Market development strategies for fresh sweet corn based upon consumer and trade surveys

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Market development strategies for fresh sweet corn based upon consumer and trade surveys
Series Title:
FAMRC industry report 01-1
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Degner, Robert L.
Morgan, Kimberly L.
deBodisco, Chris
House, Lisa
Publisher:
Florida Agricultural Market Research Center
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
2001

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
System ID:
AA00000283:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text






Market Development Strategies for

Fresh Sweet Corn

Based Upon Consumer and Trade Surveys


A Research Report
Submitted to the Southern Supersweet
Corn Council
December 13, 2001

By
Dr. Robert L. Degner
Kimberly L. Morgan
Chris deBodisco
Dr. Lisa House

INDUSTRY REPORT 01-1
The Florida Agricultural Market Research Center
University of Florida


UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA
In 1 a dA riluLuanI StI nre
i










TABLE OF CONTENTS


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...................................................................................... III
LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................... XV
LIST OF FIGURES ..................................................................................................... XXI
IN TR OD U CTION ............................................................ ........... ..... 1
OBJECTIVES ..................................... .................. ........... 2
P RO CED URE S ............................................................. ........... ..... 2
F IN D IN G S ........................................................ ......... ..... 5
The R retailer Survey ...................................................................... .................... 5
Evaluation of the Basic Product .......... ............. ........................ 6
Evaluation of Shipping Containers ........... .............................. ......... .............. 13
Retailers' In-store Merchandising and Promotion Practices ............................. 25
Factors Affecting Fresh Sweet Corn Advertising ............................................ 48
Effectiveness of the Southern Supersweet Identity ......................................... 57
C onsum er Survey ........................................................................................ .......... 63
Consum er Survey D ata D escription................................................. .............. 63
General Sweet Corn Consumption Patterns................................ .................... 72
Seasonality of Sweet Corn Consumption ..................... .. ... ..................... 89
Consumers' Evaluation of Packaging Type, Shucking Location and Refrigeration
........................................................................................... . . . ....... .. 9 9
Other Factors Affecting Sweet Corn Purchases: Store Type and Advertising
Exposure ............................. ............ ................ ........... 107
At-Home Storage of Fresh Sweet Corn ......................................... ................ 114
Cooking Methods for Fresh Sweet Corn .................................................... 118
Complements Served with Fresh Sweet Corn .................. ............... ........ 121
































































ii









EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Retailer Survey

Executives of 39 of the top 55 supermarket chains were successfully interviewed.
Seventeen of the top 20 firms provided data. In total, the 39 cooperating firms had
combined sales of nearly $222 billion in 1999. These 39 firms accounted for 82%
of the total sales of the 55 chains operating in the study region, i.e., east of the
Mississippi River, and Texas.

Senior executives responsible for buying and merchandising produce were
interviewed. On average, interviewees had 27 years' experience.

The following highlights are organized into five major topics: Retailers'
evaluations of (1) the basic product, (2) shipping containers, (3) retailers' in-store
merchandising and promotion practices, (4) factors affecting sweet corn
advertising, and (5) effectiveness of the Southern Supersweet identity.

Data from interviews were analyzed by firm size. "Very Large" firms were those
with total sales in excess of $10 billion, "Large" firms had sales of approximately
$2.273 to $7.197 billion, Medium" had sales of $1.0 to $2.268 billion, and
"Small" had sales of $387 million to just under $1.0 billion.



Evaluation of the Basic Product

The majority of very large firms had no particular preference on sweet corn color.
A few preferred white. Smaller firms expressed a relatively strong, emerging
preference for bicolor.

Over the next five years, overall projected sales of white corn are likely to remain
fairly consistent, while yellow is likely to suffer a sizeable decline. Bicolor sales
are projected to capture virtually all sales lost by yellow varieties.

When asked about preferences for specific "varieties", "Southern Supersweet"
was mentioned by 6 of the 7 very large firms and 4 of 8 of the large firms.
Overall, 16 of 39 firms (41%) expressed a preference for Southern Supersweet.
This is especially encouraging because this was an unaided recall question. Thus,
it appears that there is a high level of awareness of Southern Supersweet corn
among the very largest firms.

When asked what should be done to improve the basic product, i.e., the corn
itself, 16 of 39 firms (41%) indicated that they were pleased with the product
coming from southern growers.









About one-third of the retailers suggested improvements to corn such as improved
sweetness and flavor, longer shelf life, bigger ears, green shuck, and consistent
fill.

Three firms mentioned improvements in quality of pack issues, such as consistent
size of ears and accurate ear count.



Evaluation of Shipping Containers

Only three of the very large and four of the large firms have had first hand
experience with Returnable Plastic Containers. None of the medium or small
firms had received sweet corn in RPCs. Almost all had received corn in
wirebound wooden crates, and about three-fourths had received corn in
corrugated boxes.

The very large chains anticipate significant increases in usage of RPCs over the
next five years, going from about 14 percent of total in 2000-01 to nearly 44
percent in 2005-05.

RPC usage by large firms is projected to increase from about 25 percent in 2000-
01 to 80 percent in 2005-06.

Corrugated box usage was projected to increase for all firm size categories except
for large firms (most of which anticipated going to RPCs). Overall usage of
corrugated boxes was projected to go from about 17 percent to 32 percent over the
next 5 years.

Increases in RPC and corrugated box usage were projected to come at the expense
of wirebound crates. Overall usage of wirebound crates was projected to decline
from about 70 percent to 24 percent over the next five years.

Retailers using the various types of containers were asked to rate the key
attributes, such as protection of product from bruising, quick cooling, ease of
handling (at retail), suitability for display, ease of return or disposal, and overall
satisfaction, using a 0 10 rating scale. Zero represented extremely poor, and 10
excellent. RPCs received the highest ratings on all attributes except protection
from bruising, where corrugated boxes prevailed. In general, wirebound crates
received the lowest ratings.

Overall satisfaction ratings for RPCs, corrugated boxes and wirebound crates
were 7.3, 6.6, and 4.4 respectively.

Firms using RPCs generally like them very much, citing better cooling, ease of
handling, labor savings and better display qualities.









Although several very large and larger firms indicated RPCs were worth a
"premium", most said they were not, and almost all refused to indicate a premium
amount.

There is a generally pervasive dislike of wirebound crates. Reasons include
damage to the corn, injuries to workers, poor display qualities, and disposal
problems.

Only one user of RPCs was willing to give a disposal/return cost estimate for
RPCs, and his estimate was 10 cents per container. Disposal cost estimates for
wirebound crates and corrugated boxes were identical, averaging 19 cents per
container and ranging from zero to 75 cents.



In-Store Merchandising and Promotion Practices

When not featured on ad, just over 73 percent of sweet corn is sold bulk,
unshucked, about 25 percent is sold partially shucked in tray packs, and only 2
percent is sold completely shucked in tray packs.

When featured on ad, over 90 percent is sold bulk, unshucked, about 8 percent is
sold partially shucked in tray packs and only one percent is sold completely
shucked in tray packs.

When not featured on ad, 95 percent of all firms use refrigerated displays.
However, when sweet corn is featured or advertised, over two-thirds ( 86 percent
of the very large firms) use unrefrigerated displays. Thus, there may be some
product deterioration during advertised periods, especially in stores with relatively
low sales volume.

When not featured or advertised, few firms sell sweet corn directly out of
shipping containers. Less than 5 percent of sweet corn volume is sold in this
manner. However, when corn is featured on an ad, nearly one-third of total
volume is sold directly out of containers. Thus display qualities are very
important during high sales volume periods.

A wide variety of produce items are typically merchandised along side sweet corn
in most stores. Green beans, potatoes, "greens", "cooking" vegetables, "hard"
vegetables such as broccoli and carrots and many others were mentioned. Many
of the items mentioned require far more cooking time than does sweet corn. It
may be advantageous to identify several complimentary vegetables that can be
promoted along with sweet corn as "quick cooking", convenience dishes.

Non-produce tie-ins were pretty predictable: heavy on butter, squeeze
butter/margarine, salt, corn skewers, spices, and grilling items. Some of these
items may afford an opportunity for cooperative promotional activities.









Price cards, recipes, and nutritional brochures were some of the most widely used
point of sale materials. Radio/TV spots were also used by about 40 50 percent
of all firms. However, price cards provided by outside groups have limited appeal
to some firms because of unique size, style requirements.

When asked what kinds of POS materials supplied by the sweet corn industry
would likely be used, recipe cards were the most popular, with interest expressed
by 28 of 39 firms representing over 12,000 stores and $175 billion in sales.

Electronic ad slicks were the second most popular item, likely to be used by 27
firms representing about 10,600 stores and $161.7 billion in sales.

Hard copy ad slicks were next in popularity appealing to 24 firms with over 9,000
stores and sales of $117 billion.

Other popular items included banners, posters, and radio scripts.



Factors Affecting Sweet Corn Advertising

All firm sizes advertised sweet corn prior to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July
and Labor Day. Other dates mentioned included the Easter holidays, summer
(July and August), Father's Day, Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo and Canada's
Thanksgiving.

Across firm sizes, 84 percent of respondents indicated that weather directly
affects sweet corn sales.

The decision to advertise sweet corn, however, is not affected by local weather
conditions, according to 61 percent of all respondents. Interviewees perceive
improvement in sweet corn sales in warmer weather due to product availability,
seasonal quality, and the suitability of sweet corn for warmer weather cooking
activities, i.e. outdoor grilling.

The primary responses across firms indicate that sweet corn competes with all
other produce items for promotional consideration, specifically melons, berries,
soft fruits and cooking vegetables. In contrast, two large firms believe that sweet
corn "stands alone" when advertising decisions are made.

Major market conditions, including sweet corn price, quality and availability,
were mentioned by all firms as the main factors affecting retailers' advertising
decisions.









*Improvement of the pricing structure emerged as the number one way producers
can encourage retailers to advertise sweet corn more aggressively during the late
September through early July season. Correction of the current wide fluctuations
in product prices and requests for future provision of "good ad price" produce
were offered as motivations which would inspire all firms.



The "Southern Supersweet" Identity

As indicated above, the trade has a fairly strong preference for "Southern
Supersweet" which they view as a "variety". Fortunately this preference is
especially strong among the very large and large firms.

The "Southern Supersweet Corn Council" does not enjoy a broad based
awareness within the trade. Only six firms, 15 percent of the total recognized the
name. In contrast, 10 executives said they were aware of the "American Sweet
Corn Association" (26 percent) and 14 knew about the "Florida Federation of
Sweet Corn Growers" (36 percent).

Overall, 7 firms (18 percent) said they remembered receiving promotional
materials for "Southern Supersweet Corn".

When asked to evaluate "Southern Supersweet Corn" as a trade name, only seven
firms rated it as "very effective"; the same numbers rated it "moderately
effective" and "slightly effective". Sixteen firms (41 percent) rated the name "Not
at all effective".

Although some respondents made positive comments about the "Southern
Supersweet Corn" trade name, others criticized it for the "southern" connotation.
"Supersweet" definitely has positive connotations and relatively wide awareness,
but "southern" does not appear to enhance the overall product image.

Not one firm expressed a preference for a branded product versus generic sweet
corn. Most said there was no difference in profitability. Several did say that
branded was slightly more profitable than generic, and one said it was
considerably more. However, two firms said it was less profitable.

It appears that the trade recognition and appreciation of the "Supersweet" identity
is still too low to command a premium. However with greater emphasis on trade
communication and promotion, "Supersweet" could quickly evolve into a
premium product with an excellent image.









The Consumer Sample and General Purchase Patterns


A total of 1,031 consumer telephone interviews were conducted in Dallas, Atlanta,
Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia between September 7 and November 3, 2001.

The questionnaire was developed after meeting with major sweet corn growers
and shippers.

The consumer sample was generated using a random digit dialing technique
(RDD). Interviews were conducted by staff of the University of Florida's Survey
Research Center, and averaged approximately 10 minutes in length.

Approximately two-thirds (67.7 percent) of all households were found to buy
fresh sweet corn at least once each year.

The proportion of sweet corn buyers increases with household size, income (57.8
percent at <$20K to 82.5 percent at >$70K) and education.

Middle-aged consumers are more likely to buy sweet corn than young consumers.
Only 56 percent of the respondents in the 18 to 34 age group buy sweet corn, in
contrast with 82 percent of those 50 to 64 years of age. Future promotional effort
should target the younger shoppers to convert them to sweet corn users.

Women are slightly more likely to buy sweet corn than men, even though the men
and women interviewed were the primary shoppers for fresh produce. However,
race and ethnicity do not affect the likelihood of being a sweet-corn buyer.

The most-commonly cited reason for not buying corn is that the respondent does
not like the taste (30 percent). The amount of preparation time or inconvenience
(22 percent), and messiness (7 percent) were frequently given reasons. Other
reasons were lack of freshness (8 percent), do not cook (7 percent), and prefer
canned or frozen corn (7 percent). Based on these findings, every effort should be
made to reduce preparation time (perhaps by promoting microwave cooking) and
to offer ready-to-cook product if quality can be preserved.

People in Chicago and Philadelphia are most likely to buy sweet corn, with 73.6
percent of respondents and 72.3 percent, respectively, buying sweet corn.
Consumers in these cities also tend to buy more ears of corn in each purchase: 7.3
and 8.0, respectively.

The city with the lowest fraction of corn consumers is Dallas with 62.2 percent.
Consumers in Dallas typically buy 5.3 ears of corn in each purchase.

The price considered to be "fair" by those who buy corn averaged $0.28 per ear.

At $0.35 per ear, the average "fair" price in Atlanta is nearly 50 percent higher
than the average price in Chicago of $0.21 per ear.









Consumers did not express a strong preference for any variety of sweet corn. Only
16.5 percent of those who buy sweet corn expressed a preference for any variety
at all. In fact, many of these did not mention a variety at all, but a store name.

"Southern Supersweet" was mentioned as a preferred "variety" by less than one
percent of all sweet-corn buyers.

Consumers in Dallas and Chicago expressed strong preferences for yellow corn
(62 percent).

Philadelphia showed a marked preference for white corn over yellow corn, (52
percent, as opposed to 39 percent).

Preferences for yellow corn tend to diminish as income levels increase.

Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks have a very clear preference for yellow corn.

The most important reason given for any color preference is that the respondent
thinks it tastes better. This is especially true for white and bi-color buyers (over
62 percent) who also mentioned "sweeter" twice as frequently as yellow corn
buyers.

"Habit" was the one reason frequently mentioned by yellow-corn buyers (26
percent) that was not an important reason for other corn buyers (5 to 7 percent).
"Appealing Color" was important to those buying bi-color corn (21 percent), and
to those buying yellow corn (18 percent).



Seasonal Purchasing Patterns

Dramatic seasonal differences were found in the number of households buying
sweet corn. Virtually all sweet corn consuming households buy it in the summer,
but only 36 percent buy it in the winter, 71 percent in the spring, and only 49
percent in the fall.

The overwhelming majority of the winter, spring, and fall non-buyers (70%, 57%,
and 63% respectively) said they did not buy fresh sweet corn because it was "not
available".

About 12 to 14 percent, depending on the season, said they did not buy it because
it was not fresh.

High prices were cited as a reason for not buying fresh sweet corn by only 5
percent. This number was consistent over the winter, spring, and fall seasons.









"Not locally grown" was cited as a reason by about 4 to 8 percent of the
respondents, and approximately the same percentages said they did not like the
taste in winter, spring, and fall seasons.

A few respondents mentioned a variety of reasons for not buying sweet corn in
these seasons but most were not judged to be an indictment of product quality, or
shipping practices.

Percentages of sweet corn purchases were significantly lower in Boston and
Chicago during the winter, spring, and fall seasons. More than likely this is a
weather related phenomenon, a reflection of the strong association of sweet corn
and summer, and the perception that sweet corn is not available in colder months.
It is also likely that the city buying patterns are affected by the racial/ethnic
composition.

Seasonal purchase patterns were similar for Blacks and Hispanics. Surprisingly,
higher percentages of Blacks and Hispanics purchase sweet corn in the winter,
spring, and fall than White Non-Hispanics and Asians.

There were no strong relationships between the seasonal percentages of sweet
corn buyers and income or education.




Consumers' Evaluations of Packaging Type, Shucking Location and Refrigeration


Overall, nearly 75 percent of sweet corn consumers prefer to purchase loose
(bulk) sweet corn, 16 percent purchase fully shucked, pre-packaged, and about
nine percent prefer partially shucked, pre-packaged product. Retailers should be
urged to offer bulk sweet corn even in the winter, spring and fall seasons. Bulk
displays convey freshness and better meet consumers' preferences.

Boston respondents were the most likely to prefer bulk (non-packaged) sweet
corn. Respondents that were White non-Hispanics, college educated, and earning
$50 to 69.9K annually, and between 35 to 49 years of age were also the largest
segments preferring bulk sweet corn.. Consumers preferring partially shucked,
pre-packaged sweet corn are most likely found in Dallas, are of Hispanic
ethnicity, college educated, earn $20 to 34.9K annually, and are between 18-34
years of age. Buyers of fully shucked, pre-packed sweet corn are most likely in
Dallas, Black non-Hispanics, high school educated, earn less than $20K annually,
and aged 65 or older.

In general, more than 83 percent of sweet corn consumers prefer to shuck their
purchases at home. The groups most likely to shuck corn in the store include
approximately 21 percent of Chicago sweet corn consumers, about 42 percent of
Asian consumers.









*The majority of sweet corn buyers, almost 62 percent, prefer to select
unrefrigerated product from their retail outlets. This percentage ranged from about
50 percent in Dallas to 73 percent in Boston. This indicates that a majority of
sweet corn purchasers do not realize the importance of refrigeration in
maintaining product quality. Educational messages aimed at consumers should
stress the importance of refrigeration.



Sweet Corn Purchases by Type of Retail Outlet, Sources of Information for Sweet Corn,
and Recall of Promotional Methods

Supermarkets are the retail outlet of choice for just over 62 percent of all sweet
corn consumers. Specialty produce stores are the second most popular source of
sweet corn, and were frequented by almost 13 percent of all sweet corn buyers.
While the importance of supermarkets has long been understood as a means of
reaching potential purchasers, specialty produce stores may also prove to be a
productive promotional venue, especially in some markets such as Chicago where
nearly 20 percent of respondents usually buy sweet corn.

Only seven percent of all sweet corn buyers had ever received any information
about the availability, nutritional qualities or cooking methods for sweet corn.
The four most common informational sources included cookbooks, magazine
articles, word of mouth recommendations, and newspaper articles.

About 37 percent of all sweet corn purchase said they had seen newspaper feature
stories and newspaper food advertisements for sweet corn within the past year.
Approximately 30 percent recalled seeing store posters and television features
such as cooking shows.

Magazine ads and magazine feature stories on sweet corn had been seen by 22
and 15 percent, respectively.

The Internet was mentioned by relatively few sweet corn buyers as an information
source. However, it should not be overlooked as a viable nationwide educational
and promotional tool for sweet corn. Nearly three-fourths of all survey
respondents had access to the Internet at either work or home. Access by
race/ethnicity was found to be about 60 percent for Black non-Hispanics, 72
percent for Hispanics, 80 percent for White non-Hispanics, and 83 percent for
Asians. An astounding 94 percent of households with incomes of $70K or more
had Internet access.









At-Home Storage, Preparation and Serving Patterns


* 62 percent consume fresh sweet corn on the day of purchase, and an additional 31
percent consume it within three days. Thus, it appears that prolonged storage in
the home is not a pervasive problem that would require extensive consumer
education. However, messages that persuade consumers to eat sweet corn as soon
after purchase for highest quality could also increase consumption.

* Nearly 7 percent of all sweet corn purchasers store it outside the refrigerator. This
percentage ranges from over 9 percent in Dallas and Chicago to about 3 percent in
Philadelphia. Un-refrigerated storage undoubtedly takes its toll on quality, and the
message to "refrigerate" should be conveyed to consumers.

* 46 percent of all sweet corn purchasers store it shucked. This practice probably
results in loss of product quality, and should be discouraged through an
educational campaign.

* Boiling is the predominant method for cooking fresh sweet corn (over 70
percent). Other methods of cooking, such as microwaving, are not heavily used.
Microwaving could help to position sweet corn as more of a convenience food,
perhaps circumventing the complaint that sweet corn is inconvenient and takes
too long to prepare.

* There is a variance in cooking methods across cities. Boston and Philadelphia rely
heavily upon boiling (over 85%), and respondents in Chicago use the outdoor grill
method substantially more than other cities.

* Fresh sweet corn is most often served as a side dish, on the cob.

* Beef and chicken are most frequently consumed with sweet corn. Promotional
suggestions for retailers should include the suggestion that sweet corn be cross-
merchandised with these popular meats.

* Salad, beans, and potatoes are the most frequently consumed vegetables with
sweet corn. The vast variety of vegetable items "typically" served with sweet corn
precludes identification of a few specific items that could be cross-merchandised,
although beans of all types and salad vegetables that help retailers "break color"
could be used.









Conclusions


* In conclusion, we feel that the most important findings of the consumer survey are
(1) the very limited consumption in the winter, spring, and fall seasons and (2)
consumers' perceptions that sweet corn is not available in these seasons. Thus,
with adequate educational and promotional efforts the misperceptions could be
overcome. The current market development program has utilized cost effective
methods and reached some consumers, but many remain totally unaware of sweet
corn during the prime marketing period for Southern Supersweet corn. Many of
the largest retailers are aware of Southern Supersweet corn, but significant
numbers are not.

