Agriculture Press Release

February 10, 2003

Florida produce marketing campaign in Northeast and Canada expands in second year

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today announced that a marketing campaign that boosted retail sales of Florida-grown produce last spring has nearly doubled the number of participating grocery stores this year.

The campaign, called “Northern Exposure,” runs from February through May and is timed to coincide with Florida’s important winter-spring harvest which supplies the United States with most of its domestically grown produce.

More than 5,000 retail stores located in 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, will participate in the Northern Exposure campaign, up from the approximately 2,600 retail outlets that participated last year.

“Every grocery chain that participated in the first year chose to be included in the promotion again this year,” Bronson said. “This is a great testimony to the success of last year’s promotion, where participating chains reported 8-12 percent increases in sales of Florida produce over the previous year’s averages.”

The 2,671 retail stores that participated in last year’s Northern Exposure promotion realized nearly $60 million in additional sales of Florida produce.

“At the close of last year’s promotion, many grocery chains were already eager to sign up again for the following year,” Bronson said. “The grocery chains found that the promotion was simple for them to utilize and yielded big results. This year, we’ve made the promotion even easier to customize to a chain’s specific needs.”

The Northern Exposure promotion features a variety of Florida-grown produce, and targets large retail markets in the northeastern United States and Canada. Grocery shoppers there can register to win free vacations to the Sunshine State, including air fare, rental car and resort accommodations provided by VISIT FLORIDA, the official marketing agency of Florida tourism, which is a partner in the promotion.

“The Northern Exposure promotion benefits not only Florida’s agricultural producers, but our state’s tourism industry as well,” Bronson said. “A free trip to warm, sunny Florida is very attractive to northern residents -- especially at this time of year.”

Grocery chains participating in the Northern Exposure promotion include: Provigo, Fleming, Safeway, Kroger, Spartan, Nash Finch, Food Lion, Bi-Lo, Sobeys, Loblaws companies, Farmer Jack’s, Shop-Rite, Tops, Jewel-Osco, Roundys, Shaws and Acme.

Participating grocery chains agree to increase their purchases of Florida products, include the Florida marketing promotion theme in their newspaper ads and inserts, and use the “Fresh from Florida” logo on advertising and point-of-sale materials. Retailers increase the size of their displays to accommodate more products, adding waterfall displays, dump bins and mobile displays, for example.

“Increased retail sales translate into substantial gains for Florida’s growers,” Bronson said. “In fact, we’re seen Florida growers increase their spring acreage as a result of these aggressive marketing efforts on their behalf.”

Additional partners who are sharing in the costs of the promotion include the Florida Tomato Committee, the Florida Strawberry Association, SealdSweet and Noble Tangerines. The promotion is conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which is statutorily mandated to provide professional marketing services to Florida’s agricultural community through its Division of Marketing and Development.

Bronson attributes the success of the promotion to personal visits and follow-ups by the Department’s marketing staff with corporate buyers and store personnel, the innovative Florida promotional themes and giveaways, and the high quality of the merchandising and advertising materials.

The Northern Exposure marketing promotion is part of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ ongoing Florida Agricultural Promotional 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 multimedia campaign also helps increase public awareness of the importance of Florida’s agriculture industry, which has an estimated overall economic impact of more than $50 billion annually.



For more information:
Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022


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