The Fresh From Florida brand marketing campaign once again has a full plate of promotions, incentives and support materials ready to tout the benefits of Florida-grown fruits and vegetables.
Created by the state legislature in 1990, the Florida Department of Agriculture campaign will spread the word about fresh Florida produce in the U.S. — primarily east of the Mississippi — Canada and beyond, said Mindy Lee, bureau chief of media, education and communication.
Fresh From Florida retail teams meet with produce buyers to encourage incentive programs, samplings, in-store advertising, circulars, special events and direct mail, Lee said.
Last year, retail partnerships resulted in the promotion of 43 commodities in 26 states with 84 retail partners — more than 11,000 stores — she said.
Supermarket partners include Ingles, Kroger, Lowes Foods, Publix, Winn Dixie, Aldi, Sobeys, Tops and Bi-Lo.
“Membership in the program allows industry members to come together under one umbrella to easily identify Florida grown and harvested products,” Lee said.
The campaign appears to be working.
When Fresh From Florida began featuring blueberries in Florida, the U.S., Canada, Singapore and Japan in 2003, sales were $18.2 million, she said.
Strong support continued for the next 15 years, and sales increased an average of 27% annually, reaching $82 million in 2015 — a 355% overall increase — she said.
It’s also had success at foodservice.
Fresh From Florida partnered with Subway restaurants in January to encourage consumption of local produce and to raise awareness of Fresh From Florida among consumers at the retail level, Lee said.
“The goal was to urge consumers to look for and choose Fresh From Florida when they shop for their families,” she said.
The partnership ran through May, and Subway sourced 74 million pounds of tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers for 1,490 locations in Florida and Alabama.
Florida-grown produce is marketed in a variety of ways, Lee said, including displays highlighting Fresh From Florida fruits and vegetables, sampling events, point-of-purchase signage, advertising circulars, social media, grocery cart signage, special events and direct mail.
There’s also a multi-media marketing campaign with digital advertising with an emphasis on display banners, social media, Hulu and influencers and bloggers, Lee said.
Ads will appear in grocery carts as well as Ibotta and Mobile Fuse.
Social media marketing includes rollouts of Fresh From Florida’s “Fresh!” recipe series featuring new recipes from culinary ambassador chef Justin Timineri.
“These recipe videos are released every two weeks and have garnered more than 5 million views on Facebook,” she said.
The program seems to have made significant headway in creating awareness of Florida produce.
Lee said that a 2017 survey of grocery shoppers indicated that:
- 75% were aware of the “Fresh From Florida” brand — an 85% increase since 2013;
- 86% of those surveyed said they are more likely to buy a product labeled “Fresh From Florida” than an identical product without a label; and
- Of that number, 77% say they are willing to pay more for it.
Florida ranks second in the U.S. for fresh vegetable and fruit production and is a primary supplier of fresh-grown vegetables and fruits during late fall through spring, she said.
The state’s top commodities are strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet corn, watermelons, cucumbers, snap beans, blueberries, potatoes and squash.