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onsumers have a flexible definition of local food that varies from person to person. That’s why the PIE Center and its partners talk with consumers and producers to understand their purchasing habits, communication preferences and perceptions of locally grown food. PIE Center research helps farmers and organizations communicate and market effectively with consumers who are eager to support their local economies. Click on the project names below to read short summaries, download final reports, useful graphics and more.

Local citrus farmer

Positioning Florida produce as a local choice

Faculty: Joy Rumble Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant (USDA and Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services) When it comes to local food, consumers' definitions range from within 10 miles to within United States borders. In addition to understanding what Floridians felt about local food, this two-year project in partnership with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation measured the economic impact of Florida's specialty crop fresh produce industry, identified branding messages that appeal to consumers and enhanced use of online networking tools in order to ultimately brand Florida-grown fresh produce as a local choice.

Synthesis report  Economic impact survey report  Focus groups with small farmers report  Focus groups with consumers report  Survey report WebinarOnline toolkit  Looking local booklet  Florida Food Connect booklet

 

Local food projects

  • Driving demand: Increasing awareness and marketability of Florida peaches

    Faculty: Joy Rumble Staff: Sandra Anderson Graduate student: Tori Bradley, Kara Harders Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant (USDA and Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services) In partnership with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, this project aims to increase the awareness and marketability of Florida peaches.  The research will result in a marketing plan informed by research to identify barriers among growers, shippers and consumers on the marketing and consumption of Florida peaches.  The project will increase consumer knowledge of Florida peach availability and nutrition as well as increase the sales and marketability of this commercially-grown specialty crop. Final report: Peach marketing planFinal report: Consumer peach purchasing surveyFact sheet: Peach seasonFact sheet: Health benefitsFact sheet: Peach characteristicsPeach News insert: Sweet marketing tips for Florida's sweet fruit
  • Increasing marketing effectiveness & awareness of Florida blueberries

    Faculty: Joy Rumble, Alexa Lamm Staff: Sandra Anderson, Melissa Taylor Graduate student: Tori Bradley Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant (USDA and Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services) This project includes surveys with producers and consumers that will evaluate a marketing plan for the Florida blueberry industry. The research, in partnership with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, will identify barriers producers face in marketing, as well as consumers’ perceptions and barriers to purchasing Florida blueberries. The project will help to increase the marketability of Florida commercially grown specialty crops and increase child and adult knowledge of the nutritional benefits of specialty crops as well as access to and consumption of specialty crops. Issue guideAdvertisement reportConsumer purchasing reportExecutive report: Strategic marketing Blueberry Producers' survey reportBlueberry health benefits handoutMarketing planBlueberry videoBlueberry News Insert: Marketing Florida's super fruitEducational materials evaluationExecutive summary: Marketing plan analysis
  • Increasing consumer preference of Florida strawberries across eastern United States

    Faculty: Joy Rumble Staff: Sandra Anderson Graduate student: Taylor Ruth Funded by: Florida Strawberry Research and Education Foundation The PIE Center conducted focus groups in various locations across the eastern United States to collect information from consumers about their strawberry purchasing behaviors and to identify the barriers and benefits to purchasing Florida-grown strawberries. Additionally, researchers conducted an online survey with consumers throughout the East Coast to test communication strategies. The data collected will be used to develop messaging and marketing materials to promote Florida-grown strawberries in other states. Survey report  Focus groups report  Issue guide
  • Examining Florida consumers' preferences for strawberries

    Faculty: Joy Rumble Graduate student: Taylor Ruth Funded by: Florida Strawberry Research and Education Foundation To increase consumer preference and differentiation of Florida-grown strawberries, PIE Center researchers conducted focus groups and an online survey to test messaging strategies, as well as assess consumer perceptions and barriers to purchasing Florida strawberries. Focus groups report  Survey report
  • Local food messaging & media strategies

    Faculty: Joy Rumble Staff: Sandra Anderson Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant (USDA and Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services) As a follow-up to Positioning Florida Produce as Local Choice, listed below, this project aimed to better understand the types of messages and media channels Florida consumers preferred related to buying local food. This project, in partnership with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, enabled Florida producers and organizations to develop more effective messages and media strategies to promote Florida's specialty crops. Focus groups report  Survey report  Dissertation  Webinar  Connect with consumers booklet
  • Connecting Florida produce & K-12 schools

    Faculty: Joy Rumble Graduate students: Taylor Ruth Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant (USDA and Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services) PIE Center researchers, in partnership with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, examined the Farm to School program with the goal to address the barriers that farmers and schools face and to encourage the use of fresh produce from local farms in K-12 schools. As part of the research, the PIE Center and its partners hosted two bus tours that brought food service professionals to several Florida farms. Researchers also interviewed people involved with agriculture, education, school nutrition and the Farm to School program to learn about their experiences.

    Interviews report  Bus tour report #1  Bus tour report #2  Producers booklet  Food service professionals booklet  Producers video  Food service professionals video  Farm to School video

  • Positioning Florida produce as a local choice

    Faculty: Joy Rumble Funded by: Specialty Crop Block Grant (USDA and Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services) When it comes to local food, consumers' definitions range from within 10 miles to within United States borders. In addition to understanding what Floridians felt about local food, this two-year project in partnership with the Florida Specialty Crop Foundation measured the economic impact of Florida's specialty crop fresh produce industry, identified branding messages that appeal to consumers and enhanced use of online networking tools in order to ultimately brand Florida-grown fresh produce as a local choice.

    Synthesis report  Economic impact survey report  Focus groups with small farmers report  Focus groups with consumers report  WebinarOnline toolkit  Looking local booklet  Florida Food Connect booklet

  • Seafood consumption marketing & message testing

    Funded by: Florida Department for Agriculture and Consumer Services The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services requested the PIE Center assess targeted consumer perceptions of potential messaging strategies related to the Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing’s Gulf Safe seafood campaign. The research enabled FDACS to focus more directly on a specific target audience consistent with the Gulf Safe campaign objective of increasing the purchase and consumption of Florida Gulf seafood, as well as reassure the public of its safety. Participants in the focus groups were asked about their seafood purchasing behaviors and their responses to different seafood marketing concepts and logos.

    Communications audit  Final report