he said. “For what we spent, we had a 40-to-1 return.”

The agency is also considering conducting a small promotional program in Singapore promoting blueberries and oranges.

“We are actively probing around the world where we can compete,” Sleep said. “We are getting good at it.”

This season, promotions will be conducted in 18 countries.

Florida’s new commissioner of agriculture, former congressman Adam Putnam, remains highly supportive of programs promoting Florida agricultural products, Sleep said.

“Putnam is very interested in continuing the positive pieces of these programs and perhaps growing them more,” Sleep said.

The state usually invests $500,000 in promoting Florida produce, Sleep said.

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