MAITLAND, Fla. — The Florida tomato industry is focusing its marketing muscle on trying to encourage mothers to put more Florida tomatoes in their shopping baskets.

The campaigns seek to entice shoppers to “slice into Florida sunshine” by buying more round field-grown tomatoes, said Samantha Daves, director of education and promotion for the Florida Tomato Committee.

While Florida grows and ships tomatoes from October through June, the committee invests most of its promotional efforts in April and May, during the season’s peak spring production.


Cooking Channel

During those months, the committee plans to again partnering with the Cooking Channel, the sister station of The Food Network, to feature Giada De Laurentiis, one of Food Network’s most recognizable faces, discussing the benefits of preparing tomatoes in different ways in meals.

The partnership includes the cable channel running short tagged video vignettes providing quick fresh tomato recipes and special notes to mothers to help bond them with Florida tomatoes.

“The Cooking Channel is a great pipeline to connect with our target audience,” Daves said. “The programs include a quick notice to moms from Florida tomato growers and are part of our effort to connect with female shoppers and talk about another great Florida recipe and bring them to our website.”

Last year, the group used Emeril Lagasse as its celebrity chef.

Daves said the shows aren’t reality TV-focused programs and should be highly instructional programming that helps mothers wanting to prepare meals for their families.

The advertisements promote the group’s website as well its new “kids corner” for children, parents and educators to locate age-appropriate and child-appealing information, activities and resources that help build their knowledge of Florida fresh tomatoes, Daves said.

To further work with mothers, the committee is sponsoring messages appearing in various health and wellness editorial sections of

Also appearing in parenting and mothers’ areas, the messages are expected to reach an estimated 92 million unique monthly viewers and through’s diet and nutrition newsletter, which is sent to 471,000 subscribers a day, Daves said.

“Clicking through the ad banners, mothers will be led back to our website, where they can learn about the health benefits of Florida tomatoes as well as recipes and contests to help educate them on choosing tomatoes on their next shopping trip,” Daves said.

In Orlando; Tampa; West Palm Beach; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Philadelphia; New York; and Boston, the committee during the spring plans to sponsor a month of radio advertisements that underscore the health and nutrition attributes of Florida tomatoes.