Florida blueberries ship to Japan. Florida-grown grapefruits infuse restaurant beverages in South Korea. Bell peppers, orange juice and more Fresh From Florida products cross the border into Canada, Florida’s largest export market.
For the 2014-15 season, Fresh From Florida fruits, vegetables and seafood products entered a record 12,357 stores that represent 64 retail partners in 26 countries. All signs point to a rise in retail exports for Florida.
“We continue to add grocers and retailers to our promotional programs and work with new people all the time,” says Tom Perny, supervisor in the Division of Marketing and Development at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “We definitely have not plateaued at all. There is plenty of room for growth.”
Since its establishment in 2005, the Fresh From Florida retail campaign has grown its grocery store reach by nearly 45 percent. The program strives to help the state’s more than 48,000 farms sell their products, and it proves successful. This department- driven effort generated $335 million in additional cash receipts in 2014-15 alone.
“Florida has dedicated farmers who produce over 300 quality Fresh From Florida commodities,” says Debra May, trade development administrator for the department. “Fresh From Florida retail campaigns in both domestic and international markets have evolved into a partnership between Florida producers, grocery retailers and consumers. Fresh From Florida’s global visibility continues to grow as retailers and consumers have Fresh From Florida products export to 26 countries – and counting increased ability to choose Florida fruits, vegetables and seafood products.”
Branded Florida Foods Broaden Reach
Florida’s agricultural exports increased to $4.2 billion in 2014 to support 109,000 jobs and generate an economic impact of $13 billion, according to the Fresh From Florida 2015 International Report.
Domestically, Florida products consistently serve the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest U.S. During the 2014-15 season, the Fresh From Florida retail campaign worked with 20 retail partners and their 6,105 domestic stores outside of the state. The initiative welcomed Kroger last year, when the nation’s largest retailer promoted Fresh From Florida sweet corn in some of its stores. Meanwhile, 11 Florida retail partners that represent 1,835 grocery locations in the state embrace Fresh From Florida products, as well as promotions and logos.
More than 35 percent of stores that carry Fresh From Florida items operate internationally, with a large portion of those in Canada. In fact, Canada imports more than four times the value in Florida agricultural products than the next leading trade partners. The nation’s agricultural purchases from Florida totaled $917.1 million in 2014, according to the report.
“There is an excitement,” Perny says. “We always keep our farmers, growers and ranchers in mind while we are meeting with retailers both here and abroad. It is very fulfilling when we see more Florida agricultural commodities shipped around the world. Our products are so fresh and have a great reputation in domestic and foreign markets, which plays well into our end game of getting grocers and buyers to purchase more Florida products.”