For more information:

Dan Sleep
(850) 488-4366
Deb Cox
(850) 488-4366

Agriculture Press Release

October 13, 2000

Trade Leads: Florida’s agriculture’s global connection

TALLAHASSEE -- In the complex global economy, suppliers continually seek competitive advantages that can help them break into a market or increase their existing market share. The quest for market data that provides the "edge" over a competitor can mean the difference between a company’s success or failure.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) aggressively gathers market data through a global network of sources. This valuable information is then disseminated in the form of trade leads to the state’s agricultural producers as they promote their products around the world. Simply stated, trade leads help connect Florida producers and exporters to buyers in the global market.

Through its Division of Marketing and Development, FDACS pulls together trade leads from a variety of sources. FDACS marketing representatives continually collect trade leads by attending worldwide trade shows, conducting market research, and maintaining close contact with foreign buyers. A major source of information is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which generates trade leads through its Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

FAS maintains an Agriculture Section within each American Embassy around the world. This office focuses on the host country’s food and agricultural needs, current competition, and the potential market for American goods. Leads are obtained from trade shows, business research, associations, world trade centers, and individual contacts.

FAS representatives seek out potential trade contacts and serve as the liaison between the United States and foreign buyers. Offers to buy from American producers are provided daily to the USDA from embassies worldwide and are maintained in a database. The leads are then provided online to state departments of agriculture throughout the country, including Florida. FDACS reviews the USDA/FAS data, selects information that is applicable to Florida producers, and actively disseminates it to them in the form of a bi-weekly "Trade Leads" publication.

This information is especially important to smaller Florida growers who lack the resources to effectively research export markets for potential expansion. While there is an increasing international demand for U.S. products, most agricultural producers require assistance to market their products globally. In Florida, "Trade Leads" helps link the producer, exporter and foreign buyer.

FDACS follows up with Florida producers to monitor the effectiveness of "Trade Leads." During fiscal year 1999, trade lead information disseminated by FDACS helped generate $7.3 million in Florida agricultural exports. Exports, including agricultural products, are a major source of income for Florida, topping $50 billion last year. For every $1 billion in exports, approximately 25,000 American jobs are created.

Because of the substantial economic benefits to Florida generated by increased exports, FDACS is continually seeking to expand its trade lead database through agricultural marketing campaigns abroad. Marketing campaigns help introduce Florida products to new markets, thus generating interest and excitement among consumers. The campaigns can also lead to inquiries and sales offers from importers, distributors and retailers in the host countries.

FDACS targets the export of selected Florida commodities, as well as packaged, consumable agricultural products -- also referred to as value-added products -- to designated geographic areas around the world. Target markets for Florida agricultural products include Europe, Latin America, the Pacific Rim (Thailand, Phillippines, Vietnam), China and Japan. Factors considered in targeting commodities for export include: the comparative advantage of the commodity; competitive price; and a cost-effective transportation and distribution system.

Florida commodities currently targeted for export are:

  • Citrus, including oranges, grapefruit and tangelos.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Livestock, including purebred cattle, beef cattle, dairy cattle and genetics.
  • Purebred horses, including Arabian, Quarter and Thoroughbred.
  • Aquaculture products, including tropical fish, farm raised clams, tilapia, hybrid striped bass, aquatic plants, and alligator meat and hides.
  • Ornamental horticulture, including tropical foliage and woody ornamentals.
  • Honey.
  • Forestry products, including lumber, wood and paper products.
  • Seafood, including shrimp, fin fish, oysters and crab.

Florida products benefit from the state’s world-renown tourism industry. Florida has a widely recognized and appealing image linked to sun, beaches and food. FDACS helps Florida agricultural producers capitalize on this positive image through a consistent, unified marketing strategy known as the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign (FAPC).

The FAPC is a multi-tiered advertising campaign coordinated by FDACS. Campaign members are entitled to use the "Fresh from Florida" and "From Florida USA" logos on their packaging and advertising to help enhance product identification among consumers. FAPC members also benefit from domestic and foreign advertising campaigns that include television, billboard, radio, printed materials and special promotional items. The FAPC provides direct marketing assistance for Florida producers enabling them to gain a higher profile abroad and solidifying Florida’s presence as a world leader in the agricultural industry

FDACS helps individual Florida agricultural producers promote their products by coordinating "umbrella pavilions" at international trade shows and special events. The consolidation of funds and grouping together of Florida companies under a single marketing theme provides a greater level of exposure for Florida products in general by increasing product identification and recognition.

Effective promotion not only helps to educate consumers in foreign markets, but can create a demand for certain Florida products. This was the case in the United Kingdom when the FDACS joined forces with the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) to promote Supersweet® corn from the southern United States. The promotion was held three years in a row, with three of the top British food chains participating: Sainesbury, Waitrose and Tesco. A special red, white and blue logo featuring the British and American flag was created to identify the product. The introduction was timed to coincide with the British outdoor grilling season.

There is a vast difference in the taste of the corn grown in the U.K. and the Supersweet® variety from the southern U.S. In-store sampling of cooked U.S. corn proved enormously popular with consumers. Recipe brochures, magazine inserts, nutritional information, and point-of-purchase materials successfully promoted the product and created a market, leading to increased exports of U.S.-grown corn to the United Kingdom.

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FDACS works with Florida agribusinesses to encourage and expand export opportunities. In addition to the "Trade Leads" publication, FDACS provides foreign market research, shipping information, import regulations, and sources of financial assistance for export finance.

For information on joining the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign and receiving "Trade Leads" and other marketing information and exporting assistance, contact:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Marketing and Development
421 Mayo Building
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
Telephone: (850) 488-4366
Fax: (850) 488-7127


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