* Although growers and shippers may be proud of their southern heritage, feedback
from the retail trade indicate that the "Southern" identity may be detrimental. At
present Southern Supersweet does not have widespread recognition except at the
major retailer level; "Supersweet" by itself conveys product quality and would be
simpler to promote.

* The current budget of $80,000 has had limited overall impact, and vast potential
remains to expand the demand for sweet corn in the winter, spring and fall
seasons. Based upon results experienced by other commodity groups, a budget of
$500,000 is recommended. This would allow for an expanded consumer
educational program using more television feature stories, news releases targeted
at newspaper food editors, consumer magazine feature stories, and development
and maintenance of a Southern Supersweet Internet website. The consumer must
be made aware of the high quality sweet corn that is available in what they
perceive to be the "off-seasons". Part of the budget should be directed to creating
greater awareness in the retail trade by providing some of the promotional
materials that could also serve to get consumers' attention at the store level.
















































































xiv









LIST OF TABLES


Table 1. Superm market Chain Size Classification....................................... .................... 6
Table 2. Produce Buyers' Preferred Colors of Sweet Corn by Firm Size. ....................... 6
Table 3. Respondents' Reasons for Sweet Corn Color Preference, Comments by Firm
Size............................... ..... ........ ............ ................... .......... 7
Table 4. Current and Projected White Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size.......................... 8
Table 5. Current and Projected Yellow Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size........................... 8
Table 6. Current and Projected Bicolor Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size. ......................... 8
Table 7. Produce Buyers' Preferences for Specific "Varieties" of Sweet Corn, by Firm
Size.......... ............................................ 9
Table 8. Respondents' Reasons for Sweet Corn Variety Preference, Comments by Firm
S iz e ................................ ...... ....... ..... ............ ......................... . . .... .... 10
Table 9. Produce Buyers' Suggested Changes for the Basic Product (the Corn Itself), by
Firm Size ................... ..... ............................................ ..... 11
Table 9. C continued ................... .......................................................................... .... ....... 12
Table 10. Produce Buyers' Experience With Various Types of Sweet Corn Containers, by
F irm S iz e. .................. ........................ .... .......... .......................................................... 13
Table 11. Current and Projected RPC Usage, by Firm Size. a.................................... 14
Table 12. Current and Projected Wirebound Crate Usage, by Firm Size..................... 15
Table 13. Current and Projected Corrugated Box Usage, by Firm Size. "........................ 15
Table 14. Produce Buyers' Ratings of Selected Container Attributes of RPCs, Wirebound
Crates, and Corrugated Boxes...................... .......... ... .............. 16
Table 15. Advantages of Returnable Plastic Containers Cited by Respondents by Firm
Size and Response Order. ..................................... ...................... 17
Table 16. Disadvantages of Returnable Plastic Containers Cited by Respondents, by Firm
Size and R response O order. ............................. ......... .............. ........... .................... 17
Table 17. RPC Users' Response to the Question "Are RPCs Worth a Premium to the
Typical Retail Firm?", by Firm Size........ ........ .. .... ...................... 18
Table 18. Advantages of Wire Bound Crates Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
R response O rder................... ... ..................... .. .. ... ......... .............. 19
Table 19. Disadvantages of Wire Bound Crates Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
Response Order................... .......... ...... .......... ...... ............... 20
Table 20. Advantages of Corrugated Boxes Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
R response O rder................................. .. ................. .. ... .. ............... 2 1
Table 21. Disadvantages of Corrugated Boxes Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
Response Order............................... ............ . .............. ..... 22
Table 22. Produce Buyers' Disposal/Return Cost Estimates for Various Types of
C contain ers. ................ .......................... ........... ......... ..... ................. 2 3
Table 23. Suggested Changes to Containers and Packaging, Comments by Firm Size and
R response O order ...................... ......... ............... .... ........ ................. ..... 24
Table 24. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Not Featured............... .............. 25
Table 25. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Featured.................................. 26
Table 26. Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Not Featured, by Firm Size..... 27
Table 27.Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Featured, by Firm Size........... 27









Table 28. Percentage of Sweet Corn Sold Directly Out of Shipping Crates or Containers,
by Firm Size............... ........... .. .. .. ......... ............. .............. 28
Table 29. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Not Featuring Sweet
C orn, by Firm Size. ...... .. ......... ........ .. ... ...... ........................ .............. 29
Table 30. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Featuring Sweet Corn
by Firm Size........... .................. ...... ......... .. ................ 30
Table 31. Non-Produce Tie-ins Successfully Sold with Sweet Corn, by Firm Size......... 31
Table 32. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Demonstrations/Sampling for Sweet Corn, by
F irm S iz e ................... ... .. .. ........... ... .. ... .............. .... ...... ....... ... ............ 3 2
Table 33. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of In- Store Demonstration/Sampling "Very Effective" or
"Somewhat Effective", by Firm Size ................................................................... 32
Table 34. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Videotapes for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size... 32
Table 35. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of In-Store Videotapes "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size. ............... .............. ............. ... .... .............. 33
Table 37. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Radio Spots "Very Effective" or "Somewhat Effective",
by Firm Size............... ............... ......... .. . ..... ......... ........ .............. 33
Table 38. Past Use and Ratings of TV Spots for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size ................ 34
Table 39. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of TV Spots "Very Effective" or "Somewhat Effective", by
Firm Size........................................... .......... .. .. .. .... ................. 34
Table 40. Past Use and Ratings of Banners/Large Posters for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
............................... ....... ........................ ................ 34
Table 41. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Banners/Large Posters "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size. .................. ..... ....... .......... ... ........... ................ 35
Table 42. Past Use and Ratings of Small Format Price/Case Cards for Sweet Corn, by
Firm Size................ ................... . ..................... ................. ..... 35
Table 43. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Price/Case Cards "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size. ............. ... .... ... ..... ............ .............. 35
Table 44. Past Use and Ratings of Recipe Cards for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size........... 36
Table 45. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Recipe Cards "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size. .................... ... ............... ......... .. ........ ................ 36
Table 46. Past Use and Ratings of Nutritional Brochures for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. 36
Table 47. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Nutritional Brochures "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size. ............................................ .................................... 37
Table 48. Retailers' Likelihood of Using In-Store Videotapes, if Provided by the Sweet
C orn Industry, by Firm Size........................................................................ ... 38
Table 49. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use In-Store Videotapes, by
F irm Size.............................................................................................. . 3 8









Table 50. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Ad Slicks (hard copy), if Provided by the Sweet
Corn Industry, by Firm Size........................................................................ ... 38
Table 51. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Ad Slicks (hard copy), by
F irm Size........................ ... . .... .. ... ........................ ................ 39
Table 52. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Ad Slicks (electronic copy), if Provided by the
Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size.............................. ................ ......... ........ 39
Table 53. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Ad Slicks (electronic
copy), by Firm Size .......................... .. .... .................. ................................... .. 39
Table 54. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Radio Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size..................... .............. ............ ............. .. ...... ..... .. 40
Table 55. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Radio Scripts, by Firm
Size ........ ................. ................... . .. .. ....... ........ ..... ... ............ . . 40
Table 56. Retailers' Likelihood of Using TV Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size..................... .............. ............ ............. .. ...... ..... .. 40
Table 57. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use TV Scripts, by Firm Size.
............................................................................................................ 4 1
Table 58. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Banners/ Posters, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Indu story by F irm Size. b ........... ....... .... ..... .................. .. ........ .............. 4 1
Table 59. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Banners/ Posters, by Firm
Size ......................... .................. ....... ....... ........ ...... .................. . . 4 1
Table 60. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Price Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size..................... .............. ............ ............. .. ...... ..... .. 42
Table 61. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Price Cards, by Firm
Size......................... .......... ....... ..... ..... ...................................... . . 42
Table 62. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Case Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size..................... .............. ............ ............. .. ...... ..... .. 42
Table 63. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Case Cards, by Firm Size.
................................................... . . . .................... 4 3
Table 64. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Recipe Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size..................... .............. ............ ............. .. ...... ..... .. 43
Table 65. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Recipe Cards, by Firm
S ize ........ ................. ........... .. ..... . .. .. ...... ....... ..... ........... .............. 4 3
Table 66. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Display Contests, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size..................... .............. ............ ............. .. ...... ..... .. 44
Table 67. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Display Contests, by Firm
Size............................................. .............. 44


XV11









Table 68. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Nutritional Brochures, if Provided by the Sweet
C orn Industry, by Firm Size........................................................................ ... 44
Table 69. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Nutritional Brochures, by
Firm Size............... ... ........ ............ .. .............. ...... .............. 45
Table 70. In-store Promotional Materials Rated as Very or Somewhat Effective.......... 45
Table 71. Promotional Materials Likely to be Used by Retailers............................ 46
Table 72. Other Retail Promotional Tools Used by Retailers, by Firm Size ................ 47
Table 73. Retailers' Desired Attributes for Selected Promotional Materials ................ 48
Table 74. Particular Dates or Holidays when Sweet Corn is Featured, by Firm Size. ..... 49
Table 75. "Does Weather Affect Sweet Corn Sales in Your Stores?", Responses by Firm
Size ..................................... . ... .. .. . .. .. ... ........................ 50
Table 76. Effect of Weather on Sweet Corn Sales Mentioned by Respondents, by Firm
Size............................. ...... ......... ............................... 50
Table 77. "Do Weather Conditions in your Retail Market Area Play a Role in Your
Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Ad?", Responses by Firm Size............................. 51
Table 78. Effect of Weather on Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Advertisement, by Firm
Size ............................ ... .. ... .. ....... .. ...... .. ....... ................ 52
Table 79. Produce Items Competing with Sweet Corn for Promotional Consideration, by
Firm Size and R response O rder ................................................................ ... 53
Table 80. Other Factors Determining Whether or Not to Put Sweet Corn on
Advertisement, by Firm Size and Response Order ................. ........... .............. 54
Table 81. Ways To Get Retailers to Feature or Advertise Sweet Corn More Aggressively
During The Late September Early July Season. ........................ ................... 56
Table 82. Retailers' Awareness of the Southern Supersweet Corn Council and Other
Fictitious Trade A associations by Firm Size. ................................................... ... 58
Table 83. Retailers' Recall of Having Received Promotional Materials for "Southern
Supersweet Corn", by Firm Size....... ................ ... ................ 59
Table 84. Respondents' Thoughts about "Southern Supersweet Corn" Promotional
M materials, by Firm Size............................................................... .............. 59
Table 85. Retailers' Evaluation of the Trade Name "Southern Supersweet Corn", by Firm
Size.......... ............................................. 60
Table 86. Respondents' Reasons for Effectiveness Ratings of the Trade Name "Southern
Supersweet Corn", by Effectiveness Rating. ................. ......... ...... ............ 61
Table 87. Produce Buyers' Evaluations of Profitability of Branded vs. Generic Sweet
Corn, by Firm Size ....................................... . ..... ... .. .. .. ............ 62
Table 88. Number of Completed Interviews, by City............................. ..... ......... 63
Table 89. Racial Composition of the Total Sample......................................... 64
Table 90. Race and Ethnicity of all Respondents. .................................. .............. 64
Table 91. Incom e D distribution, A ll C ities............................................... ... ... .............. 65
Table 92 Age Categories of Respondents, All Cities. ........................................ ...... 65
Table 93. Number of Children Under 18 in Household, All Cities.............................. 66
Table 94. Number of Adults 18 and Older in Household, All Cities............................ 66
Table 95. Respondents' Income Levels, by City.................................................. 67
Table 96. Respondents' Educational Levels, by City. ........................................ ..... 67
Table 97. Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Sample, by City. ................................. 69


XV111









Table 98. Number of Years Lived in City, by City. .................................................... 69
Table 99. Age of Respondents, by City. ............................... .... ..................... .. 70
Table 100. Number of Children in the Sample Households, by City. ........................... 70
Table 101. Number of Adults in the Sample Households, by City.................................. 71
Table 102. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn by City................. ................. 73
Table 103. Average Number of Sweet Corn Ears Purchased Each Time, by City......... 73
Table 104. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity ................... 74
Table 105. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Level of Education..................... 74
Table 106. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Income Level............................. 75
Table 107. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Age of Respondent..................... 75
Table 108. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Number of Adults in Household.. 76
Table 109. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Number of Children Under 18 in
H ou seh o ld ........................................... .... ... ............................. . 7 6
Table 110. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Gender................ ........... ... 76
Table 111. Reasons Respondents Do Not Buy Sweet Corn. ............................................ 77
Table 112. Respondents' Perceived "Fair Price" for Fresh Sweet Corn, by City. ........... 78
Table 113. Fair Price for Fresh Sweet Corn, by City............................. ..... ......... 78
Table 114. Fair Price for Fresh Sweet Corn, by Education. .......................................... 79
Table 115. Preferred Variety of Fresh Sweet Corn, All Cities............... ... ............ .. 80
Table 116. Color Preferences for Sweet Corn, All Buyers........................... .............. 80
Table 117. Reasons Why Respondents Prefer a Particular Color of Sweet Corn........... 82
Table 118. Respondents' Sweet Corn Color Preference, by City .............. .............. 83
Table 119. Respondents' Sweet Corn Color Preference, by Income Level.................... 86
Table 120. Respondents' Sweet Corn Color Preference, by Education Level ............... 86
Table 121. Respondents' Sweet Corn Color Preference, by Race and Ethnicity ............ 88
Table 122. Percent of All Sweet Corn Purchasers Buying the Product, by Season. ........ 89
Table 123. Reasons Given For Buying Sweet Corn. ................................................. 91
Table 124. Reasons Given for Not Purchasing Sweet Corn, by Season........................ 93
Table 125. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by City ................................... .. .............. ..................... 94
Table 126. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by Incom e L evel .................................................................... ... 96
Table 127. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by Education Level .................................................................. ... 97
Table 128 Percent of Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and
F all, by R ace and E ethnicity ........... ................ ..................................................... 98
Table 129. Preferred Type of Packaging, by City ...................................... .................. 99
Table 130. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Respondents' Race and Ethnicity ........... 100
Table 131. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Level of Education............................. 100
Table 132. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Income Level. ........................................ 101
Table 133. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Age Category...................................... 101
Table 134. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Number of Children in the Sample
H o u se h o ld s ............... .......... ....... ............................................................................. 1 0 2
Table 135. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Gender ............. ..... ................. 102
Table 136. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by City............................... ... 103
Table 137. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity ............... 103









Table 138. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by Level of Education.............. 104
Table 139. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by Age Category ...................... 104
Table 140. Respondents' Preference for Refrigerated or Unrefrigerated Sweet Corn, by
C ity .................... ............. ....... .............. ...... ... ..... .. . .... . ...... .. 10 5
Table 141. Preference for Refrigerated or Unrefrigerated Sweet Corn, by Race and
E th n city ................... .......... ...... ......... ............ .... .. ....... . ..................... 10 5
Table 142. Respondents' Preference for Refrigerated or Unrefrigerated Sweet Corn, by
L evel of E education ................................... ....... ... ... ...... ...... ......... ... 106
Table 143. Respondents' Preference for Refrigerated or Unrefrigerated Sweet Corn, by
Incom e L evel. .............................. ... ......... ............ ... ....... . ..... 107
Table 144.Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Sweet Corn, by City. 109
Table 145. Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Sweet Corn, by Race
an d E th n city .......................... ...... ....... ... ....... ... ... ......... ...... ....... 1 10
Table 146. Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Fresh Sweet Corn, by
Incom e L evel. ................................... ....... .. ... .................... 111
Table 147. Sources Used to Obtain Information about Sweet Corn............................ 112
Table 148. Aided Recall of Specific Types of Promotional Materials for Sweet Corn.. 113
Table 149. Respondents' Use of Fresh Sweet Corn on the Day of Purchase, by City... 115
Table 150. Respondents' Use of Fresh Sweet Corn on the Day of Purchase, by Race and
E ethnicity ......................... ............... ............. ......... ... ................. . . 115
Table 151. Respondents At Home Storage Preference for Sweet Corn, by City............ 116
Table 152. At Home Storage Preference for Sweet Corn, by Respondents Gender...... 116
Table 153. Respondents' Preference for Shucked or Unshucked Storage of Sweet Corn,
by City ... .................................................. ....... .... ... ..... ............... 117
Table 154. Respondents' Preference for Shucked or Unshucked Storage of Sweet Corn,
by L evel of E education .................................................... ........ ...... . .. ....... ....... 117
Table 155. Respondents' Preference for Shucked or Unshucked Storage of Sweet Corn,
by Race and Ethnicity. ..................... ..... .... .. ... ..... ............... 117
Table 156. Preparation Methods Used in Good Weather, by City. ................................ 119
Table 157. Preparation Methods Used in Bad W weather, by City................................... 119
Table 158. Respondents' Preference for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by
City............................ ....... ... ... .... .... .... ........... ..... 120
Table 159. Respondents' Preference for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by
L ev el of E du cation ..................................................... .... ... ......... ................. .. 12 0
Table 160. Respondents' Preference for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by
R a c e ................... ...................................... ...... .......... ..... 12 1









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure 1. Major Reasons Given for a Color Preference............................................ 82
Figure 2. Sweet Corn Color Preference by City. ....................................................... 84
Figure 3. Sweet Corn Color Preference by City. ............ ................. ........ ......... 84
Figure 4. Sweet Corn Color Preference by Income Category. .................................... 87
Figure 5 Sweet Corn Color Preference by Education Level......................................... 87
Figure 6. Respondents' Sweet Corn Color Preference, by Race and Ethnicity................ 88
Figure 7. Percent Buying Sweet Corn by Season, All Respondents............................. 89
Figure 8. Major Reasons Given for Buying Sweet Corn, by Season............................ 90
Figure 9. Major Reasons Given for Not Buying Sweet Corn, by Season......................... 92
Figure 10. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by City .................................... .. . .. .... ........ ..... .............. 94
Figure 11. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by Incom e L evel .................................................................... ... 96
Figure 12. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by Education Level .................................................................. ... 97
Figure 13. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer
and Fall, by Race and Ethnicity. ........................................ .................... 98
Figure 14. Methods of Preparation Used in Good vs Bad Weather............................ 118
Figure 15. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by City......................... 122
Figure 16. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by Age. ........................ 123
Figure 17. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by Race........................ 123
Figure 18. Percent of Consumption of Other Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by City..... 125
Figure 19. Percent of Consumption of Other Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by Age. .... 125
Figure 20. Percent of Consumption of Other Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by Race.... 126


















































































XX11









Introduction

Southern Supersweet Corn Council members represent the majority of sweet corn

shipped and consumed in the United States from late fall through the winter until the July

Fourth holiday. Major shipments of corn are scheduled to fill orders on the two holidays

of Memorial Day and July 4th; historically, retailers have supported the sweet corn

industry before and during these time periods with advertisements. Shipments of corn

during other times of the year are fairly consistent and affected by weather and retail

promotions. The supersweet varieties have more sugar and hold the sugar content for an

average of 5 10 days under ideal storage conditions of 34 F and 95 percent humidity.

Post-harvest practices have been refined, and in combination with the superior variety,

sweet corn from the Southern Supersweet producers is of higher quality than local

seasonal corn. Recent promotional activities for the past three years have focused on

promotion of Southern Supersweet Corn Council products directly to the consumer

through a third party communication agency.

In order to better utilize marketing dollars, the Southern Supersweet Corn Council

members have contracted with the Florida Agricultural Market Research Center to obtain

quantitative and qualitative data from consumers and retailers via survey instruments. A

basic overview of the forces within the industry which determine firm conduct is

performed and incorporated with survey data. The goal of this research is to assist the

sweet corn industry in defining their market position, and to design a competitive market

strategy which will utilize inherent advantages to improve firm performance.









Objectives

With the intention of quantifying the impacts of current promotional expenditures

and outlining the feasibility of additional promotional activities, the researchers

investigated the following three objectives on behalf of the Southern Supersweet Corn

Council members:

1. Retail perceptions of sweet corn handling and promotional activities.
2. Consumer perceptions and usage of sweet corn, and sources of information.
3. Recommendations and projected expenditures for future Southern Supersweet
Corn Council activities.



Procedures

Prior to questionnaire development, the researchers met with individual sweet

corn growers, shippers and handlers located in the Belle Glade production area in an

effort to clarify project objectives. Notes from these meetings, combined with informal

survey results collected from members of the Southern Supersweet Corn Council, were

incorporated into the questionnaire design for both the retail and the consumer survey

instruments.

Retailer interviews sought chain store executives' perceptions and knowledge of

the profitability of sweet corn varieties in general and Southern Supersweet in particular.

Information on chains' handling practices, primarily packaging, shipping and storage of

sweet corn was obtained. Details concerning merchandisers' preferences for point-of-

sale advertising materials and other promotional activities were recorded. Additionally,

interviewees were queried as to desired product attributes, packaging formats, and

preferred advertising strategies specific to fresh sweet corn.









Progressive Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery

Distribution, and the supplemental 68th Annual Report of the Grocery Industry, were

utilized to develop an approved list of high-level retailer contacts. Produce

merchandisers or head buyers of the 55 leading retailers serving the geographic regions

east of the Mississippi River and the Dallas/Houston market areas of Texas were

contacted initially by mail to legitimize the survey. The Florida Survey Research Center

(FSRC), working in partnership with the Florida Agricultural Market Research Center

(FAMRC), conducted the interviews, employing a professional researcher with extensive

experience in completing questionnaires of both high-level executives and physicians.

The interviewer was thoroughly briefed on each item of the retailer questionnaire and

project objectives by the principle investigators.

Calls began August 30, 2001, approximately 3-5 days after the initial mailing of

the introductory letters, and final contact attempts were accomplished October 29, 2001.

