Make Your Product Stand Out To Consumers: 2012 Florida Ag Expo Extended Coverage

2012 Florida Ag Expo: Anthony Barbieri


There’s more to successful farming than growing a good crop. You have to sell it, too. Smart marketing was the main focus of the educational agenda during the 7th annual Florida Ag Expo held at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm. The entire morning session was dedicated to discussing various aspects of the topic. The track featured two marketing-related panel discussions. The first was about focusing on developing new market potentials.

One of the panelists, Anthony Barbieri, VP of business development for the Produce Marketing Association, carries an extensive background in the grocery store business. His presentation centered on retail trends and how to make your product stand out to buyers. During his talk, he offered some poignant advice/words of encouragement tailored specifically for the growers in the room:

  • “I know you’ve had some tough years, but don’t give up on strawberries. The front side of the deal is so profitable. With R&D, you still have one hell of an advantage.”
  • “You can’t grow enough blueberries. Full-steam ahead with the berry category.”
  • “For peaches, you have a big marketing opportunity in this [size, flavor, and varieties].”
  • Pomegranates are taking off. I compliment you on thinking outside of the box.”
  • Citrus seedless varieties are where it’s at [see California Cuties]. Go for it.”
  • And finally, in reference to all the work being done to bring new ideas to the table: “The Tasti-Lee tomato is a testament. You guys are true innovators.”

Make Your Product Stand Out To Consumers: 2012 Florida Ag Expo Extended Coverage

Barbieri concluded his presentation by going over opportunities for growers going forward. His calls for action included: understand the consumer; comprehend competitive forces; leverage your strengths; push new product/development varieties; and tell your story. “This business is all about partnerships, relationships, and understanding the consumer.”