Sweet Corn Marketing Focuses on Cinco de Mayo

Clint ThompsonCorn, Florida

Photo by Clint Thompson/Shows sweet corn harvest in Camilla, Georgia.

By Clint Thompson

Florida sweet corn industry leaders are modifying their marketing efforts to better highlight this year’s crop.

“Demand is what it is this time of year. We’ve talked about this before where up north, if it’s cooler up north, demand doesn’t jump up because people aren’t outside as much,” said Tori Rumenik, director of commodity services and supply chain at the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association (FFVA). “Everything we’re doing marketing wise, we’re looking at that first to second week in April to really start hammering down on marketing.”

Rumenik does not believe the market is currently down, but that demand does not increase until the April-May timeframe when temperatures start warming up across the country.

“When I turn on the news and I see they’re having snow in March or there’s a cold front coming through, you just think, ‘Dang, we’re going to have to get them some other way.’ That’s why we’re like, ‘Hey, do a salsa,’” Rumenik said. “Do something that’s not just throwing it on the grill.”

Targeting a Holiday

One approach Rumenik and her colleagues are taking is to target Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday that emphasizes food consumption. Sweet corn can be that perfect ingredient to combine with other foods.

“We have the conversation around Easter, and Easter was really early this year, so it doesn’t help us as much. We’ve shifted to, what can we do for Cinco de Mayo this year? I’m excited to see what retailers want consumers to do with that with the different flavors,” she said. “What’s cool this year with the retail contest that we’re doing is Cinco de Mayo is right in the middle of our season. There’s so many recipes with really cool flavors that retailers can cross merchandise with peppers, onions, jalapenos to make these fun, spicy, flavorful recipes that don’t have anything to do with a grill.”