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Florida-Agriculture.com
Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 487-8000

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner

Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing

Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

2009-2010 Overview of Activities

The Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing provides marketing strategies for Florida’s seafood and aquaculture industry to facilitate buying, selling, and the promotion of Florida seafood and aquaculture products. The mission of the bureau is to market Florida products to consumers and help the seafood and aquaculture industry increase sales.

The bureau produces educational materials for consumers. It provides promotional materials, and training on handling and storage safety for retailers, foodservice professionals, wholesalers, and processors. The bureau provides educational and technical support and training for fishermen, aquaculturists, retailers, and foodservice professionals. It serves as a liaison for aquaculturists, commercial fishermen, government agencies, and the consuming public by utilizing the expertise of industry advisory councils. The bureau provides public relations to the media on behalf of the seafood, aquaculture, and marine life industries. It also provides marketing services, including electronic marketing programs identifying U.S. and international buying and selling operations. It assists and promotes Florida industry through the distribution of recipe brochures and educational materials to visitors at seafood festivals throughout the state and at industry trade events both at home and abroad.

The Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing strives to increase the industry’s sales and profits through global marketing and education. Bureau activities generated 818 million consumer impressions nationwide with a sales value of approximately $59.3 million. Chief among the audiences served are:

-- Consumers, who seek information about how to wisely purchase, prepare, serve, and store seafood and aquaculture products. Consumers are reached by means of printed materials, news releases, and public service announcements through television, radio, print media, and appearances at regional seafood festivals.

-- Producers (fishermen, processors, and aquaculturists), who turn to the Department for technical, educational, marketing, and promotional assistance, as well as safety, handling, and storage information. The Department’s marketing and promotional programs use the “Fresh from Florida” logo and are backed by a multilevel campaign creating consumer awareness and interest and fueling demand for Florida products.

TV Consumer Shows

On a regular basis during the year, staff prepared culinary segments featuring Florida seafood, fruits, vegetables, and other Florida products on the CBS television affiliate in Tallahassee. The recipes used in the segments demonstrate the ease of cooking fresh Florida seafood at home. During the culinary features, bureau staff pointed out the many health benefits of eating fresh seafood. Florida seafood highlighted in these segments included wild-caught shrimp, flounder, yellow fin tuna, spiny lobster, oysters, grouper, blue crab, red snapper, farm-raised clams, stone crab, mahi-mahi, and yellowtail snapper.

SUSTA Activities

The Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing continued its international marketing activities through its affiliation with the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA). SUSTA is a non-profit agricultural export trade development association comprised of the departments of agriculture of the 15 southern states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. SUSTA helps southern U.S. exporters promote high-value food and agricultural products throughout the world.

China: In the first year of China market development for alligator hides and skins, bureau staff and SUSTA member businesses comprised a delegation conducting market research in Shanghai, China, from August 30 to September 4, 2009. The delegation of U.S. alligator producers visited Shanghai to learn more about Chinese trade opportunities. Through discussions with the Agricultural Trade Office staff, meetings with Chinese companies who had interest in American alligator, visits to retail stores in upscale shopping areas, and attendance at the All China Leather Exhibition hosted by the China Leather Industries Association, the delegation developed a more complete picture of the market for alligator hides and skins in China. Two meetings were held with at the FAS Agricultural Trade office. During the first meeting, the group heard from Wayne Batwin and Alan Hallman, Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the Shanghai Agricultural Trade Office, and Wendy Zhou, the Agricultural Marketing Assistant. Wayne Batwin spoke of the Chinese market and explained some of the nuances involved in ultimately trading with the Chinese.

Busan International Seafood and Fisheries Expo: With SUSTA funding, Bureau staff and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Office in Seoul, South Korea, facilitated the United States Pavilion in November 2009 at the Busan International Seafood and Fisheries Expo in Busan, South Korea. The expo was a great opportunity for SUSTA companies to showcase their products for the over 13,000 buyers in attendance. Florida's Culinary Ambassador, Chef Justin Timineri, cooked and served Florida seafood products for interested buyers. This expo enhances Florida’s seafood and aquaculture presence and strengthens the state’s competitiveness in Asia and the Pacific Rim. The combined participating companies in the U.S. Pavilion reported at-show sales in excess of $1 million.

European Seafood Expo: On behalf of SUSTA, the bureau coordinated a Southern U.S. Seafood pavilion at the European Seafood Expo in Brussels, Belgium, in April 2010. As the largest seafood-only show in the world, this show attracted over 24,000 buyers and sellers from 140 countries. The four participating Florida companies reported $26.5 million in sales at the show.