A minimum of ten attempts were made to complete each survey, at which time

permission was requested to either mail or fax the instrument. Follow-up calls were

made on faxes and mailings to confirm receipt of the survey and to respond to any

potential questions.

Consumer surveys were conducted in five major market areas to allow for

regional dispersion, and include Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia.

Clustering the consumer interviews facilitated statistical analyses used to determine

differences in consumer purchasing, storing and preparation methods. In addition to

geographical dispersion, these areas provided racial and ethnic diversity in the total

sample.









Primary food shoppers in each of 200 households in each city were interviewed

by trained, professional interviewers whom had received precise written and verbal

instructions to facilitate full understanding of the consumer questionnaire. The consumer

instrument was designed in conjunction with professionals in both the FSCR and the

FAMRC, and was approved by a SSCC member prior to the interview process. The

University of Florida's Institutional Review Board's Committee for the Protection of the

Human Subjects also approved the material prior to initial interviews. The questionnaire

was pre-tested to further certify functionality and remove any ambiguity prior to full-

scale field interviewing. Telephone numbers were generated using a random digit dialing

(RDD) technique. This method avoids difficulties with unlisted and disconnected

numbers.

Consumer surveying began in early September and was completed in early

November, 2001. Each household was contacted during different times of the day, a

minimum of six times each, before an alternative phone number was selected. This

generates the greatest assurance of avoiding sampling bias caused by over-sampling non-

working food shoppers. Interviewing was accomplished with the assistance of computer

workstations (computer-assisted telephone interviewing, also referred to as CATI) to

allow for immediate, computerized recording of responses. Quality control of the

interviewing procedures was assured by random monitoring of real-time interviews, and

through call-back verification of ten percent of all completed questionnaires.









Findings

The Retailer Survey

Executives of 39 of the top fifty-five supermarket chains were successfully

interviewed, and seventeen of the top twenty firms provided data. In total, the 39

cooperating firms had combined sales of nearly $222 billion in 1999 and represented

15,753 store locations in the designated study region. These 39 firms accounted for 82%

of the total sales of the 55 chains operating in the study region, i.e. east of the Mississippi

River and Texas. Senior executives responsible for buying and merchandising produce

were interviewed, and interviewees had an average 27 years' experience, with a mean of

fifteen years exclusively in the produce arena.

The following review is organized into five major topic areas:

1. Retailers' evaluations of the basic product (fresh sweet corn).
2. Retailers' evaluations of shipping containers.
3. Retailers' in-store merchandising and promotion practices.
4. Factors affecting fresh sweet corn advertising.
5. Effectiveness of the Southern Supersweet identity.
Data from interviews were analyzed by firm size categories. "Very Large" firms were

those with total 1999 sales in excess of $10 billion, "Large" firms had sales of

approximately $2.273 to $7.197 billion, "Medium" firms had sales of $1.0 to $2.268

billion, and "Small" firms had sales of $387 million to just under $1.0 billion (Table 1).









Table 1. Supermarket Chain Size Classification.

Firms Reported # Total Sales Sales Range 1999 a
Size Classification of Stores (billions $) (billions $)
Very Large 7 9,916 159 >10.000
Large 8 1,207 33 2.273 7.197
Medium 14 3,873 23 1.000 2.268
Small 10 757 7 0.387 0.949
All Firms 39 15,753 222 0.387 43.082
a Sales estimates are from Progressive Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of
Grocery Distribution.


Evaluation of the Basic Product

This first section deals with the buying and merchandising practices for fresh

sweet corn of each retailer surveyed, specifically during the late September to early July

marketing period, when Florida and Georgia producers are the major product suppliers.

The majority of very large firms had no particular preference on fresh sweet corn color,

while the remaining 29 percent selected white, accounting for $46 billion in 1999 sales.

An interesting commonality among large, medium and small firms is the strong

preference for bicolor in each size category, representing nearly $26 billion in store sales

(Table 2.) In both cases, respondents' claim color preferences are determined by

customer demands for higher quality, sweeter and tastier sweet corn (Table 3).

Table 2. Produce Buyers' Preferred Colors of Sweet Corn by Firm Size.
Preferred Color
No White Yellow Bi-Color Totals
Firm Size Preference
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 5 71 2 29 0 0 0 0 7 100
Large 2 25 1 12 1 12 4 50a 8 100
Medium 4 29 2 14 2 14 7 50a 14 100
Small 2 20 2 20 2 20 4 40a 10 100
All Firms 12 31 7 18 5 13 15 38 39 100
a Five of the very large firms, representing $113 billion on sales, expressed no color preference. Two very
large firms, with combined sales of $46 billion, preferred white. A total of 15 chains in the large, medium
and small categories, with total sales of $26 billion, preferred bicolor.










Table 3. Respondents' Reasons for Sweet Corn Color Preference, Comments by Firm
Size.

Size of Firms, Comments a
Color Preference.

Very Large
White color preference: customer demand; customer preference

Large
White color preference: sweeter
Yellow color preference: tastier; white more expensive; customers prefer it
Bi-color preference: customers prefer it; have been using bi-color for two years;
consistent quality; preferred in the north east

Medium
White color preference: customer preference; better quality/size; holds sweetness
longer
Yellow color preference: don't know
Bi-Color Preference: popular with customers(4); flavor and sweetness; flavor

Small
White color preference: customer preference
Yellow color preference: consumer preference(2)
Bi-color preference: perception as a better eating corn; customer preference (2); tastes
better(2)

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.


Over the next five years, overall projected sales of white corn are likely to remain

fairly consistent (Table 4), while yellow is likely to suffer a sizable decline in sales, with

decreases ranging from a 4.3 percent decrease in very large firms to a 23 percent drop in

small firms (Table 5). Bicolor sales are projected to capture virtually all sales lost by the

yellow varieties, with an average 8.4 percent gain across firm size categories projected by

the 2005-06 season (Table 6).









Table 4. Current and Projected White Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size.
Estimated Sales
Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06
(----------------------- --Percenta -------)
Very Large 43.8 42.5 40.0 A- 3.8
Large 12.1 13.2 19.7 A+ 7.6
Medium 18.8 20.3 16.6 A- 2.2
Small 18.0 19.4 21.0 A+ 3.0
All Firms 36.4 35.8 35.1 A- 1.3
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.


Table 5. Current and Projected Yellow Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size.
Estimated Sales
Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06
(-------- ---------Percent-----------------------
Very Large 41.7 38.8 37.3 A- 4.3
Large 33.9 28.3 16.9 A- 17.0
Medium 48.5 46.0 43.2 A- 5.3
Small 61.4 54.8 38.5 A- 22.9
All Firms 41.9 38.5 34.8 A- 7.1
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.



Table 6. Current and Projected Bicolor Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size.
Estimated Sales
Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06
(--------------Per----- --- cent--------------
Very Large 13.9 17.4 22.3 A+ 8.3
Large 54.1 58.5 63.4 A+ 9.3
Medium 32.7 33.6 40.2 A+ 7.5
Small 20.6 25.8 40.6 A+20.0
All Firms 21.7 25.1 30.1 A+ 8.4
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.


Overall, forty-one percent of respondents' queried about variety preferences

mentioned the "Southern Supersweet" variety (Table 7). This includes six out of the

seven very large firms with $135.5 billion in sales, and half (4 out of 8) of the large firms,









representing another $26.7 billion. This is especially encouraging when given the fact

this question was an unaided recall question. Thus, it appears that there is a high level of

awareness of the variety name, Southern Supersweet, among the top twenty firms in the

industry.

Table 7. Produce Buyers' Preferences for Specific "Varieties" of Sweet Corn, by Firm
Size.
Preference for Firm Size
Specific Variety Small Medium Large Very Large All Firms
(N)a (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
No Preference 5 50 8 57 1 12 2 29 16 41
"Silver Queen" 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3
"Southern
Supersweet" 4 40 2 14 4 50 6 86 16 41
"Kandy Korn" 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3
"Honey Sweet" 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3
"Sta\ s\\ eet" 0 1 7 i0 I 0 1 3
"Double Sweet" 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3
"West Coast C.A
SuIpeils\\eet (0 0 0 ( 1 12 ( ( I 3
"Silver and Gold" 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3
"S\\eet Sue" I ii 0 0 0 0 1 3
"Sugar enhanced
varieties" 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 1 3
a All percentages are based upon the numbers of firms within the respective categories, i.e. there were 10
small, 14 medium, 8 large, and 7 very large firms for a total of 39.
b Varieties mentioned by respondents are verbatim and obtained via unaided recall questioning.
c Six of the very large firms, representing $135.5 billion in sales, mentioned Southern Supersweet
preference. Four large firms, with combined sales of $26.7 billion also expressed preference for Southern
Supersweet.


All four firm size categories recognized the superior sweetness of the Southern

Supersweet variety, and other positive traits mentioned include improved flavor, taste,

early availability, quality, lack of starchiness and length of shelf life (Table 8).









Table 8. Respondents' Reasons for Sweet Corn Variety Preference, Comments by Firm
Size.

Size of Firm, Comments a
Variety Preference

Very Large
.Si/nli/W i Supersweet: flavor(2); quality; always sweet; stable shelf life; stays sweet
longer

Large
Silver Queen: name recognized as premium sweet
.Snlh'i I Supersweet: holds sugar longer; taste(2); best overall flavor
Double Sweet: high sugar
West Coast (CA Supersweet): sweeter corn, larger

Medium
.Snl/hi II Supersweet: excellent eating; early; much greater shelf stability; sweeter;
keeps well
Sugar-Enhanced Varieties: sweeter
Staysweet: sweet, tastes better
Silver and Gold: highest sugar, best flavor

Small
.Snlh'/i II Supersweet: consumer demand; stays sweet; does not turn to starch;
sweetness
Kandy Korn: consumer demand
Sweet Sue: local preference

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.


An impressive 41 percent, or 16 of the 39 firms claimed no improvements were necessary

to the basic fresh sweet corn product originating from the Florida-Georgia production

areas (Table 9). Nearly one-third of the retailers suggested improvements in product

quality, specifically improved sweetness, flavor, shelf-life, larger ears, consistent fill and

green shucks. Three firms requested improvements in quality of pack issues, such as

consistent size of ears and accurate ear count. Supply issues, especially improved

dependability in product supply and increased volume, were also highlighted by three









firms. An additional three firms would like to see wire-bound crates eliminated and a

smaller, half-size crate offered to retailers. Finally, five percent of firms discussed the

need for increased promotional efforts originating from the Southern Supersweet Corn

Council.


Table 9. Produce Buyers' Suggested Changes for the Basic Product (the Corn Itself), by
Firm Size.

Firm Size,
Suggestions Number Percent

Very Large (N) ()
None 4 57
Increase white corn supply 1 14
Continue improvement in flavor,
sweetness 1 14
Promote bi-colora 1 14

Large
None 2 25
Get out of wirebound crates 1 12
Hold sugar longer 2 25
Increase barrel size, bigger ears 2 25
Avoid skips in supply 1 12
Enhance sweetness 2 25
Strict cooling practices 1 12

Medium
None 5 36
Reduce cost 1 12
Get away from wooden crates 1 12
Use smaller packages(i.e. /2 crate) 1 12
Have consistent size, number of ears in
crate 1 12
Have consistent fill, less crooked lines 1 12
Continued.












Table 9. Continued.


Firm Size,
Suggestions Number Percent
Medium continued. (N) ()
Grow varieties with green shuck 1 12
Grow varieties with larger ears 1 12
Strive for highest sugar, best flavor 1 12
Do more consumer marketing in
consumer magazines 1 12

Small
None 5 50
Uniform pack count 1 10
Consistent quality, have it pre-packed 1 10
Stable supplies 1 10

All Firms (Summary)
None 16 41
Product quality issues, e.g., improved
sweetness, flavor, shelf-life, bigger
ears, consistent fill, green shuck 12 31
Quality of pack, i.e., consistent size,
count 3 8
Supply issues more volume,
dependable supplies 3 8
Container issues, i.e.,a eliminate
wirebound, offer smaller 12 crate. 3 8
Promotion issues, i.e.,a increase
promotion 2 5
a These suggestions obviously do not deal with the product itself, but they are left in because this question
was one of the first to afford an opportunity for buyers to offer suggestions for improvement.









Evaluation of Shipping Containers

The following discussion includes summaries of respondents' current and

projected usage and requirements for fresh sweet corn packaging, shipping and storage.

Virtually all stores, or 97.4 percent, store corn in walk-in coolers (the exception was one

small firm that did not know where the corn was stored). The average temperature of

storage facilities was 38.3 F, and a range of 34 50 degrees was given by all firms.

Across firms, only three of the very large and four of the large firms have had first-hand

experience with Returnable Plastic Containers (RPCs) (Table 10). These seven firms

accounted for combined 1999 sales of over $89 billion, or 40 percent of total firms' sales.

None of the 24 medium or small firms had received sweet corn in RPCs. Almost all had

received corn in wire-bound wooden crates, and about three-fourths had received corn in

corrugated boxes.

Table 10. Produce Buyers' Experience With Various Types of Sweet Corn Containers, by
Firm Size.
Firms Having Experience with
Firm Size RPC's Wirebound Corrugated
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 3b 43 7 100 5 71
Large 4b 50 8 100 3 38
Medium 0 0 12 86 12 86
Small 0 0 10 100 9 90
All Firms 7 18 37 95 29 74
a All percentages are based upon the numbers of firms within the respective categories, i.e. there were 10
small, 14, medium, 8 large, and 7 very large firms for a total of 39.
bFour of the very large firms, representing $69.3 billion in sales, claimed experience with RPCs. Three
large firms, with combined sales of $19.8 billion, also have received corn in RPCs.

The very large chains anticipate significant increases in usage of RPCs over the

next five years, increasing from about 14 percent of total in 2000-01 to nearly 44 percent

in the 2005-06 season (Table 11). RPC usage by large firms is projected to increase more









than 55 percent by 2005-06, with very large firms forecasting an additional 29 percent

improvement in RPC usage in five years.

Corrugated box usage was projected to increase for all firm size categories except

for large firms, 80 percent of which anticipated going to RPCs exclusively (Table 13).

Overall usage of corrugated boxes was projected to rise from about 17 percent to 32.5

percent over the next five years.

Increases in RPC and corrugated box usage were projected to come at the expense

of wire-bound crates (Table 12). Overall usage of wire-bound crates was projected to

decline from about 70 percent to less than 24 percent by the 2005-06 season. In

particular, very large, large and medium firms plan to drop wire-bound crate usage by an

average of almost 48 percent within the next five years. Medium firms expect to convert

all incoming sweet corn containers from wire-bound crates to corrugated boxes,

projecting zero usage of RPCs.

Table 11. Current and Projected RPC Usage, by Firm Size.a
Estimated Returnable Plastic Container Usage
Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06
(---------------------------Percent------ ---------)
Very Large 14.2 18.4 43.6
Large 25.3 48.1 80.9
Medium 0.0 2.6 b 0.0
Small 0.0 0.0 6.6
All Firms 13.9 20.3 44.6
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.
b One firm anticipated RPC usage for 2001-02 season, but would not estimate usage for 2005-06.
Thus they were not included in data for 2005-06.









Table 12. Current and Projected Wirebound Crate Usage, by Firm Size.
Estimated Wirebound Crate Usage
Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06
(---------------------------Percent------ ---------)
Very Large 66.1 61.8 21.1
Large 73.2 50.2 19.1
Medium 78.9 60.8 34.4
Small 95.5 89.4 75.4
All Firms 69.2 61.0 23.8
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.


Table 13. Current and Projected Corrugated Box Usage, by Firm Size.
Estimated Corrugated Box Usage
Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06
(---------------- -Percent------ ---------)

Very Large 19.8 19.8 35.4
Large 1.5 1.7 0.0
Medium 21.1 36.5 65.6
Small 4.5 10.6 18.6
All Firms 16.9 18.8 32.5
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.


Retailers using the various types of containers were asked to rate the key

attributes, such as protection of fresh sweet corn from bruising, ability of crate to allow

for immediate cooling, handling ease and safety at the retail level, suitability for display,

ease of return or disposal, and overall satisfaction (Table 14). A rating scale of zero to

ten was offered to respondents to grade these crate attributes, where zero represents

extremely poor and a score of ten indicates excellent performance.









Table 14. Produce Buyers' Ratings of Selected Container Attributes of RPCs, Wirebound
Crates, and Corrugated Boxes.
Type of Container
Attribute RPC Wirebound Corrugated
(------------------Average ratings ------ -------)
Protection from bruising 6.9 5.1 7.5
Allows quick cooling 8.2 6.9 5.7
Ease of handling (by retailers) 8.4 4.9 7.1
Suitability for display 7.9 2.4 4.8
Ease of return/disposal 7.0 2.8 5.9
O\veirll satisfaction 4 4- 6
a Attributes were rated on a zero to 10 scale where zero was defined as "very poor" and 10 was "excellent".


In general, wire-bound crates received the lowest ratings, achieving an overall

satisfaction score of merely 4.4 out often. RPCs received the highest ratings on all of the

described attributes, with the exception of bruising protection, where corrugated boxes

prevailed. Corrugated boxes claimed the second rated preference overall, with an overall

score of 6.6; although many handlers found the box easy to handle and relatively safer, it

poor score of 4.8 as a suitable display container left it behind the overall higher-ranked

RPCs.

Firms using RPCs, while few, generally liked them very much, citing better pre-

cooling, easier handling, labor and time efficient, and possessed of preferred display

qualities (Table 15). RPC disadvantages include concerns about pack size, potential

increased retailer costs, and container size as it relates to display issues (Table 16).

Although several very large and large firms indicated RPCs to be worth a "premium",

most said they were not, and almost all refused to indicate a premium value, claiming the

benefits gained in terms of cost-savings accrued solely on the sellers' behalf (Table 17).










Table 15. Advantages of Returnable Plastic Containers Cited by Respondents by Firm
Size and Response Order.

Size of Firm, a Comments b
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: better pre-cooling; easier handling; time-saver; display better
Secondary Responses: display better; better cooling
Tertiary Responses: less product damage

Large
Primary responses: lower garbage cost; shrinkage control; great for display; improve
quality; cost for disposal is probably less than for wire bound crates
Secondary responses: better for environment; less damage to the product
Tertiary responses: labor saving

aNo medium or small chains had first hand experience with RPCs, therefore they were not asked this
question.
b Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.





Table 16. Disadvantages of Returnable Plastic Containers Cited by Respondents, by Firm
Size and Response Order.

Size of Firm,a Comments b
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: 2.5 RPC too deep for display-#2 is better ergonomically; none(2)

Large
Primary Responses: inconsistent supplies; pack size is a concern; cost; freshness;
none
Secondary Responses: ice may not drain correctly; handling difficulty(2)
Tertiary Responses: if they add to product cost, then will not use

aNo medium or small chains had first hand experience with RPCs, therefore they were not asked this
question.
b Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.









Table 17. RPC Users' Response to the Question "Are RPCs Worth a Premium to the
Typical Retail Firm?", by Firm Size.
Are RPCs Worth a Premium?
Firm Sizea Yes No
(-----------------Number of Firms-----------)
Very Large 1 2
Large 2 2
a No "Medium" or "Small" chains had first-hand experience with RPCs, therefore they were not asked this
question.


While all firms are projecting an average 45 percent decrease in wire-bound crate

usage within the next five seasons, several firms mention positive attributes including

ease of use, ability to stack and recycle, and good cooling of the corn (Table 18). The

generally pervasive dislike of wire-bound crates is due to damage inflicted on the corn,

injuries to workers, poor display qualities, and disposal problems (Table 19).









Table 18. Advantages of Wire Bound Crates Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
Response Order.

Size of Firm, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: none; they keep corn wet; ease of cooling the corn(4); ease of
loading on trucks
Secondary Responses: ease of cooling

Large
Primary Responses: none; less cost for shipper; pre-ice allows drainage; keeps cost
down; corn can breathe; less shrink than RPCs; ease of cooling
Secondary Responses: decent for display; visibility

Medium
Primary Responses: none(4); shipping and handling ease; getting more corn on truck;
easy to hydrate; easier ice drainage; ease of cooling corn(3);

Small
Primary Responses: none; ease of use; good cooling(4); best options; easy to handle;
cooling and top icing; retail display
Secondary Responses: stackable(2); good breathing(2); better protection; easy to
dispose; also recyclable to farmers
Tertiary Responses: count, size better

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.









Table 19. Disadvantages of Wire Bound Crates Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
Response Order.

Size of Firm, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: bruises product; waste management; danger at stores-wires and
splinters cause injuries; safety factors; can't display; handling is hazardous; disposal
difficult and costly
Secondary Responses: hard to stack; difficult cooling; disposal(2); condition of
crates-sharp edges, splinters
Tertiary Responses: cannot display; cost of disposal

Large
Primary Responses: old world; high cost of disposal; dirty; unsturdy crates can
damage corn (2); disposal(2); damage to corn
Secondary Responses: too much waste; does not display well; hard to open; disposal
Tertiary Responses: injuries from handling; tears clothes/fingernails

Medium
Primary Responses: expense of disposal; many disadvantages; lack of stability;
disposal; lack of stacking ability on pallet; lack of protecting product integrity;
injuries due to handling(2); damage to product(2); drying of product; handling can be
difficult at times
Secondary Responses: corn is easily damaged; awkward for stacking; handling
hazardous; pallets fall; not very protective of corn; difficult to handle; bruising
Tertiary Responses: difficult to break down; looks unsanitary

Small
Primary Responses: none; damage to the corn(5); display negative; injuries from
wire; air drying shucks; inconsistent counts of ears packed
Secondary Responses: injury to handlers; splinters; moisture loss-dry shucks; poor
display

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.




