As part of its retail promotions, the exchange plans retail sales and display contests. While the exchange has funded such efforts in the past, Stemm said the industry is looking into tying such promotions into other larger promotions conducted by chains throughout their retail stores.
Category management research the exchange funded a couple of years ago provided some good tips and best practices advice to retailers and helped prompt them to start thinking about featuring corn in events and other holidays such as Easter, Cinco de Mayo, when consumers think about buying food.
“We are trying to give consumers some other ways to be thinking about preparing and enjoying corn outside of their traditional summer thoughts,” Stemm said. “That’s why education is a key component and challenge. We are trying to get retailers to market and display corn outside of summer months not as a loss-leader but something that can help bring consumers to the stores and help them make more profits.”
Using funds from a $100,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture farm bill specialty crop grant, the exchange in 2009 photographed growers for advertisements and for visuals to be used in retail point-of-sale material designed to increase awareness of Florida corn availability.
Growers John Scott Hundley of Loxahatchee, Fla.-based Hundley Farms Inc. and Tommy Holt, a co-owner of S. M. Jones & Co. Inc., Belle Glade, Fla., along with their wives and children were filmed in corn fields. The growers were used to help show consumers how Florida corn is brought to them by real growers.
The exchange this season plans to use remaining funds from the grant for a series of radio advertisements scheduled to run on stations in Florida and in select northeastern U.S. markets, such as New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston as well as Chicago.
The growers’ photos will be used in a series of retail promotional materials such as price cards that fit into produce display wire racks, recipe and information leaflets and three- by five-inch tear pads that focus on different ways consumers can prepare corn.
The material shows how consumers can roast corn. Stemm said roasting is important because many consumers early in the season may think it’s too cold to begin grilling. Other information shows how consumers can grill and microwave ears of corn.