Russia: In its second year of Russian market development, bureau staff and SUSTA member-state businesses participated in LeShow Moscow, a luxury fur and leather trade event, which was held May 18-20, 2010, at the Moscow Delovoy Expocentre. Finished hides and finished products were prominently displayed. A plasma screen monitor played a DVD with two features that had been subtitled in Russian: “American Alligator Leather” and “Alligator Designs.” Accompanying the DVDs was a brochure that had also been translated into Russian. Attendance at a luxury leather goods event of this size in Moscow ensured the participants met the proper trade representatives and prospective buyers to make sales of alligator hides and finished products. A total of $70,000 in sales was forecasted as a result of this event.

South Beach Wine and Food Festival

Bureau staff served Florida alligator to 15,000 attendees at the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Chefs from the Food Network and local restaurants participated. The booth was sponsored by the Florida Alligator Marketing and Education Advisory Committee (FAME).

Public Relations

The bureau’s public relations efforts for fiscal year 2009-2010 continued to increase media and consumer awareness about Florida seafood and aquaculture products. This year’s initiatives included commodity-specific and informational press releases, event participation, distribution of promotional materials, television cooking segments, and direct media contact. Over $164 million in ad value was obtained from earned media. This exposure was accomplished by utilizing a multimedia approach at minimal cost for documented articles or features published in print or online.

Fishery Trade Leads

Leads from companies seeking fishery products, obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service, the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service, and foreign and domestic companies, are compiled by the bureau and distributed to over 200 Florida seafood and aquaculture companies by e-mail and fax. Trade lead recipients reported sales totaling $2.5 million resulting from these leads.

International Boston Seafood Show

The bureau coordinated and hosted the Florida Pavilion at the International Boston Seafood Show in March 2010. Florida seafood and aquaculture companies were provided a high-profile opportunity to present and promote their products within the pavilion. Seven Florida companies and the Florida Alligator Marketing and Education Committee promoted Florida seafood and aquaculture products, made new contacts, and generated sales. Over 17,000 international seafood and aquaculture buyers attended the show. Those buyers visiting the Florida Pavilion contributed to an estimated $7 million in combined sales for companies exhibiting in the Florida pavilion.

“Sea Notes” Industry Newsletter

To help maintain communication with the Florida seafood and aquaculture industry, the bureau produces “Sea Notes,” an electronic newsletter distributed quarterly to seafood restaurants, retail markets, wholesalers, and other seafood allied industry members. The newsletter showcases the bureau’s promotional efforts and provides timely Florida seafood industry news. “Sea Notes” notifies recipients of opportunities for industry to be involved in marketing activities coordinated by the bureau.

Florida Seafood Seasons Advisory

The bureau publishes the Florida Seafood Season Advisory,an informational piece to inform Florida’s retail, wholesale, and restaurant seafood industry of upcoming seasons as well as other topical information such aschanges to quotas and bag limits. This e-mail advisory highlights openings and closures of commercially harvested Florida seafood. In addition to regular monthly distribution, special advisories are sent as warranted when new or updated information regarding a certain species, opening, or closure is received.

Promoting Seafood and Aquaculture on the World Wide Web

The bureau’s web site, www.FL-Seafood.com, provides consumers, Florida’s seafood and aquaculture industry, retailers, and the press with many downloadable seafood and aquaculture-related brochures, point-of-purchase materials, videos, audio files, photographs, and press releases. For consumers, the web sites features: Florida seafood recipes, nutritional information about seafood, information about popular Florida seafood products, oyster safety information, a calendar of Florida seafood festivals, a list of retailers and restaurants across the state that feature Florida seafood, a history of Florida’s coastal fishing communities, a list of suppliers of finished alligator leather products, and tips for handling, storing, and cooking seafood. For wholesalers and retailers the web site provides research and educational information on food safety and handling, trade leads, seafood advisories, the Sea Notes newsletter, and a convenient way for ordering promotional materials.

Industry Support During Gulf Oil Spill

On Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico near Louisiana. The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd., was under contract to BP. The State Emergency Operations Center activated on April 30 in response to this event. The Deepwater Horizon well was capped on July 15, 2010, thus stopping the discharge of oil into the Gulf.

The Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing provided informational support to consumers, industry, and government during the crisis. A seafood hotline was staffed with daily messaging on closures, available products for purchase, and other Gulf safety issues. Newspaper ads and web banner ads touting the hotline ran throughout the northeastern United States. A 60-second television public service message was aired throughout northwest Florida and more than 17 million consumer impressions were generated as a result of the effort. Point-of-sale materials that emphasized the safety of Florida seafood were developed for industry. A “Florida Gulf Safe” logo was created to drive this message.

Additionally, webcams showing Florida businesses actively engaged in selling and serving Florida seafood were set up along the Gulf Coast in the areas reportedly affected by the spill. Bureau staff participated in meetings and weekly informational conference calls to stay up to date on the Gulf oil spill as it occurred.

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