Ease of cooling, hydration, breath-ability and handling benefits are the

overwhelming positive attributes for use of corrugated boxes (Table 20). Yet it is these









same preferences that cause the major disadvantages of instability, tendency to collect

dirt, and problems with waste management (Table 21).


Table 20. Advantages of Corrugated Boxes Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
Response Order.

Size of Firm, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: none; less bruising; disposal easier; safer handling; protects
product better
Secondary Responses: better cooling; display advantage
Tertiary Responses: ease of handling and shipping out to stores with other boxes

Large
Primary Responses: ease of display if cardboard is European; second choice after
RPCs; eliminates damage to corn; protects product better
Secondary Responses: efficiency of display because they stack better; holds moisture
in better

Medium
Primary Responses: protection of product; sturdiness protects corn; easier to use;
handling; transports well; stacking; protects integrity of product; may hold and
protect corn better; easier to handle and display; product keeps its freshness
and moisture; handling ease(2)
Secondary Responses: lighter for handling; easier disposal; protects the product; looks
more sanitary; better for products
Tertiary Responses: lower injuries; no wires, no icing

Small
Primary Responses: easier storage; less damage to product(4); ease of handling;
moisture control; displays better
Secondary Responses: protection of product; easier handling in store(2)
Tertiary Responses: protection of product

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.









Table 21. Disadvantages of Corrugated Boxes Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and
Response Order.

Firm Size, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: none(2); wax precludes recycling; corn not as fresh; boxes fall
apart
Secondary Responses: cost of freight is higher than wire bound; product is damaged
by falling out

Large
Primary Responses: waxed, cannot recycle; poor structural integrity; only a problem
if waxed; weak cartons can damage corn; less efficient cooling

Medium
Primary Responses: none; disposal(2); if wet, they fall apart; leaks water and ice; if
box is not correct size it becomes difficult to stack on pallet, i.e. so pallet does not fall;
less on truck; fall apart; poor cooling(2); holds more heat; boxes don't hold shape at
times
Secondary Responses: can't recycle

Small
Primary Responses: none(2); corn gets soggy if too much ice put into the box; poorer
cooling(2); slick-hard to pick up; useless after empty; corn doesn't get to breathe;
does not display well

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.



Only one user of RPCs was willing to give a disposal/return cost estimate, and his

estimate was 0.10 cents per container. Disposal cost estimates were identical, averaging

0.19 cents per container and ranging from zero to 0.75 cents each (Table 22).









Table 22. Produce Buyers' Disposal/Return Cost Estimates for Various Types of
Containers.

Type of Container Number of Estimates Range Average
(----------------Dollars----------- -)
RPC 1 N.A. 0.10
Wirebound 7 0.0 0.75 0.19
Corrugated 9 0.0 0.75 0.19


In summary, respondents were asked for suggested changes to fresh sweet corn

shipping containers and packaging, and sixty-nine percent responded with ideas for

improvement (Table 23). Reflecting their preference for RPCs, very large and large

firms asked for safe, clean, display-friendly crates that benefited the product without

incurring any additional costs to retailers. Several also mentioned the need for consistent

crate size and pack. Various specific recommendations were noted: some requested a

shucked tray of 4-5 ears pre-packed by the shippers representing 5 10 percent of

shipped volume, others preferred the #2 size over the #2.5 size for display purposes. The

preference for corrugated boxes among the small and medium firms was also re-

emphasized in the suggestions, as these retailers also desire to move to safer, display-

ready boxes.









Table 23. Suggested Changes to Containers and Packaging, Comments by Firm Size and
Response Order.

Firm Size, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: ship in RPCs; use slush-iced corrugated containers; safe open
crate made of material that won't injure and won't allow product to dry out; none-
changing packaging increases consumer cost; use display-friendly packing that cools
as well as wire crates; be more consistent in the quantity per crate, or use the
equivalent-size crate
Secondary Responses: prefer #2 over #2.5s

Large
Primary Responses: none(2); go to RPCs as soon as possible; use RPCs 100%; receive
100% of FL-GA sweet corn in WBC, and greater than 90% in WBC from all other
sweet corn suppliers-suggest not twisting WBC and stacking crates better, using more
CHEP pallets to minimize damage; free-packing shucked tray of 4-5 ears, maybe 5-
10% of shipped volume; need to have consistent crate size and pack; better protection
for corn
Secondary Responses: RPC units are probably right way to go, however growers
seem resistant

Medium
Primary Responses: none(4); don't ship in wirebound crates, use waxed boxes with
slush ice; use cardboard for packing; stop using wirebound crate;
transport iceless in some sort of cardboard; would like to see more corrugated wax
box; go with new display-ready corrugated boxes; make sure there are uniform counts
in boxes; use more corrugated boxes(2); use stronger material for corrugated boxes
Secondary Responses: use /2 crate size; use iceless boxes
Tertiary Responses: put growers name on boxes

Small
Primary Responses: none(5); something in between wire-bound and corrugated boxes;
lighter packaging; switch to corrugated, wax boxes; uniform size to accommodate
same size; better containers for display

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate numbers of
buyers giving similar responses.









Retailers' In-store Merchandising and Promotion Practices

This section describes the merchandising practices retailers enforce in their store

locations, and includes in-depth responses concerning promotional practices specific to

fresh sweet corn throughout the year. When not featured, or on-advertisement, 72

percent of sweet corn is sold bulk unshucked, just over 25 percent is sold partially

shucked in tray packs, and only 2 percent is sold completely shucked in tray packs (Table

24). Large firms present the majority of off-ad, bulk, unshucked product, offering more

than 86 percent in this form, which is more than twice that of small firms, which carry

nearly 39 percent in this non-packaged format. In total, small firms present a unique

finding, where nearly 62 percent of all sweet corn sales are tray packed, either partially or

completely shucked, when the product is not featured.

Table 24. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Not Featured.
Packaging Method
Bulk, Unshucked Tray Pack, Tray Pack,
Firm Size Partially Shucked Completely Shucked
(-------------------Percenta-- ----)
Very Large
Weighted average 69.6 27.5 2.9
Range 1 90.0 10 90.0 0 5.0
Large
Weighted average 86.1 10.6 3.4
Range 50 100.0 0 50.0 0 10.0
Medium
Weighted average 73.1 24.6 2.3
Range 0- 100.0 0- 100.0 0- 20.0
Small
Weighted average 38.6 42.5 19.0
Range 0 90.0 0 95.0 0 90.0
All Firms
Weighted average 72.3 25.3 2.4
Range 0- 100.0 0- 100.0 0- 90.0
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.









When featured on-ad, on average across firms, over 90 percent is sold bulk,

unshucked, less than eight percent is sold partially shucked in tray packs, and only one

percent is completely shucked in tray packs (Table 25). Interestingly, medium and small

firms still offer 19.3 and 17.9 percent, respectively, tray packed and either partially or

completely shucked when sweet corn is on-ad.

Table 25. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Featured.
Packaging Method
Bulk, Unshucked Tray Pack, Tray Pack,
Firm Size Partially Shucked Completely Shucked
(------------Percent a---------ercent---)
Very Large
Weighted average 91.0 7.0 0.8
Range 70 95.0 2 30.0 0 5.0
Large
Weighted average 96.1 1.7 2.3
Range 90- 100.0 0- 10.0 0- 10.0
Medium
Weighted average 80.7 17.2 2.1
Range 20- 100.0 0- 100.0 0- 20.0
Small
Weighted average 82.1 15.1 2.8
Range 50 100.0 0 50.0 0 10.0
All Firms
Weighted average 91.3 7.6 1.2
Range 20- 100.0 0- 100.0 0- 20.0
a All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive
Grocer's 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.

When not featured on ad, 95 percent of all firms use refrigerated displays (Table

26). However, when sweet corn is featured or advertised, over two-thirds (86 percent of

very large firms) use unrefrigerated displays (Table 27). Thus, there may be some

product deterioration during advertised periods, especially in stores with relatively low

sales volume.












Table 26. Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Not Featured, by Firm Size.
Type of Display
Firm Size Refrigerated and mist Refrigerated only Unrefrigerated
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 4 57 3 43 0 0
Large 5 71 2 29 0 0
Medium 8 57 4 29 2 14
Small 5 56 4 44 0 0
All Firms 22 59 13 35 2 5
a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses
from 7 very large, 7 large, 13 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 37. One respondent from a small
firm did not know what type of display was used for non-featured periods. Totals may not sum to 100.0 due
to rounding.


Table 27.Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Featured, by Firm Size.
Type of Display
Firm Size Refrigerated and mist Refrigerated only Unrefrigerated
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 0 0 1 14 6 86
Large 2 29 2 29 3 43
Medium 0 0 3 23 10 77
Small 1 10 3 30 6 60
All Firms 3 8 9 24 25 68
a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses
from 7 very large, 7 large, 13 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 37. One medium-sized firm never
features sweet corn. Totals may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding


When not featured or advertised, few firms sell sweet corn directly out of the

shipping containers, regardless of container type (Table 28). Less than five percent of

total sweet corn volume is sold in this manner. However, when corn is featured on-ad,

nearly one-third of total volume is sold directly out of the containers. The largest

differences appear in the very large and large firm categories, where increases of 23 and

53 percent, respectively, occur in total volumes of sweet corn sold out of containers while

featured. Thus, container display qualities are very important during high sales volume

periods.










Table 28. Percentage of Sweet Corn Sold Directly Out of Shipping Crates or Containers,
by Firm Size.


Firm Size


Very Large
Weighted average b
Simple average
Range
Large
Weighted average b
Simple average
Range
Medium
Weighted average b
Simple average
Range
Small
Weighted average b
Simple average
Range
All Firms
Weighted average b
Simple average
Range


Percentages Sold Directly Out of Shipping Containers
When Not Featured When Featured


(-------------------Percenta---- --)

5.4 28.2
2.9 28.6
0 -20.0 0 60.0

3.6 61.8
3.6 55.7
0-10.0 0-100.0

0.6 9.9
0.7 11.9
0- 10.0 0-75.0

2.1 13.9
2.0 15.0
0- 10.0 0-60.0

4.6 31.0
2.0 24.2
0 -20.0 0- 100.0


a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses
from 7 very large, 7 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms, for a total of 38 firms.
b All percentages are weighted by responding firms' 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer's 2001
Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution.


A wide variety of produce items are typically merchandised alongside sweet corn

in most stores. Green beans, potatoes, "greens", "cooking vegetables", "hard" vegetables

such as broccoli and carrots and many others were mentioned, regardless of

advertisement status of fresh sweet corn or firm size category (Tables 29 and 30). Many

of the items mentioned require far more cooking time relative to fresh sweet corn. Future

positioning of sweet corn with items considered "quick-cooking" or convenience dishes

may be advantageous.









Table 29. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Not Featuring Sweet
Corn, by Firm Size.

Firm Size Comments a


Very Large
Green beans(3); other wet rack items; various vegetables(3); squash; potatoes; red
potatoes

Large
Beans; different in each store-use European look, table with cauliflower, artichoke,
tomatoes in summer; cooking vegetables(3); vegetable items; leaf lettuce; varies by
season; asparagus; cauliflower

Medium
Green beans(3); various garden vegetables; other vegetables(2); none[free standing
display]; cooking vegetables; red potatoes; tomatoes(3); cooking greens; carrots; new
potatoes; peppers; baking potatoes(2); potatoes(2); roots; hard vegetables, i.e. broccoli
and carrots; mushrooms

Small
Other cooking vegetables(4); green beans; between greens; hard vegetables; squash;
mini carrots; various vegetables; broccoli crowns

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.









Table 30. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Featuring Sweet Corn
by Firm Size.

Firm Size Comments a


Very Large
Green beans(2); seasonal items; squash; potatoes

Large
By itself(2); cooking vegetables; potatoes

Medium
Green beans(3); garden vegetables(2); baking potatoes(2); tray packs; new
potatoes(2); tomatoes(4); carrots; various vegetables; peppers; onions; potatoes(2);
mushrooms; none(2)

Small
Melons; carrots; vidalia onions; other cooking vegetables; by itself;
baking potatoes; peppers; cantaloupes; onions(3)
a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.


Non-produce product tie-ins were fairly predictable: heavy on butter, squeeze

butter/margarine, salt, corn skewers, spices, and grilling items (Table 31). Some of these

items may afford an opportunity for cooperative promotional activities.









Table 31. Non-Produce Tie-ins Successfully Sold with Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.

Size of Firm Comments a


Very Large
Butter; corn skewers (4); squeeze margarine; squeeze
butter (3); salt; kettles

Large
Corn boils; skewers; prongs; sweet butter; butter (2); spices (2); salt (2); grilling items;
foil or foil pouches

Medium
Parkay; corn skewers (4); corn soakers; grilling equipment; meat; butter (4);
salt (4); crawfish; squeeze butter; charcoal; roasting pots; squeeze margarine

Small
Corn skewers (5); butter(4); margarine; grills; roasting kits; salt (2)

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.


Survey respondents were queried as to their past usage of several specific point-

of-sale materials. For each activity used, retailers were asked to subjectively describe

whether it was very effective, somewhat effective, or not effective in promoting fresh

sweet corn for their stores (the results are listed in Tables 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44 and

46). In particular, price cards, recipes, and nutritional brochures were some of the most

widely used materials. Radio and television spots were also used by about 40 50

percent of all firms. However, price cards provided by outside marketing coalitions have

limited appeal, as some firms have unique size and style requirements. For in-depth

analyses of the number of firms claiming promotional activities to be very or somewhat

effective, actual total numbers of stores and sales are provided in Tables 33, 35, 37, 39,

41, 43 and 45.









Table 32.


Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Demonstrations/Sampling for Sweet Corn, by
Firm Size


Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 1 a 1 0 5
Large 1 3 0 3
Medium 0 1 0 13
Small 1 1 0 8
All Firms 3 8 6 16 0 0 29 76
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 33. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of In- Store Demonstration/Sampling "Very
Effective" or "Somewhat Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
------------------Number---------------- (-------Billions $------)
Very Large 2 2716 51.9
Large 4 883 24.4
Medium 1 125 1.6
Small 2 263 1.0
All Firms 9 3987 78.9



Table 34. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Videotapes for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 1 a 0 -1 5
Large 0 0 -1 6
Medium 0 0 0 14
Small 0 0 0 10
All Firms 1 3 1 3 0 0 29 76
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.









Table 35. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of In-Store Videotapes "Very Effective" or
"Somewhat Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number--------------- (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 1 1016 16.0
Large 0 0 0
Medium 0 0 0
Small 0 0 0
All Firms 1 1016 1600



Table 36. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Radio Spots for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 0 a 3 3 1
Large 1 3 -1 2
Medium 3 5 0 6
Small 1 1 0 8
All Firms 7 18 10 26 1 3 21 55
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 37. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Radio Spots "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number------------------ -) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 3 3630 62.2
Large 4 847 24.1
Medium 8 3183 13.9
Small 2 72 1.5
All Firms 17 7732 101.7









Table 38. Past Use and Ratings of TV Spots for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 2 a 1 0 4
Large 4 0 -1 2
Medium 0 1 0 13
Small 1 1 0 8
All Firms 12 32 2 5 1 3 23 61
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 39. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of TV Spots "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 3 4780 89.1
Large 4 550 12.5
Medium 5 2633 6.9
Small 2 72 1.5
All Firms 14 8335 113.0



Table 40. Past Use and Ratings of Banners/Large Posters for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 1 a 2 0 4
Large 3 0 -1 3
Medium 4 2 0 8
Small 1 3 0 6
All Firms 9 24 7 18 1 3 21 55
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.









Table 41. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Banners/Large Posters "Very Effective" or
"Somewhat Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 3 4670 92.1
Large 3 637 18.2
Medium 6 2657 9.1
Small 4 216 2.7
All Firms 16 8480 122.0



Table 42. Past Use and Ratings of Small Format Price/Case Cards for Sweet Corn, by
Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 2 a 2 0 3
Large 1 2 2 2
Medium 4 3 0 7
Small 2 2 0 6
All Firms 9 24 9 24 2 5 18 47
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 43. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Price/Case Cards "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 4 6166 111.1
Large 3 886 19.5
Medium 7 2764 10.5
Small 4 495 3.3
All Firms 18 10611 144.5









Table 44. Past Use and Ratings of Recipe Cards for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 1 a 1 2 3
Large 1 3 2 1
Medium 1 4 2 7
Small 0 3 -1 6
All Firms 3 8 11 29 7 18 17 45
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 45. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Recipe Cards "Very Effective" or "Somewhat
Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 2 5916 98.5
Large 4 850 19.2
Medium 5 941 9.5
Small 3 199 3.0
All Firms 14 8206 13.02



Table 46. Past Use and Ratings of Nutritional Brochures for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.
Ratings
Very Effective Somewhat Not Effective Did Not Use/
Firm Size Effective Don't Know
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 1 a 0 -1 5
Large 1 3 -1 2
Medium 1 4 -1 8
Small 0 3 2 5
All Firms 3 8 10 26 5 13 20 53
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.









Table 47. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents Rating Use of Nutritional Brochures "Very Effective" or
"Somewhat Effective", by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number--------------------- (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 1 2716 51.9
Large 4 896 20.8
Medium 5 526 7.3
Small 3 240 3.7
All Firms 13 4378 83.6


Survey respondents were asked what kinds of point-of-sale materials supplied by

the sweet corn industry would likely be used. For each activity mentioned, retailers were

asked to subjectively describe whether their firms were very likely, somewhat likely, or

not at all likely in promoting fresh sweet corn for their stores (the results are listed in

Tables 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68). Recipe cards were the most popular,

with interest expressed by 28 of the 39 firms, which represents over 12,000 stores and

$175 billion in sales. Electronic ad slicks were the second most popular item, likely to be

used by 27 firms, which represent about 10, 600 stores and $161.7 billion in total sales.

Hard copy ad slicks were next in popularity, appealing to 24 firms with over 9,000 stores

and sales of $117 billion. For in-depth analyses of the number of firms claiming

promotional activities to be very or somewhat effective, actual total numbers of stores

and sales are provided in Tables 49, 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67 and 69.









Table 48.


Retailers' Likelihood of Using In-Store Videotapes, if Provided by the Sweet
Corn Industry by Firm Size


Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 2 -a 2 2 1
Large 7 0 1 6 0
Medium 14 2 2 10 0
Small 10 2 2 5 1
All Firms 38 6 16 7 18 23 61 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 49. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use In-Store Videotapes,
by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 4 3616 53.4
Large 1 200 4.3
Medium 4 2139 6.0
Small 4 186 2.7
All Firms 13 6141 66.3



Table 50. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Ad Slicks (hard copy), if Provided by the Sweet
Corn Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 2 -a 2 2 1 -
Large 7 1 -4 2 0 -
Medium 14 3 -5 6 0 -
Small 10 4 3 2 1 -
All Firms 38 10 26 14 37 12 32 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.









Table 51. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Ad Slicks (hard
copy), by Firm Size.
Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number---------------- -) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 4 5200 82.6
Large 5 886 19.5
Medium 8 2900 13.0
Small 7 389 4.7
All Firms 24 9375 119.7



Table 52. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Ad Slicks (electronic copy), if Provided by the
Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 4 -a 1 1 1 -
Large 7 2 -4 1 0 -
Medium 14 5 -3 6 0 -
Small 10 4 4 1 1 -
All Firms 38 15 39 12 32 9 24 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 53. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Ad Slicks
(electronic copy), by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number-------------- -) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 5 6900 118.4
Large 6 1023 26.7
Medium 8 2583 12.8
Small 8 432 5.2
All Firms 27 10938 163.1









Table 54.


Retailers' Likelihood of Using Radio Scripts, if Provided by the
Tndustrv bv Firm Size


Sweet Corn


Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 1 -a 2 3 1
Large 7 1 -4 2 0
Medium 14 1 -5 8 0
Small 10 1 -3 4 1
All Firms 38 4 11 14 38 17 46 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 55. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Radio Scripts, by
Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
------------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $------)
Very Large 3 4530 69.5
Large 5 850 19.2
Medium 6 2623 9.0
Small 4 405 2.4
All Firms 18 8108 100.1



Table 56. Retailers' Likelihood of Using TV Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 1 -a 2 3 1
Large 7 2 2 3 0
Medium 14 2 2 10 0
Small 10 1 -1 6 1
All Firms 38 6 16 7 19 22 59 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.











Table 57. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use TV Scripts, by Firm
Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 3 4050 66.4
Large 4 596 14.1
Medium 4 2123 5.7
Small 2 55 1.0
All Firms 13 6824 87.2



Table 58. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Banners/ Posters, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size. b
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 0 -a 2 4 1
Large 7 2 -4 1 0
Medium 14 4 -5 5 0
Small 10 4 -4 1 1
All Firms 38 10 26 15 39 11 29 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.
b Banners/posters" were defined as 2' x 3' or larger.



Table 59. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Banners/ Posters, by
Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 2 2370 49.0
Large 6 1023 26.7
Medium 9 2970 14.8
Small 8 641 5.2
All Firms 25 7004 95.7











Table 60. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Price Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 1 -a 1 4 1
Large 7 0 2 5 0
Medium 14 3 0 11 0
Small 10 5 2 2 1
All Firms 38 9 24 5 13 22 58 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 61. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Price Cards, by
Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number-------------- -) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 2 3616 59.1
Large 2 246 6.2
Medium 3 2137 5.1
Small 7 541 4.5
All Firms 14 6540 74.9



Table 62. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Case Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 1 -a 1 4 1
Large 7 1 1 5 0
Medium 14 2 1 11 0
Small 10 4 2 2 1
All Firms 38 8 22 5 14 22 59 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.









