LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Citrus is refocusing its retailer marketing promotion, the Florida Citrus Section, for the program's sophomore season.
The program, which groups together all sizes and varieties of Florida citrus fruit in a separate section in the produce department, proved very successful when it debuted last season, according to officials of the department.
The 4,000 supermarkets that participated saw their yearly citrus sales increase an average of 20%, department officials said. Those stores represented more than half of the country's 40 largest supermarket operators.
For 1995-96, the FDOC intends to expand the program with a new promotional emphasis and a larger number of participants, according to Valerie Barnett, director of the department's fresh fruit division.
The new promotion, tagged "Get a Taste For Life," will target Baby Boomers by focusing on the variety, convenience and health aspects of Florida citrus.
Barnett said that this season she hopes to get the citrus section into 6,000 units, representing 70% of the top-40 supermarkets.
The department provides the signs and point-of-purchase materials, and its own representatives set up the section within supermarket produce depart-
The FDOC has also planned several different promotional programs to kick in throughout the citrus season, which runs from approximately October through May.
The first program will focus on the major year-end holidays, and includes a colorful brochure that offers shoppers decorating tips and recipes.
A Florida grapefruit weight loss program is scheduled for January. In March, a promotion geared toward children and their Baby Boomer parents will hit the stores.
Officials from several operators that participated in the citrus activities last season said they were pleased with the program and plan to pick it up again this season.
"We did very well with it," said Art Kinsey, produce merchandising manager for wholesaler Fleming Cos.' Milwaukee division. "Overall, it was very successful." Kinsey said the program increased sales of citrus throughout his division.
The department sent representatives into the wholesaler's customer stores. They helped set up the section and provided the promotional materials, he said.
"It had a very nice look," he said. "The materials really added to it."
Ron Brown, produce merchandiser for the Charlotte, N.C., division of Winn-Dixie, said he was also pleased with the signs and point-of-purchase materials.
"We were well satisfied with the program," he said. "They had nice sign material that dressed up the department."
The Florida citrus section was born after a consumer survey found most shoppers preferred citrus from Florida, Barnett said.