Fresh From Florida marketing initiatives expand
Florida’s fall and winter harvest season fills a gap in domestic production. Several of Florida’s commodities are the first domestic crops in season and offer a local, fresher alternative to imported crops that spend more time in shipping.
Therefore, Florida meets consumers’ demand for a diverse selection of fruit and vegetables year-round without compromising their desire to buy local.
Florida’s crop selection is very diverse with more than 300 different commodities. In the autumn months, Florida available crops include tomatoes, Bell peppers, green beans, squash, citrus and cucumbers.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ division of marketing and development will soon implement marketing initiatives that target consumers through digital and social media, online shopping platforms, partnerships with successful brands such as Florida’s top universities and Walt Disney Parks, and retail promotions with its 100-plus domestic and international retail partners.
“All Fresh From Florida promotions have ‘helping the grower’ as the No. 1 priority,” said Donna Watson, industry communications manager for the FDACS division of marketing and development. “Grower-led promotions are becoming more prevalent, and Fresh From Florida shows support by partnering with retailers to feature and highlight Florida grown products.”
Recent Fresh From Florida and industry partnerships include promotions of Florida romaine, green and red leaf lettuce, strawberries, sweet corn and peaches.
In the year ahead, Fresh From Florida retail initiatives will include weekly circulars, in-store produce displays, point of purchase materials, social media and influencer campaigns, consumer contests, recipe promotions and billboards.
“Product sampling will resume in available markets in addition to event sponsorships and trade show exhibits,” Watson said. “The first product sampling will feature Florida citrus. Florida sweet corn and Florida grapefruit retail promotions are planned in European markets with Florida strawberry promotions planned at Canadian retail partners.”
“Fresh From Florida” has also expanded into new international retail markets including Costa Rica, Panama, Scotland and Malaysia.
“Fresh From Florida media initiatives will include digital, social media, and radio ads, Hulu and OTT, and an online shopping campaign,” Watson said. “After a successful pilot last year, Instacart and Amazon Fresh landing pages will be enhanced and feature more Florida products.”
Fresh From Florida also ran a broadcast TV commercial, retargeting video, and Hulu ad with the message You Can Depend on Florida Farmers.
“The use of the farmer stories through commercials has had a positive impact on how consumers feel about farmers and their purchase intent when it comes to buying local produce,” Watson said.
Florida’s reputation for high-quality, fresh produce remains strong, especially among consumers. The percentage of consumers willing to pay more for products labeled Fresh From Florida increased to 83 percent up from 75 percent last year.
“Floridians also view their farmers very favorably as 85 percent of consumers have a positive perception of Florida farmers,” Watson said. “What’s more, 9 out of 10 consumers say they would be more likely to buy a product that was labeled Fresh From Florida.”
Demand for local produce continues to rise. The FDACS conducts surveys regularly to track consumer behavior. According to recent surveys, freshness, quality, and taste are consumers’ primary motivations for buying local produce.
“Over 90 percent of respondents also expressed an interest in supporting Florida’s farmers, keeping dollars in their local community, and reducing environmental impact,” Watson said. “These trends led to the addition of the Florida farmer-focused messaging in the Fresh From Florida marketing campaign.”
An example of the farmer focus initiative is the Florida Farmer social media campaign. Inspired by TikTok influencer videos, the campaign provided Fresh From Florida’s 400,000-plus social media followers a behind-the-scenes look at local Florida farms and highlighted in-season commodities.
Farmers filmed their own 30 second videos and Fresh From Florida promoted them on social media.
“Twenty-five farmers participated in the campaign and we expect more in 2022,” Watson said. “Featured commodities included strawberries, tomatoes, blueberries, peaches, sweet corn and watermelon. The campaign garnered more than 15.3 million impressions and 3.1 million video views.”