Table 63. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Case Cards, by Firm
Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number-----------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 2 3616 59.1
Large 2 336 7.5
Medium 3 2137 5.1
Small 6 509 3.8
All Firms 13 6598 75.5



Table 64. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Recipe Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 3 a 3 0 1
Large 7 2 -4 1 0
Medium 14 4 -6 4 0
Small 10 3 -3 3 1
All Firms 38 12 32 16 42 8 21 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 65. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Recipe Cards, by
Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number------------- -) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 6 7916 134.4
Large 6 1036 23.1
Medium 10 3140 16.0
Small 6 241 3.4
All Firms 28 12333 176.9









Table 66.


Retailers' Likelihood of Using Display Contests, if Provided by the Sweet Corn
Tndustrv bv Firm Size


Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 1 -a 1 4 1
Large 7 3 -2 2 0
Medium 14 3 4 7 0
Small 10 3 3 2 1
All Firms 38 10 27 10 27 15 41 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.



Table 67. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Display Contests, by
Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(-------------Number---------------- (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 2 1450 23.3
Large 5 736 16.4
Medium 7 2937 10.0
Small 6 449 3.7
All Firms 20 5572 53.3



Table 68. Retailers' Likelihood of Using Nutritional Brochures, if Provided by the Sweet
Corn Industry, by Firm Size.
Likelihood of Use
Very Likely Somewhat Not at all likely Don't Know
Firm Size N Likely
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 3 a 2 1 1
Large 7 1 -5 1 0
Medium 14 3 -6 5 0
Small 10 3 -5 1 1
All Firms 38 10 26 18 47 8 21 2 5
a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small
numbers of observations. Percentages of "All Firms" may not sum to 100 due to rounding.









Table 69. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of
Respondents "Very Likely" or "Somewhat Likely" to Use Nutritional
Brochures, by Firm Size.

Firm Size Firms Stores Sales
(------------Number-------------------) (-------Billions $-----)
Very Large 5 5316 91.3
Large 6 1036 23.1
Medium 9 2975 14.0
Small 8 522 4.9
All Firms 28 9849 133.3


In summary, direct comparisons between retailers' past usage and ratings (Table 70) and

likelihood of usage data should the promotional activity be sponsored by the sweet corn

industry (Table 71) are made available and ranked according to total sales estimates to

allow for budgetary sensitivity analyses.


Table 70. In-store Promotional Materials Rated as Very or Somewhat Effective.

Very/Somewhat Stores Total Sales
Promotional Materials Effective (in billions $)
(---------Number--------------) (----billions$----)
Price Cards/Case Cards 18 10611 144.5
Radio Scripts 17 '732 101 7
Banners/Posters 16 8480 122.0
TV Scripts 14 8335 113 0
Recipe Cards 14 8206 130.2
Nutritional Biochules 13 43"S 836
In-store Demonstration/
Sampling 9 3987 78.9
In-Store Videotapes 1 1016 16.0









Table 71. Promotional Materials Likely to be Used by Retailers.

Very/Somewhat Number of Stores Total Sales
Promotional Materials Likely (in billions $)
(---------Number--------------) (----billions$----)
Recipe Cards 28 12333 176.9
Electronic Ad Slicks 27 10938 163.1
Nutritional Brochures 28 9849 133.3
Hard Copy Ad Slicks 24 9375 119.7
Radio Scripts 18 8408 100.1
Banners/Posters 25 7004 95.7
TV Scripts 13 6824 87.2
Price Cards/ Case Cards 14 6540 74.9
In-store Video Tapes 13 6141 66.3
Display Contests 20 5572 53.3


Other popular activities included banners, posters and radio scripts (Table 72). Very

large and large firms recommended creative displays designed to educate consumers of

the importance of shucking immediately prior to eating to preserve sweet corn freshness.

One small firm suggested placing an in-store shucking bin next to product display for

consumer convenience.

Desired attributes of specified promotional materials sponsored by the sweet corn

industry are included in Table 73. In general, industry-sponsored ad materials tended to

have specific size, color and language requirements. Several retailers recommended the

sweet corn industry partner with other tie-in product companies; for example, joint

advertising with national brand butter marketing group, offering a butter discount coupon

with purchase of sweet corn.











Table 72. Other Retail Promotional Tools Used by Retailers, by Firm Size.

Size of Firm Comments a


Very Large
Creative Displays

Large
Print ads; in house nutrition department, newspaper ad driven; small sign talking to
guests concerning the major issue of preserving product quality by only shucking
immediately before eating

Medium
Nutritional charts; weekly circular

Small
Shucking bin next to display

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.









Table 73. Retailers' Desired Attributes for Selected Promotional Materials.

Materials Comments a


Hard Copy Ad Slicks
Color(2); 4"x5"

Banners/Posters
Variable; 20"x25"; 24"x36"; 22"x28"(2); 8'x3'; 9"x13" up to double that size;
24"x120"; 4"x8"; 3'x4'-bilingual, Spanish/English; 17"x23"; 2'x5'; 2'x3'

Price Cards
7"xl 1"(2); must be approved; 7"xl1" or 1 "x14"; 8"x10"(2); 10"X12"; 3"X5";
5"X7"; 8.5"X11"

Case Cards
7"xl1"; must be approved; 5"x7"(3); 6"x6"; 3"x5"; 8.5"xll"

Recipe Cards
3"x5" or 3"x7" if combined with nutritional brochure; 3"x5"(16); 4"x6" or 3"x5"

Display Contests
Sells product 50-60-70-100 per year can be difficult, i.e. WA cherries, CA soft fruit-
but displays equal sales dollars. Use photos for evaluation, in conjunction with sales
results.

Nutritional Brochures
3"x7" if combined with recipe cards

Other Materials
Shoppers card to target different customers, or direct mailer; Consider coupon in
ad piece, i.e. "buy dozen ears, get 50 cents off national brand butter", or "buy
dozen ears, get free corn skewers" if skewers aren't too expensive in the case of
coupons, not as many are redeemed as may be offered on the product.

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses
indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses.




Factors Affecting Fresh Sweet Corn Advertising

This section includes retailers' responses concerning weather influences, sweet

corn advertising competition, and other factors that affect their sweet corn purchasing









decisions. All firm sizes advertised sweet corn prior to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July

and Labor Day (Table 74). Other dates mentioned included the Easter holidays,

summertime (July and August), Father's Day, Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo and

Canada's Thanksgiving.


Table 74. Particular Dates or Holidays when Sweet Corn is Featured, by Firm Size.

Firm Size Comments a


Very Large
Easter; Memorial Day(5); Labor Day(5); summer holidays; Fourth of July(5); April
first of season

Large
Labor Day(3); early spring after Easter; all summer; Memorial Day(5); Fourth of
July(4); Father's Day; Mother's Day

Medium
Memorial Day(10); Fourth of July(9); do not advertise corn or put on special; as early
as possible in spring; summer holidays; Mother's Day; Easter; Labor Day(8); start of
warm weather; Cinco de Mayo; summer(2); entire months of July and August

Small
Fourth of July(9); Memorial Day(9); Labor Day(8); Thanksgiving-Canada; Father's
Day





When asked about the effects of weather on sweet corn sales in their stores, 84

percent of all firm categories indicated that weather had a direct effect on sales (Table

75). Specifically, warm/good weather was equated with improved sales, and cold/bad

weather depressed sales of fresh sweet corn (Table 76). Some mentioned that consumers

are accustomed to, and may even limit, their purchases of fresh sweet corn to "seasonal",

"cookout" and "holiday" occasions.









Table 75. "Does Weather Affect Sweet Corn Sales in Your Stores?", Responses by Firm
Size.
Responses
Yes Weather Affects No, Weather Does Do Not Know
Firm Size Sales Not Affect Sales
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 5 71 2 29 0 0
Large 7 100 0 0 0 0
Medium 12 86 1 7 1 7
Small 8 80 2 20 0 0
All Firms 32 84 5 13 1 3
a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses
from 7 very large, 7 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 38. One medium-sized firm never
features sweet corn. Percentages may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 76. Effect of Weather on Sweet Corn Sales Mentioned by Respondents, by Firm
Size.

Firm Size Comments a


Very Large
Rain and cold reduce sales(4); sales increase during hot weather; sales are down
during cold weather

Large
Barbecue weather; when hotter and sunnier, sales increase; snowstorms decrease
sales; sales go up when weather improves; weather affects sales a little; the warmer
the better-sales not good when snow is on the ground (Rochester, NY); increased sales
during hot and dry weather; customers used to seasonal; warm equals more holiday
driven

Medium
Rain and cold lowers sales(3); good weather equals good sales; warmer weather
equals better sales(2); hot weather good for sales(2); less sold when weather is
cold(2); warm weather, sunny days produce a lot of cookouts which include corn;
spring warmer, sales go up

Small
When weather is cool, sales are down; sell more in warmer weather; hot weather, nice
means sales are up; nicer weather equals increased sales(2); grilling; sales increase
during hot and sunny weather; sales not good during rainy weather(2); when cold, sell
less
a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.









The decision to advertise sweet corn, however, is not affected by local weather

conditions, according to 61 percent of all respondents (Table 77). Weather effects are

more prevalent in large firms, with 57 percent claiming that warmer weather is the best

time for advertising, while only 29 percent of the very large firms decide not to advertise

based on weather conditions. Retailers' perceive improvement in sweet corn sales due to

product availability, seasonal quality, and the suitability of sweet corn for warmer

weather cooling activities, i.e. outdoor grilling (Table 78).



Table 77. "Do Weather Conditions in your Retail Market Area Play a Role in Your
Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Ad?", Responses by Firm Size.
Responses
Weather Affects Ad Decision Weather Does Not Affect Ad
Firm Size Decision
(N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 2 29 5 71
Large 4 57 3 43
Medium 5 36 9 64
Small 4 40 6 60
All Firms 15 39 23 61
a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses
from 7 very large, 7 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 38. One medium-sized firm never
features sweet corn. Percentages may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding.









Table 78. Effect of Weather on Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Advertisement, by Firm
Size.

Firm Size Comments a


Very Large
Warmer weather is time to advertise; advertise in hot weather

Large
Will put on ad all year; ads are run when warm weather approaches; nice day, rosy,
sunny equals good sales; advertise mid-April through early July because of warmer
weather; warmer weather is good time to advertise corn

Medium
Weather [bad] affects availability; do not advertise corn or put on special; it's
seasonal; will advertise during warmer weather; advertise when sunny; will advertise
more during spring and summer; seasonal heat means more ads.

Small
Never advertise during winter; suitable for grilling; advertise when forecast is hot and
sunny; don't advertise in cold weather

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.



The primary responses across firms indicate that sweet corn competes with all

other produce items for promotional consideration, primarily melons, berries, soft fruits

and cooking vegetables (Table 79). In contrast, three of the large firms claim fresh sweet

corn "stands alone" or has no competition when advertising decisions are made.









Table 79. Produce Items Competing with Sweet Corn for Promotional Consideration, by
Firm Size and Response Order.

Size of Firm, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: cantaloupe; fruit; melons; all produce in high demand-soft fruit,
melon; soft fruits in spring
Secondary Responses: watermelons; berries
Tertiary Responses: stonefruit; berries

Large
Primary Responses: all produce items; most produce; none, stands alone(2)

Medium
Primary Responses: everything(2); grapes(2); cantaloupes; portabellas; strawberries
Secondary Responses: stonefruit(2); grapes; tomatoes
Tertiary Responses: soft fruits; tomatoes, squash

Small
Primary Responses: everything; soft fruits; watermelons(2); strawberries; any similar
cooking vegetables
Secondary Responses: melons; soft fruit; cantaloupes(2)
Tertiary Responses: grapes; tomatoes

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.



Major market conditions, including sweet corn price, quality, and availability,

were mentioned by all firms as the main factors effecting retailers' advertising decisions

(Table 80). Secondary responses include retailer reliance on product information

provided by growers and shippers, which indicates the potential for the sweet corn

industry to directly influence retailer advertising decisions.









Table 80. Other Factors Determining Whether or Not to Put Sweet Corn on
Advertisement, by Firm Size and Response Order.

Firm Size, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Primary Responses: quality(2); volume (lower cost, availability)(6);
Secondary Responses: peak of season; quality
Tertiary Responses: cost

Large
Primary Responses: quality; availability, time of year; availability(2);
seasonality/right price/quality
Secondary Responses: cost(3); grower/shippers have to say the product is right
and the quantity is available
Tertiary Responses: information that there are problems with the suppliers; quality

Medium
Primary Responses: cost(8); based on the market factors; availability of product;
do not advertise corn or put on special(2); consumer desires; quality
Secondary Responses: availability(2); market conditions; quality(2); price
Tertiary Responses: quality

Small
Primary Responses: cost(6); quality(2); availability
Secondary Responses: retail price; time of month; season-spring and summer;
availability; quality(2)
Tertiary Responses: condition/quality of product

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of
buyers giving similar responses.



Finally, retailers were asked how the sweet corn industry can encourage them to

more aggressively feature sweet corn during the late September through early July (Table

81). Improvement of the pricing structure emerged as the number one way producers can

accomplish this goal. Correction of the current wide fluctuations in product prices and

request for future provision of "good ad price" produce were offered as motivations that

would inspire all firms, regardless of size. Also mentioned was the need for advance









notice of an adequate and high quality supply of product, as several felt that shippers

themselves trigger fresh sweet corn sales. From a consumer standpoint, respondents

suggested that by the end of the summer season people are "corned out", and one very

large firm offered the solution of "re-inventing" corn as a staple vegetable. Another

medium firm asked for more pre-packaged, pre-cut, attractively packaged product to

impress consumers.









Table 81. Ways To Get Retailers to Feature or Advertise Sweet Corn More Aggressively
During The Late September Early July Season.
Size of Firm,
Response Order Comments

Very Large
Primary Responses: better quality product(2); keep costs down; keep price down(2);
nothing comes to mind because you need quantity to advertise; adequate supply of
product(2)
Secondary Responses: re-invent corn as a staple food so people will want to eat corn
all year round; keep availability up; promotional pricing

Large
Primary Responses: better communication about production scheduling; lower costs(2);
more consistent pricing from Southern growers on all produce items including sweet
corn, market fluctuations are too high (ranging from $2-$20 from week to week) and
systems cannot move fast enough at the retail level to get rid of inventory; would
advertise corn year-round if quantity/quality was available and if not too pricey,
shippers trigger sales-they need to tell retailers when the product is ready to go, would
not advertise on major holidays as too many other products are on ad, but during any of
the off-weeks would be willing to put sweet corn on ad
Secondary Responses: appropriate quantity and quality to support ads; establish
practices to prevent poor quality products from going out of state

Medium
Primary Responses: better price on corn (10); reduce cost of product, at 63 cents an ear,
difficult to promote; one time per month give us a good ad price so we could run a 4/$1
-5/$1 ad; improve quality(2); produce available at the right price, but consumers really
not interested; sees no dollar "ring up," doesn't sell enough to advertise corn; costs must
be competitive; during the Fall it won't help; people are "corned-out" by late summer-I
suggest more pre-packaged, pre-cut, i.e. attractive packaging
Secondary Responses: improve shipping containers; good availability (2); quality; in
spring, more consistent product in the pack; better price
Tertiary Responses: improve taste

Small
Primary Responses: retail price is what sells corn. To advertise, need a really great price
like 8 ears for $1.98; ad allowances for advertising or discount(3); no ideas; best
possible corn for cheapest price; lower cost equals hot retail; support/advance notice on
pricing; banners-promotions; quality
Secondary Responses: provide consistent count crates with high quality product-
aggressive prices; availability at right price

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of
buyers giving similar responses.









Effectiveness of the Southern Supersweet Identity

This last section concludes the survey with inquiries concerning retailers'

knowledge of sweet corn growers and shippers. As indicated in the discussion of variety

preferences, the trade has a fairly strong partiality for "Southern Supersweet", which they

view as a "variety", not a brand name. This inclination is especially strong among the

very large and large firms. The "Southern Supersweet Corn Council" does not currently

enjoy a broad-based awareness within the trade (Table 82). Only six firms, fifteen

percent of the total, recognized the name. In contrast, ten executives claimed familiarity

with the "American Sweet Corn Assocation" (26 percent) and 14 knew of the "Florida

Federation of Sweet Corn Growers" (36 percent), which is impressive given the fictitious

nature of these supposed organizations. Overall, seven firms (18 percent) said they

recalled receiving promotional materials for "Southern Supersweet Corn" (Table 83). Of

these, three did not remember their impressions of the material, and three found the

information "great", "good" and "okay" (Table 84).









Table 82. Retailers' Awareness of the Southern Supersweet Corn Council and Other
Fictitious Trade Associations by Firm Size.
Indicated Awareness
Trade Association/Firm Size Category Number Percent a
"Southern Supersweet Corn Council"
Very Large 0 0.0
Large 1 12.5
Medium 3 21.4
Small 2 20.0
All Firms 6 15.4
"American Sweet Corn Assn."
Very Large 1 14.3
Large 2 25.0
Medium 4 28.6
Small 3 30.0
All Firms 10 25.6
"Florida Federation of Sweet Corn Growers"
Very Large 4 57.1
Large 2 25.0
Medium 7 50.0
Small 1 10.0
All Firms 14 36.0
"National Sweet Corn Products Co-op"
Very Large 2 28.6
Large 1 12.5
Medium 0 0.0
Small 0 0.0
All Firms 3 7.7
a Percentages based upon the number of respondents in each firm size category. There were 7 very large, 8
large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 39.









Table 83. Retailers' Recall of Having Received Promotional Materials for "Southern
Supersweet Corn", by Firm Size.
Retailers that Recall Having Received Promotional Materials for
Southern Supersweet Corn
Firm Size Number Percent a
Very Large 1 14.3
Large 1 12.5
Medium 3 21.4
Small 2 20.0
All Firms 7 18.0
a Percentages are based upon the number of respondents in each firm size category. There were 7 very
large, 8 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms, for a total of 39.


Table 84. Respondents' Thoughts about "Southern Supersweet Corn" Promotional
Materials, by Firm Size.

Size of Firms, Comments a
Response Order

Very Large
Good, but not useful in stores

Large
Brochures

Medium
Don't remember(2); nutritional information okay, went in store.

Small
No recollection; great

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number
of buyers giving similar responses.




When asked to evaluate "Southern Supersweet Corn" as a trade name, only seven

firms rated it as "very effective"; the same number rated it "moderately effective" and

"slightly effective" (Table 85). Sixteen firms (41 percent) found the name "not at all

effective".









Table 85. Retailers' Evaluation of the Trade Name "Southern Supersweet Corn", by Firm
Size.
Effectiveness Rating
Very Moderately Slightly Not At All No Opinion
Firm Size N Effective Effective Effective Effective
(N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
Very Large 7 1 -a 2 2 2 0
Large 8 0 2 2 3 1
Medium 14 4 1 1 7 1
Small 10 2 2 2 4 0
All Firms 39 7 18 7 18 7 18 16 41 2 5
a Percentages are not shown because of the small numbers of observations in each size category.


Although some respondents made positive comments about the "Southern

Supersweet Corn" brand name, others criticized it for the "southern" connotation (Table

86). "Supersweet" definitely has positive associations and enjoys a relatively wide

awareness across the nation, for both retailers and consumers, but "Southern" does not

appear to enhance the overall product image (with the exception of those stores located in

the South, i.e. Dallas area).










Table 86. Respondents' Reasons for Effectiveness Ratings of the Trade Name "Southern
Supersweet Corn", by Effectiveness Rating.

Effectiveness Rating Comments a


Very Effective
Supersweet is best; it is already is use and people like it; "Southern" is good in the
Dallas area; supersweet means quality; consumer confidence that corn is sweet; name
is great

Moderately Effective
Catchy; names aren't important; consumers will ask for supersweet variety; brand
name- identifiable; sounds good

Slightly Effective
Plenty of room for growth; "Southern" doesn't really resonate in the Midwest;
good ring

Not at All Effective
Name doesn't help corn!; not recognizable; people buy corn if it is fresh, not by brand;
good stuff on counter is what sells; no impression; customers don't care; too long!;
sweet corn not marketed by name; upper Midwest customers don't relate to
"Southern" but do to "Supersweet"; regional-Northeast; not sufficiently promoted
with materials; sales not related to location; haven't heard of it yet

a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents.









Not one firm expressed a preference for a branded product versus generic sweet

corn (Table 87). Most said there was no difference in profitability. Several did admit

that branded product was slightly more profitable than generic, and one assigned it to be

considerably more. However, two of the respondents claimed branded products were less

profitable. It appears that the trade recognition and appreciation of the "Supersweet"

identity is still too low to command a premium price. In summary, with greater emphasis

on trade communication and promotion, "Supersweet" could quickly evolve into a

premium product with excellent image qualities at the consumer level.



Table 87. Produce Buyers' Evaluations of Profitability of Branded vs. Generic Sweet
Corn, by Firm Size.
Evaluation of Firm Size
Profitability Small Medium Large Very Large All Firms
(N) (%o)a (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%)
No Difference 7 70 10 71 7 88 6 86 30 77
Slightly less
profitable 0 0 1 7 1 12 0 0 2 5
Slightly more
profitable 1 10 1 7 0 0 0 0 2 5
Considerably
more profitable 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 1 3
Do not know 2 20 1 7 0 0 1 14 4 10
Totals 10 100 14 100 8 100 7 100 39 100
a All percentages are based upon the numbers of firms within the respective categories. Totals may not sum
to 100% due to rounding. Percentages are based upon the number of respondents in each firm size category.
There were 7 very large, 8 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms, for a total of 39.









