Tori Bradley, graduate assistant for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Center for Public Issues Education and Department of Food and Resource Economics, researched the Florida blueberry industry and found opportunities to improve it. Opportunities include increasing market coordination, growing specialized varieties of blueberries to differentiate from other states, and educating consumers.
“We did research with consumers, producers and marketing of blueberries, and basically discovered that our consumers do not know when the Florida blueberry season is,” says Bradley. “We did find that the majority of them want to buy their blueberries from Florida because they enjoy the freshness and they have a positive image of Florida produce.”
Bradley explains in her research that by implementing more social media efforts, partnering with the University of Florida to create promotional campaigns for the industry, and using valuable connections with Fresh From Florida and the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, the marketing plan she has produced will be successful to the industry in communicating messages to consumers.
Bradley says the main premise is to reiterate when the Florida blueberry season starts and when the season is still occurring. “(Consumers) were looking to buy Florida blueberries in summer, when they should have been looking in the spring, early March,” Bradley says. By educating consumers,she hopes to generate more demand for Florida blueberries.
The research was funded by a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services specialty crop block grant and was completed in collaboration with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation.
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