Agriculture Press Release

February 3, 2004

Florida Spring Produce Marketing Promotion Expands Across North America.
Additional grocery stores in U.S. and Canada to feature “Fresh from Florida” message

TALLAHASSEE -- Building on the success of two annual marketing promotions that dramatically increased sales of Florida-grown produce to U.S. and Canadian consumers, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced this year’s expanded promotion will include additional states, provinces and retail grocery stores.

“Our ‘Northern Exposure’ marketing promotions of the past two years increased sales of Florida-grown produce by $60 million in 2002 and $145 million in 2003,” Bronson said. “This year, we’re expanding the promotion to include additional retail grocery stores in the United States and Canada, and are looking forward to even greater increases in sales of fresh Florida fruits and vegetables.”

This year’s marketing promotion, renamed “PowerGrid 2004” because of its size and breadth, will stretch from the east coast to the west coast of North America, encompassing 24 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and six Canadian provinces. PowerGrid 2004 will involve 35 retail grocery chains with more than 7,700 stores -- an increase of 45 percent over last year’s participation level of 5,286 stores.

The promotion, which runs from February through May, is timed to coincide with Florida’s important winter-spring harvest, which supplies the United States with most of its domestic-grown produce.

The PowerGrid 2004 marketing promotion will include grocery chains in California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan are also included.

“We’re expanding into new markets with the addition of the U.S. states of California, Washington and West Virginia, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan,” Bronson said. “The ‘Fresh from Florida’ message will resonate coast to coast across the North American continent this spring.”

The retail grocery chains participating in this year’s promotion are: ACME, A&P, AWI Shurfine, Bi-Lo, C&S, Dominick’s, Farm Fresh, Farmer Jack, Food Basics, Fortinos, Genuardis, Giant Foods, Harris-Teeter, Jewel-Osco, Loblaws, Lowe’s Foods, Market Basket, Metro, Meijer, Nash Finch, National Grocers, No Frills, Pathmark, Penn Traffic, Price Chopper, Provigo, Roundy’s, Safeway California, Safeway Canada, Safeway East, Safeway Washington, Shaw’s, Shop Rite, Sobeys, Spartan, SuperValu (Fleming), The Kitchen Table, Tops, Ukrop’s, Vons, and Zehrs.

Florida-grown produce included in this year’s promotion includes avocados, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, grapefruit, green peppers, melons, oranges, potatoes, radishes, snap beans, squash, strawberries, sweet corn, tangerines, tomatoes, and variety lettuces.

PowerGrid 2004 is part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ ongoing “Fresh from Florida” campaign, an identification and promotional program designed to boost the image of Florida agriculture and increase sales by helping consumers to easily identify Florida-grown agricultural products at retail stores. The “Fresh from Florida” program also helps increase public awareness of the importance of Florida’s agriculture industry, which generates $7 billion in farm receipts yearly and has an annual overall economic impact estimated at $62 billion. The Department has earmarked $241,000 to fund the PowerGrid 2004 marketing promotion.

Grocery chains participating in PowerGrid 2004 increase their purchases of Florida products, use the “Fresh from Florida” logo in their newspaper ads and inserts, and include “Fresh from Florida” point-of-sale materials in their stores. Retailers increase the size of their displays to accommodate more products, adding waterfall displays, dump bins and mobile displays, for example.

The result is a successful three-way “linkage” involving Florida producers, grocery retailers and the consuming public, in which:

-- Florida producers plant, harvest and ship additional products to meet the anticipated increased demand.

-- Retail grocery corporate buyers increase their purchases of Florida products, and “front load” the shipments to handle the increase in sales.

-- Customers are targeted with “Fresh from Florida” promotional themes through media advertising and recall those promotional themes when shopping, thus increasing their purchases.

As a result of the increased demand for Florida produce generated by the state’s marketing campaigns, Florida farmers are harvesting more spring produce acreage, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA statistics indicate that, for the second straight year, Florida growers are capitalizing on these marketing opportunities by increasing their acreage, while two of the Sunshine State’s main domestic competitors are losing market share and reducing their acreage. According to the USDA Economic Research Service Spring Report, from 2002 to 2003 Florida spring produce acreage is up 4 percent, while Texas is down 16 percent and California is down 2 percent.

For example, to meet the higher demand, Florida growers have increased their harvested spring tomato acres in recent years:

-- 12,200 acres in 2000
-- 16,500 acres in 2001
-- 17,000 acres in 2002
-- 18,000 acres in 2003.

“Florida is increasing its acreage,” Bronson said. “These highly successful marketing promotions are clearly benefiting our state’s growers, and that’s good for Florida’s economy.”

NOTE TO EDITORS: High-resolution images to accompany this story can be downloaded from florida-agriculture.com/photos. The file names are 02-03-04a and 02-03-04b.

For more information:
Nelson Mongiovi
(850) 488-4031


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