Consumer Survey


Consumer Survey Data Description

This sample is designed to capture differences in the purchase and consumption of

fresh sweet corn across geographic regions and selected socio-demographic

characteristics. The most important of the sample characteristics are geography, race,

education level, income level, age, and household size. Approximately 200 responses

were obtained from each of the following five cities: Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston,

and Philadelphia. The exact number of responses from each city is presented in Table 88.

The sample as a whole consists of 1031 completed phone interviews. Phone numbers

within each city were generated randomly, therefore the sample is representative of the

populations for each of these (and similar) cities, but not necessarily for the United States

as a whole. Each working, randomly-generated telephone number was contacted as many

as six times in an attempt to obtain an interview. Call-back attempts were made at

different times of the day, nights and weekends in order to assure randomness of

respondents.



Table 88. Number of Completed Interviews, by City.
City Number
Dallas 204
Atlanta 200
Chicago 201
Boston 224
Philadelphia 202


Because this sample is designed to reveal the consumption behavior of various

demographic groups some over-sampling occurs. For example, blacks make up 30.8









percent of this sample (Table 89) compared to 12.3 percent of the U.S. population (2000

Census at www.infoplease.com, December, 2001). In order to capture cultural

differences, a new variable that combines race and ethnicity has been generated to

identify Hispanics apart from other racial categories. Under this definition, "Black"

refers to non-Hispanic Black, "White" represents only non-Hispanic Whites, and the

Hispanic category represents those of Hispanic ancestry regardless of their race. The

race/ethnicity variable also has an Asian category, but the 5 American Indians in the

sample and the rest of those in the "Other" racial category (28 respondents) have been

grouped in the White category. Non-Hispanic Blacks account for 27.8 percent of the

sample, non-Hispanic Whites are 59 percent, Hispanics, 10.1 percent, and Asians make

up 3.1 percent (Table 90).



Table 89. Racial Composition of the Total Sample.
Race Number Percent
Black 302 30.78
White 564 57.49
Other 115 11.72



Table 90. Race and Ethnicity of all Respondents.
Race/Ethnicity Number Percent
Black, Non-Hispanic 273 27.83
White, Non-Hispanic 579 59.02
Hispanic, all races 99 10.09
Asian 30 3.06



Educational attainment was classified into two categories, "high school" and

"college". The high school category contains all those with less than a high school

diploma, high school and vocational school graduates. The college category includes all

respondents that have attended or graduated from college. The high school category









accounted for 30.5 percent of the sample, compared to 69.5 percent in the college

category. Households earning at least $70,000 make up the largest income group (28

percent of the sample), followed by households earning between $35,000 and $49,999

(23 percent) and $20,000 to $34,999 (20.9 percent). Households earning less than

$20,000 constituted 12.6 percent of the sample (Table 91).


Table 91. Income Distribution, All Cities.
Income Level a Number Percent
Under $20,000 95 12.57
$20,000 $34,999 158 20.90
$35,000 $49,999 175 23.15
S50(.C,0(, Sti.C.., 116 15 34I
$70,000 and Above 212 28.04



Table 92 Age Categories of Respondents, All Cities.
Age Category Number Percent
65 and Older 146 15.26
50 -64 171 17.87
35 49 263 27.48
18-34 377 39.39


Approximately 40 percent of the sample is between 18 and 34 years of age, while

two-thirds of the respondents are younger than 50 years of age (Table 92). Two-thirds of

the households have no children, while slightly less than half the households (46.5

percent) have exactly two adults (Tables 93 and 94). The mean household size is 2.8

people. The sample contains nearly twice as many females (64.5 percent) as males (35.5

percent).









Table 93. Number of Children Under 18 in Household, All Cities.
Number of Children Number Percent
0 615 66.27
1- 2 229 24.68
3 or More 84 9.05


Table 94. Number of Adults 18 and Older in Household, All Cities.
Number of Adults Number Percent
1 342 33.89
2 469 46.48
3 or More 198 19.62


The cities chosen for this study vary significantly across all the demographic

variables. Income varies significantly across cities; respondents in Boston and Atlanta

have the highest proportion of households with incomes of $70,000 or higher. Thirty-

five percent of households in Boston and 31 percent in Atlanta have incomes above

$70,000 compared to 19 percent in Philadelphia and 26 percent in Dallas. Conversely, 14

percent of households in Philadelphia and 13 percent in Dallas have incomes below

$20,000, compared to 12 percent and 9 percent for Boston and Atlanta. Chicago has the

smallest middle-income group with disproportionately large fractions having incomes

below $20,000 and above $50,000 (Table 95). Since education level is highly correlated

with income, it is not surprising that Boston and Atlanta have the highest fractions of

respondents with at least some college education, while Philadelphia and Dallas have the

highest fractions of respondents whose education stops after high school or vocational

training (Table 96).











Table 95. Respondents' Income Levels, by City.
Income Level
City a Under $20,000 $20,000 $34,999 $35,000 $49,999 $50,000 $69,666 $70,000 and Above
(N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b
Dallas 19 12.7 44 29.5 37 24.8 10 6.7 39 26.1
Atlanta 14 9.1 34 22.1 34 22.1 25 16.2 47 30.5
Chicago 21 15.1 25 18.0 28 20.1 26 18.7 39 28.1
Boston 20 11.9 25 14.9 32 19.0 32 19.0 59 28.1
Philadelphia 21 14.4 30 20.6 44 30.1 23 15.7 28 19.2
Totals 95 12.6 158 20.9 175 23.1 116 15.3 212 28.0
aChi-square probability = 0.0052.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 96. Respondents' Educational Levels, by City.
Education Level
City a High School or Vocational College
(N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b
Dallas 61 30.5 139 69.5
Atlanta 52 26.7 143 73.3
Chicago 58 29.4 139 70.6
Boston 46 21.2 171 78.8
Philadelphia 90 45.7 107 54.3
Totals 307 30.5 699 69.5
aChi-square probability = <0.0001.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.









The five cities also have significantly different racial/ethnicity profiles.

Philadelphia and Atlanta have the highest proportion of blacks in the sample with 40

percent and 37 percent respectively. Boston and Dallas have the highest percentages of

whites in the sample with 72 percent and 67 percent respectively. Fifteen percent of

Chicago's population is Hispanic, twelve percent of Dallas' population is Hispanic, but

only five percent of the Atlanta sample is comprised of Hispanics. The number of Asians

in the sample is small (30 respondents), but they are best represented in Chicago where

they make up 4.6 percent of the population (Table 97).

There is considerable difference in the number of years that respondents have

resided in a particular city. For example, 82 percent of respondents in Philadelphia have

lived there for 16 years or more. Compare this to Boston, where 51 percent have lived

there for at least 16 years, but 30 percent have lived there for less than 6 years. Atlanta

also seems to have a more mobile population, while Chicago has more long-term

residents (Table 98). Given that younger adults tend to be more mobile, it is not

unexpected that Philadelphia and Chicago have relatively fewer young adults and more

residents over 50 years of age (Table 99). In all cities, the largest age category is 18-34

years old, however, in Philadelphia, 39 percent of the residents are over 50 years of age,

and in Chicago 35 percent are over 50. This compares to only 29 percent over 50 years

old in both Boston and Atlanta, where 49 percent and 43 percent respectively, are

between 18 and 34 years old.











Table 97. Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Sample, by City.
---------------------------- Race and Ethnicity ------- ---------
City a Black, Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hispanic Hispanic, all races Asian
(N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b
Dallas 36 17.9 135 67.2 24 11.9 6 3.0
Atlanta 71 37.4 104 54.7 10 5.3 5 2.6
Chicago 58 29.7 99 50.8 29 14.9 9 4.6
Boston 34 16 1 52 2 4 18 8 6 6 2
Philadelphia 74 40.0 89 48.1 18 9.7 4 2.2
Totals 23 27 8 59 59 n 99 10 1 30 1
aChi-square probability = <0.0001.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 98. Number of Years Lived in City, by City.
Years Lived in City
City a 0-5 6- 15 16 or more
(N) (Percent b) (N) (Percent) (N) (Percent)
Dallas 47 23.5 31 15.5 122 61.0
Atlanta 50 25.6 50 25.6 95 48.7
Chicago 32 16.3 26 13.7 138 70.4
Boston 66 30 4 40 184 111 51 2
Philadelphia 17 8.7 19 9.7 160 81.6
Totals 212 21.1 166 16.5 626 62.4
aChi-square probability = <0.0001.
b Percent may not total to 100 due to rounding











Table 99. Age of Respondents, by City.
--------------------------- Age of Respondent -----------------------------
City a 18 to 34 35 to 49 50 -64 65 or older
(N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b
Dallas 63 33.7 61 32.6 32 17.1 31 16.6
Atlanta 81 43.1 53 28.2 29 15.4 25 13.3
Chicago 77 39.9 48 24.9 40 20.7 28 14.5
Boston 100 48.5 46 22.3 36 17.5 24 11.6
Philadelphia 56 30.6 55 30.0 34 18.6 38 20.8
Totals 37- 3 4 7 23 1I 25 1-46 15 3
aChi-square probability = 0.0303.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 100. Number of Children in the Sample Households, by City.
Number of Children
City a 0 1-2 3 or More
(N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b
Dallas 134 66.3 48 23.8 20 9.9
Atlanta 119 75.8 28 17.8 10 6.4
Chicago 114 64.8 44 25.0 18 10.2
Boston 137 70.3 45 23.1 13 6.7
Philadelphia 111 56.1 64 32.3 23 11.6
Totals 615 66.3 229 24.7 84 9.0
aChi-square probability = 0.0206.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.










Table 101. Number of Adults in the Sample Households, by City.
Number of Adults
City a 1 2 3 or More
(N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b
Dallas 75 37.3 98 48.8 28 13.9
Atlanta 78 40.4 83 43.0 32 16.6
Chicago 67 33.5 87 43.5 46 23.0
Bostoin l 27 2 10 43 51 23 5
Philadelphia 63 31.8 94 47.5 41 20.7
Totals 342 339 469 465 198 19 6


aChi-square probability = 0.0601.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.



In general, households are most likely to have two adults (46 percent of all

households in the sample have exactly two adults), and two-thirds of households have no

children. However, the composition of households varies by city. In Philadelphia, 44

percent of households have children, and one quarter of these have more than 3 children.

In Atlanta, on the other hand, 76 percent of households have no children, and 40 percent

have only one adult. Chicago has close to the sample average of children in 35 percent of

households, while Dallas and Boston fall somewhat below that. Chicago and Boston have

the highest proportion of households (23 percent) with 3 or more adults (Tables 100 and

101).









General Sweet Corn Consumption Patterns


In the overall sample, 667 households (67.7 percent) buy sweet corn at least once

a year. The pattern of sweet-corn consumption, however, varies significantly across

nearly every demographic. In general, the proportion of sweet corn buyers increases with

household size, income and education. Middle-aged consumers are more likely to buy

sweet corn than young consumers, and women are slightly more likely to buy than men.

The likelihood of a household buying sweet corn varies significantly among the five

cities. People in Chicago and Philadelphia are most likely to buy sweet corn, with 73.6

percent of respondents and 72.3 percent, respectively, buying sweet corn. Compare this

to a low of 62.2 percent in Dallas and 63.8 percent in Boston (Table 102). The Chi-

square statistic shows that this relationship is significant at the 5 percent level (with an

alpha of 5 percent)1. Consumers in Chicago and Philadelphia also tend to buy more ears

of corn in each purchase. The average number of ears purchased in Philadelphia is 8.0

and in Chicago it is 7.3. In contrast, consumers in Dallas typically buy 5.3 ears of corn in

each purchase (Table 103). Another important component in total sales of sweet corn is

the number of times per year that consumers buy sweet corn. Briefly, consumers in

Philadelphia buy sweet corn more frequently than do consumers in other cities, but those

in Chicago do not. However, because this variable varies considerably by season, it is

discussed in detail in a following section.


1 The reported Chi-square value in Table c16 is a p-value of 0.0492, which

indicates that the observed pattern might occur randomly 4.92 percent of the time. Thus,
the confidence interval for this table is greater than 95 percent, and we can say it is
significant with an alpha of 5% or at the 5% level.









Table 102. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn by City.
Does Household purchase Sweet Corn?
City Yes No
(N) (Percent) (N) (Percent)b
Dallas 127 62.2 77 37.8
Atlanta 133 66.8 66 33.2
Chicago 148 73.6 53 26.4
Boston 143 63.8 81 36.2
Philadelphia 146 72.3 56 27.7
Totals b 697 67.7 333 32.3
aChi-square probability =0.0771.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 103. Average Number of Sweet Corn Ears Purchased Each Time, by City.
City a Average Number of Ears Purchased
Dallas 5.3
Atlanta 6.3
Chicago 7.3
Boston 6.8
Philadelphia 8.0
All Cities o _


Race and ethnicity do not have a statistically significant effect on whether or not

consumers' buy sweet corn, on an overall basis, but there are significant seasonal

purchase differences. It is worth noting that Asians are much less likely than those in

other races to buy sweet corn (Table 104).

Education level and income level both are statistically significant determinants of

the decision to buy sweet corn. The Chi-square statistic shows that education is

significant at the five percent level, and income at the one percent level. Of those in the









Table 104. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity.
Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Race/Ethnicity Yes No
(N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a
Black, Non-Hispanic 188 68.9 85 31.1
White, Non-Hispanic 402 69.4 177 30.6
Hispanic, all races 66 67.3 32 32.6
Asian 15 50.0 15 50.0
Totals 671 68.5 309 31.5
a Chi-square probability = 0.1671.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

Table 105. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Level of Education.
Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Education Level a Yes No
(N) (Percent)b (N) (Percent)b
High School, or
Vocational 198 64.7 108 35.3
College 492 70.4 207 26.6
Totals 690 68.7 315 31.3
a Chi-square probability = 0.0414.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


"college" category 70.4 percent buy sweet corn versus 64.7 percent of those in the "high

school" category (Table 105). Similarly, the level of income directly affects the

proportion of consumers who buy sweet corn. Of those earning less than $20,000, 57.8

percent buy sweet corn. The proportion increases consistently with income to where 82.5

percent of households with income over $70,000 buy sweet corn (Table 106).

There are large age differences among those who buy sweet corn. Approximately

80 percent of those between 35 and 64 years of age buy sweet corn. Only 56.5 percent of

those between 18 and 34 years of age buy sweet corn, while 62.3 percent of those 65 and

older buy it (Table 107). This relationship is also significant at the 99 percent level of

confidence.









Table 106. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Income Level.
Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Income Level a Yes No
(N) (Percent)b (N) (Percent)b
Under $20,000 55 57.8 40 42.1
$20,000- $34,999 96 60.8 64 39.2
$35,000 $49,999 123 70.3 52 29.7
$50,000 $69,000 89 76.7 27 23.3
$70,000 and Above 175 82.5 37 17.4
Totals 538 71.2 218 28.8
aChi-square probability = <0.0001.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 107. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Age of Respondent.
Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Age of Respondent a Yes No
(N) (Percent)b (N) (Percent)b
18-34 213 56.5 164 43.5
35-49 209 79.9 53 20.2
50-64 140 81.9 31 18.1
65 and Older 91 62.3 55 37.7
Totals 653 68.3 303 31.7
aChi-square probability = <0.0001.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Household size is associated with the decision to buy sweet corn. Households

with only one adult and households with no children buy corn 61 percent and 64.5

percent of the time, respectively. On the other hand, more than 71 percent of households

with two or more adults buy corn, and over 76 percent of households with children buy

sweet corn (Tables 108 and 109). These relationships also are significant at the 99

percent level of confidence. Gender is also a significant factor in the decision to buy

sweet corn, with 69.8 percent of women buying sweet corn, versus 63.8 percent of men

(Table 110).









Table 108. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Number of Adults in Household.
Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Number of Adults a Yes No
(N) (Percent b) (N) (Percent)
1 208 61.0 133 39.0
2 338 72.0 131 27.9
3 or More 141 71.2 57 28.8
Totals 687 68.1 321 31.8
aChi-square probability = 0.0002.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

Table 109. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Number of Children Under 18 in
Household.
Number of Children Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Under 18 a Yes No
(N) (Percent)b (N) (Percent)b
0 397 64.5 218 35.4
1-2 177 77.3 52 22.7
3 or More 64 76.2 20 23.8
Totals 638 68.8 290 31.2
aChi-square probability = 0.0006.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


Table 110. Households' Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Gender.
Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn?
Gender a Yes No
(N) (Percent)b (N) (Percent)b
Male 233 63.8 132 36.2
Female 464 69.8 201 30.2
Totals 697 67.7 333 3203
aChi-square probability = 0.0513.
b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.


The most-commonly cited reason for not buying corn is that the respondent does

not like the taste. Thirty percent of all those who do not buy sweet corn gave taste as the

reason (Table 111). Twenty-two percent were concerned with the amount of preparation

time or inconvenience, with an additional seven percent bothered by the messiness. Eight

percent were concerned by a lack of freshness, while seven percent do not cook, and

seven percent prefer canned or frozen corn. Dental concerns were cited by five percent as









a reason not to buy sweet corn, with a majority of these in the oldest age group. Price is

not an important consideration for non-buyers. Only three percent of respondents

mentioned a high price as a reason not to buy sweet corn.


Table 111. Reasons Respondents Do Not Buy Sweet Corn.
Reason Number Percenta
Don't Like Taste 96 30
Prep Time Incon\ enient 71 22
Other 57 18
Not Fresh 27 8
Do not Cook 23 7
Prefer Canned or Frozen 22 7
Too Messy 21 7
Dental Problems 16 5
Not available 15 5
Goes Bad 14 4
Health, Allergy 12 4
Don't Eat/Buy It 12 4
Texture, Starchy 11 3
Price Too High 10 3
Health, calories 10 3
Damaged 7 2
Pack Too Large 4 1
Don't Know How Cook 4 1
a Percentages are based on 321 respondents who do not buy corn.


Price of fresh sweet corn. Respondents that buy sweet corn for their households

were asked "In your opinion, what is a fair price for fresh sweet corn on the cob?" The

price considered to be fair by those who do buy corn, averaged $0.28 per ear (Table 112).

Overall, 25.5 percent of those who buy corn said that a fair price per ear would be

between $0.25 and $0.29 (Table 113). As many consumers were willing to pay between

$0.50 and $0.59 per ear as were willing to pay $0.20 to $0.24 per ear (11.9 and 11.7

percent, respectively).




Full Text

PAGE 1

i Market Development Strategies for Fresh Sweet Corn Based Upon Consumer and Trade Surveys A Research Report Submitted to the Southern Supersweet Corn Council December 13, 2001 By Dr. Robert L. Degner Kimberly L. Morgan Chris deBodisco Dr. Lisa House INDUSTRY REPORT 01-1 The Florida Agricultural Market Research Center University of Florida

PAGE 2

i TABLE OF CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY............................................................................................III LIST OF TABLES.........................................................................................................XV LIST OF FIGURES.....................................................................................................XXI INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................1 OBJECTIVES.....................................................................................................................2 PROCEDURES...................................................................................................................2 FINDINGS.........................................................................................................................5 The Retailer Survey.....................................................................................................5 Evaluation of the Basic Product..............................................................................6 Evaluation of Shipping Containers.......................................................................13 Retailers’ In-store Merchandi sing and Promotion Practices................................25 Factors Affecting Fresh Sw eet Corn Advertising.................................................48 Effectiveness of the Southe rn Supersweet Identity..............................................57 Consumer Survey......................................................................................................63 Consumer Survey Data Description......................................................................63 General Sweet Corn Consumption Patterns..........................................................72 Seasonality of Sweet Corn Consumption.............................................................89 Consumers’ Evaluation of Packaging T ype, Shucking Location and Refrigeration ............................................................................................................................... 99 Other Factors Affecting Sweet Corn Pu rchases: Store Type and Advertising Exposure.............................................................................................................107 At-Home Storage of Fresh Sweet Corn..............................................................114 Cooking Methods for Fresh Sweet Corn............................................................118 Complements Served with Fresh Sweet Corn....................................................121

PAGE 3

ii

PAGE 4

iii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Retailer Survey Executives of 39 of the top 55 supermarket chains were successfully interviewed. Seventeen of the top 20 firms provided data In total, the 39 cooperating firms had combined sales of nearly $222 billion in 1999. These 39 firms accounted for 82% of the total sales of the 55 chains opera ting in the study region, i.e., east of the Mississippi River, and Texas. Senior executives responsible fo r buying and merchandising produce were interviewed. On average, intervie wees had 27 years’ experience. The following highlights are organized in to five major topics: Retailers’ evaluations of (1) the basic product, (2) shipping contai ners, (3) retailers’ in-store merchandising and promotion practices, (4) factors affecting sweet corn advertising, and (5) effectiveness of the Southern Supersweet identity. Data from interviews were analyzed by firm size. “Very Large” firms were those with total sales in excess of $10 billion, “Large” firms had sales of approximately $2.273 to $7.197 billion, “ Medium” had sales of $1.0 to $2.268 billion, and “Small” had sales of $387 million to just under $1.0 billion. Evaluation of the Basic Product The majority of very large firms had no pa rticular preference on sweet corn color. A few preferred white. Smaller firms e xpressed a relatively strong, emerging preference for bicolor. Over the next five years, overall projected sales of white corn are likely to remain fairly consistent, while yellow is likely to suffer a sizeable decline. Bicolor sales are projected to capture virtually all sales lost by yellow varieties. When asked about preferences for speci fic “varieties”, “Southern Supersweet” was mentioned by 6 of the 7 very large firms and 4 of 8 of the large firms. Overall, 16 of 39 firms (41%) expressed a preference for Southern Supersweet. This is especially encour aging because this was an unaided recall question. Thus, it appears that there is a high level of awareness of Southern Supersweet corn among the very largest firms. When asked what should be done to improve the basic product, i.e., the corn itself, 16 of 39 firms (41%) indicated th at they were pleased with the product coming from southern growers.

