Florida Department of Citrus

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During the 2009-2010 citrus season, economic recovery proved to be slower than anticipated. The FDOC tried to mitigate downward sales trends and a drop in brand advertising through fully integrated marketing programs that communicated the health and nutrition benefits of Florida citrus products. Marketing programs continued to be grounded in consumer and scientific research, utilized the recommended optimized marketing mix to maximize the Florida grower investment, and increased activities among the top 75 supermarket retailers that represent 83% of U.S. orange juice volume.

Marketing Mindset

The Florida Citrus Commission conducted a comprehensive agency review and named BBDO, Atlanta, as the advertising agency of record for FDOC domestic marketing. BBDO began consumer research and creative development for a new advertising campaign to be implemented in January 2011.
 
International marketing programs drove increased sales of grapefruit in Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium, and Sweden. In Canada, FDOC also promoted Florida orange juice to positively impact consumption.
Korea has been identified as a new market with growth potential for Florida grapefruit. FDOC will execute international marketing programs to reach consumers through retail, advertising, and public relations efforts.
 
Detailed marketing plans for this year, as well as the FDOC 2009-2010 Annual Report, are posted at www.fdocgrower.com.

Working Together

A two-year partnership between the FDOC, the Florida Citrus Commission, and the National Academies of Science (NAS) culminated in the release of the “Strategic Planning for the Florida Citrus Industry: Addressing Citrus Greening Disease” report. The report provided strategic recommendations to combat citrus greening.
 
Disease research projects were transitioned from FDOC to the newly formed Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). The CRDF assumed the leadership role in the battle against citrus disease by managing research projects and coordinating the industry implementation of the NAS recommendations.
 
The FDOC, in conjunction with the University of Florida, sponsored a workshop for citrus economists from the U.S. and Brazil to evaluate the sustainability of the world orange juice industry. Recommendations were presented to citrus industry stakeholders and posted online.

Moving Ahead

The FDOC applied to EPA for an experimental use permit of the agent CMNP in mechanical harvesting. EPA is expected to grant permission to test CMNP in commercial settings beginning in 2011. The FDOC will submit an application for CMNP full registration this summer.
Several FDOC-sponsored health and wellness research studies under way are expected to yield new insight about orange juice and heart health, cognition, and metabolic syndrome. The effect of grapefruit juice on heart and bone health also is being explored.
 
This fiscal year, which began in July, FDOC has taken the previous health and wellness position to the next level by helping people think about orange juice in a new way. Through extensive research, we identified a new consumer target, “It’s Just Juice + Families,” which makes up 45% of the population and offers the greatest potential for orange juice growth. New advertising creative will debut in January 2011 supported by a media plan that balances television with online media. Strategic placements on lifestyle, entertainment, family, news and sports programming will target the “It’s Just Juice + Families” consumers and also continue to reach our core customers, adults 35+. We will launch the same advertising creative in Canada targeting women 25 to 54 in Toronto and Ottawa from January to mid-April. A French version will air in Montreal.
 
The FDOC remains committed to our mission to grow the market for the Florida citrus industry. We will diligently optimize limited resources and balance integrated marketing programs while providing support to critical disease research. All FDOC activities will continue to strive to help ensure future sustainability of the best citrus in the world — Florida citrus.

Ken Keck is the immediate past acting director of the Florida Department of Citrus.

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