PAGE 5

iv About one-third of the reta ilers suggested improvements to corn such as improved sweetness and flavor, longer shelf life, bi gger ears, green shuck, and consistent fill. Three firms mentioned improvements in quality of pack issues, such as consistent size of ears and accurate ear count. Evaluation of Shipping Containers Only three of the very large and four of the large firms have had first hand experience with Returnable Plastic Cont ainers. None of the medium or small firms had received sweet corn in RPCs Almost all had received corn in wirebound wooden crates, and about thre e-fourths had received corn in corrugated boxes. The very large chains anticipate signifi cant increases in usage of RPCs over the next five years, going from about 14 pe rcent of total in 2000-01 to nearly 44 percent in 2005-05. RPC usage by large firms is projected to increase from about 25 percent in 200001 to 80 percent in 2005-06. Corrugated box usage was projected to incr ease for all firm si ze categories except for large firms (most of which anticipated going to RPCs). Overall usage of corrugated boxes was projected to go from about 17 percent to 32 percent over the next 5 years. Increases in RPC and corrugated box usage were projected to come at the expense of wirebound crates. Overall usage of wi rebound crates was projected to decline from about 70 percent to 24 percent over the next five years. Retailers using the various types of c ontainers were asked to rate the key attributes, such as protection of product from bruising, quick cooling, ease of handling (at retail), suitability for displa y, ease of return or disposal, and overall satisfaction, using a 0 – 10 rating scale. Zero represented extremely poor, and 10 excellent. RPCs received the highest rati ngs on all attributes except protection from bruising, where corrugated boxes pr evailed. In general, wirebound crates received the lowest ratings. Overall satisfaction ratings for RPCs corrugated boxes and wirebound crates were 7.3, 6.6, and 4.4 respectively. Firms using RPCs generally like them ve ry much, citing better cooling, ease of handling, labor savings and better display qualities.

PAGE 6

v Although several very large and larger firms indicated RPCs were worth a “premium”, most said they were not, and almost all refused to indicate a premium amount. There is a generally pervasive dislik e of wirebound crates. Reasons include damage to the corn, injuries to worker s, poor display quali ties, and disposal problems. Only one user of RPCs was willing to gi ve a disposal/return cost estimate for RPCs, and his estimate was 10 cents per c ontainer. Disposal cost estimates for wirebound crates and corrugated boxes we re identical, averaging 19 cents per container and ranging from zero to 75 cents. In-Store Merchandising and Promotion Practices When not featured on ad, just over 73 percent of sweet corn is sold bulk, unshucked, about 25 percent is sold partia lly shucked in tray packs, and only 2 percent is sold completely shucked in tray packs. When featured on ad, over 90 percent is sold bulk, unshucked, about 8 percent is sold partially shucked in tray packs a nd only one percent is sold completely shucked in tray packs. When not featured on ad, 95 percent of all firms us e refrigerated displays. However, when sweet corn is featured or advertised, over two-thirds ( 86 percent of the very large firms) use unrefrigera ted displays. Thus, there may be some product deterioration during adve rtised periods, especially in stores with relatively low sales volume. When not featured or advertised, few firms sell sweet corn directly out of shipping containers. Less than 5 percent of sweet corn volume is sold in this manner. However, when corn is featured on an ad, nearly one-third of total volume is sold directly out of contai ners. Thus display qualities are very important during high sales volume periods. A wide variety of produce items are typi cally merchandised along side sweet corn in most stores. Green beans, potatoes, “greens”, “cooking” vegetables, “hard” vegetables such as broccoli and carrots and many others were mentioned. Many of the items mentioned require far more cooking time than does sweet corn. It may be advantageous to identify several complimentary vegetables that can be promoted along with sweet corn as “quick cooking”, convenience dishes. Non-produce tie-ins were pretty pred ictable: heavy on butter, squeeze butter/margarine, salt, corn skewers, spices, and grilling items. Some of these items may afford an opportunity fo r cooperative promotional activities.

PAGE 7

vi Price cards, recipes, and nutri tional brochures were some of the most widely used point of sale materials. Radio/TV spots were also used by about 40 – 50 percent of all firms. However, price cards provi ded by outside groups have limited appeal to some firms because of unique size, style requirements. When asked what kinds of POS materials supplied by the sweet corn industry would likely be used, recipe cards were the most popular, with interest expressed by 28 of 39 firms representing over 12,000 stores and $175 billion in sales. Electronic ad slicks were the second mo st popular item, likely to be used by 27 firms representing about 10,600 stores and $161.7 billion in sales. Hard copy ad slicks were next in popul arity appealing to 24 firms with over 9,000 stores and sales of $117 billion. Other popular items included banners, posters, and radio scripts. Factors Affecting Sweet Corn Advertising All firm sizes advertised sweet corn prio r to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. Other dates mentioned included the Easter holidays, summer (July and August), Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Canada’s Thanksgiving. Across firm sizes, 84 percent of responde nts indicated that weather directly affects sweet corn sales. The decision to advertise sweet corn, how ever, is not affected by local weather conditions, according to 61 percent of all respondents. Interviewees perceive improvement in sweet corn sales in wa rmer weather due to product availability, seasonal quality, and the suitability of sweet corn for warmer weather cooking activities, i.e. outdoor grilling. The primary responses across firms indicate that sweet corn competes with all other produce items for promotional consid eration, specifically melons, berries, soft fruits and cooking vegetables. In c ontrast, two large firms believe that sweet corn “stands alone” when advertising decisions are made. Major market conditions, including sweet corn price, quality and availability, were mentioned by all firms as the main factors affecting retailers’ advertising decisions.

PAGE 8

vii Improvement of the pricing structure emerged as the number one way producers can encourage retailers to advertise sweet corn more aggressive ly during the late September through early July season. Corr ection of the current wide fluctuations in product prices and requests for future provision of “good ad price” produce were offered as motivations which would inspire all firms. The “Southern Supersweet” Identity As indicated above, the trade has a fa irly strong preference for “Southern Supersweet” which they view as a “varie ty”. Fortunately this preference is especially strong among the very large and large firms. The “Southern Supersweet Corn C ouncil” does not enjoy a broad based awareness within the trade. Only six firm s, 15 percent of the total recognized the name. In contrast, 10 executives said they were aware of the “American Sweet Corn Association” (26 pe rcent) and 14 knew about th e “Florida Federation of Sweet Corn Growers” (36 percent). Overall, 7 firms (18 percent) said they remembered receiving promotional materials for “Southern Supersweet Corn”. When asked to evaluate “Southern Supers weet Corn” as a trade name, only seven firms rated it as “very effective”; the same numbers rated it “moderately effective” and “slightly effective”. Sixteen firms (41 percent) rated the name “Not at all effective”. Although some respondents made posit ive comments about the “Southern Supersweet Corn” trade name, others critic ized it for the “southern” connotation. “Supersweet” definitely has positive connotations and relatively wide awareness, but “southern” does not appear to enhance the overall product image. Not one firm expressed a preference fo r a branded product versus generic sweet corn. Most said there was no difference in profitability. Several did say that branded was slightly more profitable than generi c, and one said it was considerably more. However, two firms said it was less profitable. It appears that the trade recognition and appreciation of the “Supersweet” identity is still too low to command a premium. However with greater emphasis on trade communication and promotion, “Supersw eet” could quickly evolve into a premium product with an excellent image.

PAGE 9

viii The Consumer Sample and General Purchase Patterns A total of 1,031 consumer telephone intervie ws were conducted in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia between September 7 and November 3, 2001. The questionnaire was developed after m eeting with major sweet corn growers and shippers. The consumer sample was generated using a random digit dialing technique (RDD). Interviews were conducted by staff of the University of Florida’s Survey Research Center, and averaged ap proximately 10 minutes in length. Approximately two-thirds (67.7 percent) of all households were found to buy fresh sweet corn at least once each year. The proportion of sweet corn buyers increases with hous ehold size, income (57.8 percent at <$20K to 82.5 per cent at >$70K) and education. Middle-aged consumers are more likely to buy sweet corn than young consumers. Only 56 percent of the respondents in the 18 to 34 age group buy sweet corn, in contrast with 82 percent of those 50 to 64 years of age. Future promotional effort should target the younger shoppers to c onvert them to sweet corn users. Women are slightly more likely to buy sw eet corn than men, even though the men and women interviewed were the primar y shoppers for fresh produce. However, race and ethnicity do not affect the li kelihood of being a sweet-corn buyer. The most-commonly cited reason for not buying corn is that the respondent does not like the taste (30 percent). The amount of preparation time or inconvenience (22 percent), and messiness (7 percent) were frequently given reasons. Other reasons were lack of freshness (8 percen t), do not cook (7 pe rcent), and prefer canned or frozen corn (7 percent). Based on these findings, every effort should be made to reduce preparation time (perhaps by promoting microwave cooking) and to offer ready-to-cook product if quality can be preserved. People in Chicago and Philadelphia are most likely to buy sweet corn, with 73.6 percent of respondents and 72.3 percen t, respectively, buying sweet corn. Consumers in these cities also tend to buy more ears of corn in each purchase: 7.3 and 8.0, respectively. The city with the lowest fraction of corn consumers is Dallas with 62.2 percent. Consumers in Dallas typically buy 5.3 ears of corn in each purchase. The price considered to be ”fair” by those who buy corn averaged $0.28 per ear. At $0.35 per ear, the average “fair” price in Atlanta is nearly 50 percent higher than the average price in Chicago of $0.21 per ear.

PAGE 10

ix Consumers did not express a strong preferen ce for any variety of sweet corn. Only 16.5 percent of those who buy sweet corn expressed a preference for any variety at all. In fact, many of th ese did not mention a variety at all, but a store name. “Southern Supersweet” was mentioned as a preferred “variety” by less than one percent of all sweet-corn buyers. Consumers in Dallas and Chicago expre ssed strong preferences for yellow corn (62 percent). Philadelphia showed a marked preference for white corn over yellow corn, (52 percent, as opposed to 39 percent). Preferences for yellow corn tend to di minish as income levels increase. Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks have a ve ry clear preference for yellow corn. The most important reason given for any co lor preference is that the respondent thinks it tastes better. This is especially true for white and bi-color buyers (over 62 percent) who also mentioned “sweeter” twice as frequently as yellow corn buyers. “Habit” was the one reason frequently mentioned by yellow-corn buyers (26 percent) that was not an important reason for other corn buyers (5 to 7 percent). “Appealing Color” was important to those buying bi-color corn (21 percent), and to those buying yellow corn (18 percent). Seasonal Purchasing Patterns Dramatic seasonal differences were found in the number of households buying sweet corn. Virtually all sweet corn c onsuming households buy it in the summer, but only 36 percent buy it in the winter, 71 percent in the spring, and only 49 percent in the fall. The overwhelming majority of the winter spring, and fall non-buyers (70%, 57%, and 63% respectively) said they did not buy fresh sweet corn because it was “not available”. About 12 to 14 percent, depending on the se ason, said they did not buy it because it was not fresh. High prices were cited as a reason fo r not buying fresh sw eet corn by only 5 percent. This number was consistent ove r the winter, spring, and fall seasons.

PAGE 11

x “Not locally grown” was cited as a reason by about 4 to 8 percent of the respondents, and approximately the same percentages said they did not like the taste in winter, spring, and fall seasons. A few respondents mentioned a variety of reasons for not buying sweet corn in these seasons but most were not judged to be an indictment of product quality, or shipping practices. Percentages of sweet corn purchases were significantly lower in Boston and Chicago during the winter, spring, and fall seasons. More than likely this is a weather related phenomenon, a reflection of the strong association of sweet corn and summer, and the perception that sweet co rn is not available in colder months. It is also likely that the city buying patterns are a ffected by the racial/ethnic composition. Seasonal purchase patterns were similar for Blacks and Hispanics. Surprisingly, higher percentages of Blacks and Hispanics purchase sweet corn in the winter, spring, and fall than White Non-Hispanics and Asians. There were no strong relationships betw een the seasonal perc entages of sweet corn buyers and income or education. Consumers’ Evaluations of Packaging T ype, Shucking Location and Refrigeration Overall, nearly 75 percent of sweet co rn consumers prefer to purchase loose (bulk) sweet corn, 16 pe rcent purchase fully shucked, pre-packaged, and about nine percent prefer partially shucked, pr e-packaged product. Retailers should be urged to offer bulk sweet corn even in the winter, spring a nd fall seasons. Bulk displays convey freshness and bett er meet consumers’ preferences. Boston respondents were the most likely to prefer bulk (n on-packaged) sweet corn. Respondents that were White non-Hi spanics, college educated, and earning $50 to 69.9K annually, and between 35 to 49 years of age were also the largest segments preferring bulk sweet corn.. Consumers preferring partially shucked, pre-packaged sweet corn are most likel y found in Dallas, are of Hispanic ethnicity, college educat ed, earn $20 to 34.9K annua lly, and are between 18-34 years of age. Buyers of fully shucked, pre-packed sweet corn are most likely in Dallas, Black non-Hispanics, high school educated, earn less than $20K annually, and aged 65 or older. In general, more than 83 percent of sweet corn consumers pref er to shuck their purchases at home. The groups most like ly to shuck corn in the store include approximately 21 percent of Chicago sweet corn consumers, about 42 percent of Asian consumers.

PAGE 12

xi The majority of sweet corn buyers, al most 62 percent, prefer to select unrefrigerated product from their retail ou tlets. This percentage ranged from about 50 percent in Dallas to 73 pe rcent in Boston. This indica tes that a majority of sweet corn purchasers do not realize the importance of refrigeration in maintaining product quality. Educational messages aimed at consumers should stress the importance of refrigeration. Sweet Corn Purchases by Type of Retail Ou tlet, Sources of Information for Sweet Corn, and Recall of Promotional Methods Supermarkets are the retail outlet of choi ce for just over 62 percent of all sweet corn consumers. Specialty produce stores are the second most popular source of sweet corn, and were frequented by almo st 13 percent of all sweet corn buyers. While the importance of supermarkets ha s long been understood as a means of reaching potential purchasers, specialty pr oduce stores may also prove to be a productive promotional venue, especially in some markets such as Chicago where nearly 20 percent of respondents usually buy sweet corn. Only seven percent of all sweet corn buye rs had ever received any information about the availability, nutritional quali ties or cooking methods for sweet corn. The four most common informationa l sources included cookbooks, magazine articles, word of mouth recomme ndations, and newspaper articles. About 37 percent of all sweet corn purchase said they had seen newspaper feature stories and newspaper food advertisements for sweet corn within the past year. Approximately 30 percent recalled seeing store posters and television features such as cooking shows. Magazine ads and magazine feature stor ies on sweet corn had been seen by 22 and 15 percent, respectively. The Internet was mentioned by relatively few sweet corn buyers as an information source. However, it should not be overl ooked as a viable nationwide educational and promotional tool for sweet corn. Nearly three-fourths of all survey respondents had access to the Internet at either work or home. Access by race/ethnicity was found to be about 60 percent for Black non-Hispanics, 72 percent for Hispanics, 80 percent for White non-Hispanics, and 83 percent for Asians. An astounding 94 percent of hous eholds with incomes of $70K or more had Internet access.

PAGE 13

xii At-Home Storage, Preparat ion and Serving Patterns 62 percent consume fresh sweet corn on the day of purchas e, and an additional 31 percent consume it within three days. Thus it appears that pr olonged storage in the home is not a pervasive problem th at would require extensive consumer education. However, messages that persuade consumers to eat sw eet corn as soon after purchase for highest quality could also increase consumption. Nearly 7 percent of all sweet corn purchase rs store it outside the refrigerator. This percentage ranges from over 9 percent in Da llas and Chicago to about 3 percent in Philadelphia. Un-refrigerated storage undoubt edly takes its toll on quality, and the message to “refrigerate” shoul d be conveyed to consumers. 46 percent of all sweet corn purchasers store it shucke d. This practice probably results in loss of product quality, a nd should be discouraged through an educational campaign. Boiling is the predominant method fo r cooking fresh sweet corn (over 70 percent). Other methods of cooking, such as microwaving, are not heavily used. Microwaving could help to position sweet corn as more of a convenience food, perhaps circumventing the complaint that sweet corn is inconvenient and takes too long to prepare. There is a variance in cooki ng methods across cities. Bost on and Philadelphia rely heavily upon boiling (over 85% ), and respondents in Chic ago use the outdoor grill method substantially more than other cities. Fresh sweet corn is most often se rved as a side dish, on the cob. Beef and chicken are most frequently consumed with sweet corn. Promotional suggestions for retailers should include th e suggestion that sweet corn be crossmerchandised with these popular meats. Salad, beans, and potatoes are the most frequently consumed vegetables with sweet corn. The vast variety of vegetable items “typically ” served with sweet corn precludes identification of a few specific items that could be cross-merchandised, although beans of all types and salad vegetables that help retailers “break color” could be used.

PAGE 14

xiii Conclusions In conclusion, we feel that the most importa nt findings of the consumer survey are (1) the very limited consumption in the winter, spring, and fall seasons and (2) consumers’ perceptions that sweet corn is not available in these seasons. Thus, with adequate educational and promoti onal efforts the misp erceptions could be overcome. The current market developmen t program has utilized cost effective methods and reached some consumers, but many remain totally unaware of sweet corn during the prime marketing period fo r Southern Supersweet corn. Many of the largest retailers are aware of Sout hern Supersweet corn, but significant numbers are not. Although growers and shippers may be proud of their southern heritage, feedback from the retail trade indicat e that the “Southern” identity may be detrimental. At present Southern Supersweet does not have widespread recognition except at the major retailer level; “Supersweet” by its elf conveys product qua lity and would be simpler to promote. The current budget of $80,000 has had limited overall impact, and vast potential remains to expand the demand for sweet corn in the winter, spring and fall seasons. Based upon results experienced by other commodity groups, a budget of $500,000 is recommended. This would allow for an expanded consumer educational program using more television feature stories, news releases targeted at newspaper food editors, consumer mag azine feature stories, and development and maintenance of a Southern Supersweet Internet website. The consumer must be made aware of the high quality sweet corn that is available in what they perceive to be the “off-seasons”. Part of the budget should be directed to creating greater awareness in the retail trade by providing some of the promotional materials that could also serve to get c onsumers’ attention at the store level.

PAGE 15

xiv

PAGE 16

xv LIST OF TABLES Table 1. Supermarket Chai n Size Classification.................................................................6 Table 2. Produce Buyers’ Preferred Colo rs of Sweet Corn by Firm Size..........................6 Table 3. Respondents’ Reasons for Sweet Corn Color Preference, Comments by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... ...7 Table 4. Current and Projected White Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size.............................8 Table 5. Current and Projected Yellow Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size...........................8 Table 6. Current and Projected Bicolor Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size..........................8 Table 7. Produce Buyers’ Preferences for Sp ecific “Varieties” of Sweet Corn, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... ...9 Table 8. Respondents’ Reasons for Sweet Corn Variety Preference, Comments by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .10 Table 9. Produce Buyers’ Suggested Changes fo r the Basic Product (the Corn Itself), by Firm Size...................................................................................................................11 Table 9. Continued............................................................................................................1 2 Table 10. Produce Buyers’ Experience With Va rious Types of Sweet Corn Containers, by Firm Size...................................................................................................................13 Table 11. Current and Projecte d RPC Usage, by Firm Size. a...........................................14 Table 12. Current and Projected Wire bound Crate Usage, by Firm Size.........................15 Table 13. Current and Projected Co rrugated Box Usage, by Firm Size. a........................15 Table 14. Produce Buyers’ Ratings of Selected Container Attributes of RPCs, Wirebound Crates, and Corrugated Boxes...................................................................................16 Table 15. Advantages of Returnable Plasti c Containers Cited by Respondents by Firm Size and Response Order..........................................................................................17 Table 16. Disadvantages of Returnable Plasti c Containers Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order..........................................................................................17 Table 17. RPC Users’ Response to the Ques tion “Are RPCs Worth a Premium to the Typical Retail Firm?”, by Firm Size.........................................................................18 Table 18. Advantages of Wire Bound Crates Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order.........................................................................................................19 Table 19. Disadvantages of Wi re Bound Crates Cited by Re spondents, by Firm Size and Response Order.........................................................................................................20 Table 20. Advantages of Corrugated Boxe s Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order.........................................................................................................21 Table 21. Disadvantages of Corrugated Boxes Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order.........................................................................................................22 Table 22. Produce Buyers’ Disposal/Return Co st Estimates for Various Types of Containers.................................................................................................................23 Table 23. Suggested Changes to Containers and Packaging, Comments by Firm Size and Response Order.........................................................................................................24 Table 24. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Not Featured..................................25 Table 25. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Featured.........................................26 Table 26. Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Not Featured, by Firm Size.....27 Table 27.Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Featured, by Firm Size.............27

PAGE 17

xvi Table 28. Percentage of Sweet Corn Sold Dire ctly Out of Shipping Crates or Containers, by Firm Size..............................................................................................................28 Table 29. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Not Featuring Sweet Corn, by Firm Size....................................................................................................29 Table 30. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Featuring Sweet Corn by Firm Size..............................................................................................................30 Table 31. Non-Produce Tie-ins Su ccessfully Sold with Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.........31 Table 32. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Demonstrations/Sampling for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size...................................................................................................................32 Table 33. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of InStore Dem onstration/Sampling “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size........................................................................32 Table 34. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Vi deotapes for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size...32 Table 35. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of In-Store Vide otapes “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size...........................................................................................33 Table 37. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Ra dio Spots “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size..............................................................................................................33 Table 38. Past Use and Ratings of TV Spots for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size....................34 Table 39. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of TV Spots “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size...................................................................................................................34 Table 40. Past Use and Ratings of Banners/L arge Posters for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. ............................................................................................................................... ....34 Table 41. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Banners/Large Po sters “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size...........................................................................................35 Table 42. Past Use and Ratings of Small Fo rmat Price/Case Cards for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size...................................................................................................................35 Table 43. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Pr ice/Case Cards “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size...........................................................................................35 Table 44. Past Use and Ratings of Recipe Cards for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size..............36 Table 45. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Recipe Ca rds “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size...........................................................................................36 Table 46. Past Use and Ratings of Nutritiona l Brochures for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size.36 Table 47. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Nutritional Broc hures “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size...........................................................................................37 Table 48. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using In-S tore Videotapes, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size......................................................................................38 Table 49. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use In-Store Videotapes, by Firm Size...................................................................................................................38

PAGE 18

xvii Table 50. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Ad S licks (hard copy), if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size......................................................................................38 Table 51. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Ad Slicks (hard copy), by Firm Size...................................................................................................................39 Table 52. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Ad S licks (electronic copy) if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...........................................................................39 Table 53. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Ad Slicks (electronic copy), by Firm Size...................................................................................................39 Table 54. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Radio Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...............................................................................................40 Table 55. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Radio Scripts, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .40 Table 56. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using TV Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...............................................................................................40 Table 57. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use TV Scripts, by Firm Size. ............................................................................................................................... ....41 Table 58. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Banners/ Posters, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. b...........................................................................................41 Table 59. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Banners/ Posters, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .41 Table 60. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Pric e Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...............................................................................................42 Table 61. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Price Cards, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .42 Table 62. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Case Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...............................................................................................42 Table 63. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Like ly” to Use Case Cards, by Firm Size. ............................................................................................................................... ....43 Table 64. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Reci pe Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...............................................................................................43 Table 65. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Recipe Cards, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .43 Table 66. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Displa y Contests, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size...............................................................................................44 Table 67. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Display Contests, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .44

PAGE 19

xviii Table 68. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Nutr itional Brochures, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size......................................................................................44 Table 69. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Li kely” to Use Nutritional Brochures, by Firm Size...................................................................................................................45 Table 70. In-store Promotional Materials Ra ted as Very or Somewhat Effective............45 Table 71. Promotional Materials Like ly to be Used by Retailers.....................................46 Table 72. Other Retail Promotional Tools Used by Retailers, by Firm Size....................47 Table 73. Retailers’ Desired Attributes for Selected Promotional Materials...................48 Table 74. Particular Dates or Holidays when Sweet Corn is Featured, by Firm Size......49 Table 75. “Does Weather Affect Sweet Corn Sa les in Your Stores?”, Responses by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .50 Table 76. Effect of Weather on Sweet Corn Sales Mentioned by Respondents, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .50 Table 77. “Do Weather Conditions in your Reta il Market Area Play a Role in Your Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Ad ?”, Responses by Firm Size...............................51 Table 78. Effect of Weather on Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Advertisement, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .52 Table 79. Produce Items Competing with Sweet Corn for Promotional Consideration, by Firm Size and Response Order.................................................................................53 Table 80. Other Factors Determining Wh ether or Not to Put Sweet Corn on Advertisement, by Firm Size and Response Order...................................................54 Table 81. Ways To Get Retailer s to Feature or Advertise Sw eet Corn More Aggressively During The Late September – Early July Season.....................................................56 Table 82. Retailers’ Awareness of the Sout hern Supersweet Corn Council and Other Fictitious Trade Associations by Firm Size..............................................................58 Table 83. Retailers’ Recall of Having Recei ved Promotional Materials for “Southern Supersweet Corn”, by Firm Size...............................................................................59 Table 84. Respondents’ Thoughts about “Sout hern Supersweet Corn” Promotional Materials, by Firm Size.............................................................................................59 Table 85. Retailers’ Evaluation of the Trade Name “Southern Supersweet Corn”, by Firm Size........................................................................................................................... .60 Table 86. Respondents’ Reasons for Effectiven ess Ratings of the Trade Name “Southern Supersweet Corn”, by Effectiveness Rating.............................................................61 Table 87. Produce Buyers’ Evaluations of Prof itability of Branded vs. Generic Sweet Corn, by Firm Size....................................................................................................62 Table 88. Number of Completed Interviews, by City.......................................................63 Table 89. Racial Composition of the Total Sample..........................................................64 Table 90. Race and Ethnicity of all Respondents.............................................................64 Table 91. Income Distri bution, All Cities.........................................................................65 Table 92 Age Categories of Respondents, All Cities.....................................................65 Table 93. Number of Children Under 18 in Household, All Cities..................................66 Table 94. Number of Adults 18 and Older in Household, All Cities................................66 Table 95. Respondents’ Income Levels, by City.............................................................67 Table 96. Respondents’ Educa tional Levels, by City......................................................67 Table 97. Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Sample, by City...................................69

PAGE 20

xix Table 98. Number of Years Li ved in City, by City..........................................................69 Table 99. Age of Respondents, by City............................................................................70 Table 100. Number of Children in th e Sample Households, by City...............................70 Table 101. Number of Adu lts in the Sample Households, by City...................................71 Table 102. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn by City..............................................73 Table 103. Average Number of Sweet Corn Ears Purchased Each Time, by City...........73 Table 104. Households’ Purchase of Sw eet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity.......................74 Table 105. Households’ Purchase of Sw eet Corn, by Level of Education......................74 Table 106. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Income Level................................75 Table 107. Households’ Purchase of Sw eet Corn, by Age of Respondent.......................75 Table 108. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Cor n, by Number of Adults in Household..76 Table 109. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Number of Children Under 18 in Household.................................................................................................................76 Table 110. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Gender..........................................76 Table 111. Reasons Respondents Do Not Buy Sweet Corn.............................................77 Table 112. Respondents’ Percei ved “Fair Price” for Fresh Sweet Corn, by City............78 Table 113. Fair Price for Fr esh Sweet Corn, by City.......................................................78 Table 114. Fair Price for Fres h Sweet Corn, by Education.............................................79 Table 115. Preferred Variety of Fresh Sweet Corn, All Cities.........................................80 Table 116. Color Preferences for Sweet Corn, All Buyers...............................................80 Table 117. Reasons Why Respondents Prefer a Particular Color of Sweet Corn.............82 Table 118. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Color Preference, by City.....................................83 Table 119. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Colo r Preference, by Income Level......................86 Table 120. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Colo r Preference, by Education Level.................86 Table 121. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Color Preference, by Race and Ethnicity.............88 Table 122. Percent of All Sweet Corn Purc hasers Buying the Product, by Season.........89 Table 123. Reasons Given For Buying Sweet Corn........................................................91 Table 124. Reasons Given for Not Purchasing Sweet Corn, by Season...........................93 Table 125. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by City........................................................................................................94 Table 126. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Income Level........................................................................................96 Table 127. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Education Level....................................................................................97 Table 128 Percent of Corn-Buyers Purcha sing Corn in Winter Spring, Summer and Fall, by Race and Ethnicity......................................................................................98 Table 129. Preferred Type of Packaging, by City............................................................99 Table 130. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Respondents’ Race and Ethnicity............100 Table 131. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Level of Education...................................100 Table 132. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Income Level...........................................101 Table 133. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Age Category...........................................101 Table 134. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Number of Children in the Sample Households..............................................................................................................102 Table 135. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Gender......................................................102 Table 136. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by City........................................103 Table 137. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity................103

PAGE 21

xx Table 138. Preferred Location to Shuck Sw eet Corn, by Level of Education................104 Table 139. Preferred Location to Shuc k Sweet Corn, by Age Category........................104 Table 140. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Refrigerated or Un refrigerated Sweet Corn, by City..........................................................................................................................1 05 Table 141. Preference for Refrigerated or Unrefrigerated Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity..................................................................................................................105 Table 142. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Refrigerated or Un refrigerated Sweet Corn, by Level of Education..................................................................................................106 Table 143. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Refrigerated or Un refrigerated Sweet Corn, by Income Level..........................................................................................................107 Table 144.Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Sweet Corn, by City.109 Table 145. Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity...........................................................................................................110 Table 146. Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Fresh Sweet Corn, by Income Level..........................................................................................................111 Table 147. Sources Used to Obtain Information about Sweet Corn...............................112 Table 148. Aided Recall of Specific Types of Promotional Materials for Sweet Corn..113 Table 149. Respondents’ Use of Fresh Sweet Co rn on the Day of Purchase, by City...115 Table 150. Respondents’ Use of Fresh Sweet Corn on the Day of Purchase, by Race and Ethnicity..................................................................................................................115 Table 151. Respondents At Home Storage Preference for Sweet Corn, by City............116 Table 152. At Home Storage Preference fo r Sweet Corn, by Respondents Gender......116 Table 153. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Shucked or Unshucke d Storage of Sweet Corn, by City.....................................................................................................................117 Table 154. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Shucked or Unshucke d Storage of Sweet Corn, by Level of Education.............................................................................................117 Table 155. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Shucked or Unshucke d Storage of Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity.............................................................................................117 Table 156. Preparation Methods Used in Good Weather, by City.................................119 Table 157. Preparation Methods Used in Bad Weather, by City....................................119 Table 158. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by City..........................................................................................................................1 20 Table 159. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by Level of Education..................................................................................................120 Table 160. Respondents’ Preference for Serving Fresh Sweet Co rn On or Off the Cob, by Race.........................................................................................................................12 1

PAGE 22

xxi LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Major Reasons Given for a Color Preference....................................................82 Figure 2. Sweet Corn Color Preference by City...............................................................84 Figure 3. Sweet Corn Color Preference by City...............................................................84 Figure 4. Sweet Corn Color Preference by Income Category..........................................87 Figure 5 Sweet Corn Color Preference by Education Level...........................................87 Figure 6. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Color Preference, by Race and Ethnicity................88 Figure 7. Percent Buying Sweet Corn by Season, All Respondents.................................89 Figure 8. Major Reasons Given for Buying Sweet Corn, by Season................................90 Figure 9. Major Reasons Given for Not Buying Sweet Corn, by Season.........................92 Figure 10. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purc hasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by City........................................................................................................94 Figure 11. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Income Level........................................................................................96 Figure 12. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Education Level....................................................................................97 Figure 13. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Race and Ethnicity................................................................................98 Figure 14. Methods of Preparation Us ed in Good vs Bad Weather................................118 Figure 15. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by City.........................122 Figure 16. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by Age.........................123 Figure 17. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by Race........................123 Figure 18. Percent of Consumption of Other Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by City.....125 Figure 19. Percent of Consumption of Other Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by Age.....125 Figure 20. Percent of Consumption of Other Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by Race....126

PAGE 23

xxii

PAGE 24

1 Introduction Southern Supersweet Corn Council member s represent the majority of sweet corn shipped and consumed in the United States fr om late fall through the winter until the July Fourth holiday. Major shipments of corn are scheduled to fill orders on the two holidays of Memorial Day and July 4th; historically, retailers ha ve supported the sweet corn industry before and during these time periods with advertisements. Shipments of corn during other times of the year are fairly c onsistent and affected by weather and retail promotions. The supersweet varieties have more sugar and hold the sugar content for an average of 5 – 10 days under ideal storage conditions of 34 F and 95 percent humidity. Post-harvest practices have been refined, and in combination with the superior variety, sweet corn from the Southern Supersweet producers is of higher quality than local seasonal corn. Recent promotional activities for the past three years have focused on promotion of Southern Supersweet Corn Co uncil products directly to the consumer through a third party communication agency. In order to better utilize marketing dolla rs, the Southern Supersweet Corn Council members have contracted with the Florida Agri cultural Market Research Center to obtain quantitative and qualitative data from consumer s and retailers via survey instruments. A basic overview of the forces within the industry which determine firm conduct is performed and incorporated with survey data. The goal of this research is to assist the sweet corn industry in defining their market position, and to design a competitive market strategy which will utilize inherent advantages to improve firm performance.

PAGE 25

2 Objectives With the intention of quantifying the im pacts of current prom otional expenditures and outlining the feasibility of additional promotional activities, the researchers investigated the following three objectives on behalf of the Southern Supersweet Corn Council members: 1. Retail perceptions of sweet corn handling and promotional activities. 2. Consumer perceptions and usage of sw eet corn, and sources of information. 3. Recommendations and projected expenditu res for future Southern Supersweet Corn Council activities. Procedures Prior to questionnaire development, th e researchers met with individual sweet corn growers, shippers and handlers located in the Belle Glade production area in an effort to clarify project object ives. Notes from these meetings, combined with informal survey results collected from members of the Southern Supersweet Corn Council, were incorporated into the questionn aire design for both the retail and the consumer survey instruments. Retailer interviews sought chain stor e executives’ perceptio ns and knowledge of the profitability of sweet corn varieties in general and Southern Supersweet in particular. Information on chains’ handling practices, pr imarily packaging, shi pping and storage of sweet corn was obtained. Details concerni ng merchandisers’ preferences for point-ofsale advertising materials a nd other promotional activities were recorded. Additionally, interviewees were queried as to desired product attributes, packaging formats, and preferred advertising strategies specific to fresh sweet corn.

PAGE 26

3 Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution, and the supplemental 68th Annual Report of the Grocery Industry, were utilized to develop an approved list of high-level retailer contacts. Produce merchandisers or head buyers of the 55 lead ing retailers serving the geographic regions east of the Mississippi River and the Dalla s/Houston market areas of Texas were contacted initially by mail to legitimize the su rvey. The Florida Survey Research Center (FSRC), working in partnershi p with the Florida Agricultural Market Research Center (FAMRC), conducted the interviews, employing a professional research er with extensive experience in completing ques tionnaires of both high-level executives and physicians. The interviewer was thoroughly briefed on each item of the retailer questionnaire and project objectives by the pr inciple investigators. Calls began August 30, 2001, approximately 3-5 days after the initial mailing of the introductory letters, and final contact a ttempts were accomplished October 29, 2001. A minimum of ten attempts were made to complete each survey, at which time permission was requested to either mail or fax the instrument. Follow-up calls were made on faxes and mailings to confirm receipt of the survey and to respond to any potential questions. Consumer surveys were conducted in five major market areas to allow for regional dispersion, and include Dallas, Atla nta, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. Clustering the consumer interviews facilitated statistical analyses used to determine differences in consumer purchasing, storing and preparation methods In addition to geographical dispersion, these areas provided racial and et hnic diversity in the total sample.

PAGE 27

4 Primary food shoppers in each of 200 house holds in each city were interviewed by trained, professional interviewers whom had received precise written and verbal instructions to facili tate full understanding of the consum er questionnaire. The consumer instrument was designed in conjunction w ith professionals in both the FSCR and the FAMRC, and was approved by a SSCC member prior to the interview process. The University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board’s Committee for the Protection of the Human Subjects also approved th e material prior to initial interviews. The questionnaire was pre-tested to further certify functionali ty and remove any ambiguity prior to fullscale field interviewing. Te lephone numbers were generated using a random digit dialing (RDD) technique. This method avoids di fficulties with unlisted and disconnected numbers. Consumer surveying began in early September and was completed in early November, 2001. Each household was contacte d during different times of the day, a minimum of six times each, before an alternative phone number was selected. This generates the greatest assurance of avoiding sampling bias caused by over-sampling nonworking food shoppers. Interviewing was acco mplished with the assistance of computer workstations (computer-assisted telephone in terviewing, also referred to as CATI) to allow for immediate, computerized recording of responses. Quality control of the interviewing procedures was assured by random monitoring of real-time interviews, and through call-back verification of ten percen t of all completed questionnaires.

PAGE 28

5 Findings The Retailer Survey Executives of 39 of the top fifty-five supermarket chains were successfully interviewed, and seventeen of the top twenty firms provide d data. In total, the 39 cooperating firms had combined sales of nearly $222 billion in 1999 and represented 15,753 store locations in the designated study region. These 39 firms accounted for 82% of the total sales of the 55 ch ains operating in the study regio n, i.e. east of the Mississippi River and Texas. Senior executives res ponsible for buying and merchandising produce were interviewed, and interviewees had an av erage 27 years’ experience, with a mean of fifteen years exclusively in the produce arena. The following review is organized into five major topic areas: 1. Retailers’ evaluations of the ba sic product (fresh sweet corn). 2. Retailers’ evaluations of shipping containers. 3. Retailers’ in-store mercha ndising and promotion practices. 4. Factors affecting fresh sweet corn advertising. 5. Effectiveness of the Sout hern Supersweet identity. Data from interviews were analyzed by firm size categories. “Very Large” firms were those with total 1999 sales in excess of $10 billion, “Large” firms had sales of approximately $2.273 to $7.197 billion, “Mediu m” firms had sales of $1.0 to $2.268 billion, and “Small” firms had sales of $387 m illion to just under $1.0 billion (Table 1).

PAGE 29

6 Table 1. Supermarket Chain Size Classification. Size Classification Firms Reported # of Stores Total Sales (billions $) Sales Range 1999 a (billions $) Very Large 7 9,916 159 >10.000 Large 8 1,207 33 2.273 – 7.197 Medium 14 3,873 23 1.000 – 2.268 Small 10 757 7 0.387 – 0.949 All Firms 39 15,753 222 0.387 – 43.082 a Sales estimates are from Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guideboo k: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution Evaluation of the Basic Product This first section deals with the buyi ng and merchandising practices for fresh sweet corn of each retailer surveyed, specifica lly during the late September to early July marketing period, when Florida and Georgia producers are the major product suppliers. The majority of very large firms had no part icular preference on fresh sweet corn color, while the remaining 29 percent selected wh ite, accounting for $46 bil lion in 1999 sales. An interesting commonality among large, medium and small firms is the strong preference for bicolor in each size category, re presenting nearly $26 billion in store sales (Table 2.) In both cases, respondents’ claim color preferences are determined by customer demands for higher quality, sweet er and tastier sweet corn (Table 3). Table 2. Produce Buyers’ Preferred Co lors of Sweet Corn by Firm Size. Preferred Color Firm Size No Preference White Yellow Bi-Color Totals (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 5a 71 2 29 0 0 0 0 7 100 Large 2 25 1 12 1 12 4 50a 8 100 Medium 4 29 2 14 2 14 7 50a 14 100 Small 2 20 2 20 2 20 4 40a 10 100 All Firms 12 31 7 18 5 13 15 38 39 100 a Five of the very large firms, representing $113 billion on sales, expressed no color preference. Two very large firms, with combined sales of $46 billion, preferre d white. A total of 15 chains in the large, medium and small categories, with total sale s of $26 billion, preferred bicolor.

PAGE 30

7 Table 3. Respondents’ Reasons for Sweet Corn Color Preference, Comments by Firm Size. Size of Firms, Color Preference. Comments a Very Large White color preference : customer demand; customer preference Large White color preference : sweeter Yellow color preference : tastier; white more expensive; customers prefer it Bi-color preference : customers prefer it; have been using bi-color for two years; consistent quality; preferred in the north east Medium White color preference : customer preference; bette r quality/size; holds sweetness longer Yellow color preference : don’t know Bi-Color Preference : popular with customers(4); fl avor and sweetness; flavor Small White color preference : customer preference Yellow color preference : consumer preference(2) Bi-color preference : perception as a better eating corn ; customer preference (2); tastes better(2) a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. Over the next five years, overall projected sales of white corn are likely to remain fairly consistent (Table 4), while yellow is lik ely to suffer a sizable decline in sales, with decreases ranging from a 4.3 percen t decrease in very large firms to a 23 percent drop in small firms (Table 5). Bicolor sales are projected to capture virtually all sales lost by the yellow varieties, with an average 8.4 percen t gain across firm size categories projected by the 2005-06 season (Table 6).

PAGE 31

8 Table 4. Current and Projected White Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size. Estimated Sales Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06 (---------------------------------Percenta-------------------------------------) Very Large 43.8 42.5 40.0 3.8 Large 12.1 13.2 19.7 + 7.6 Medium 18.8 20.3 16.6 2.2 Small 18.0 19.4 21.0 + 3.0 All Firms 36.4 35.8 35.1 1.3 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution Table 5. Current and Projected Yellow Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size. Estimated Sales Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06 (---------------------------------------Percenta-----------------------------------------) Very Large 41.7 38.8 37.3 4.3 Large 33.9 28.3 16.9 17.0 Medium 48.5 46.0 43.2 5.3 Small 61.4 54.8 38.5 22.9 All Firms 41.9 38.5 34.8 7.1 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution Table 6. Current and Projected Bicolor Sweet Corn Sales, by Firm Size. Estimated Sales Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06 (---------------------------------------Percenta-----------------------------------------) Very Large 13.9 17.4 22.3 + 8.3 Large 54.1 58.5 63.4 + 9.3 Medium 32.7 33.6 40.2 + 7.5 Small 20.6 25.8 40.6 +20.0 All Firms 21.7 25.1 30.1 + 8.4 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution Overall, forty-one percent of responde nts’ queried about variety preferences mentioned the “Southern Supersweet” variety (T able 7). This includes six out of the seven very large firms with $135.5 billion in sales, and half (4 out of 8) of the large firms,

PAGE 32

9 representing another $26.7 billion. This is especially encouraging when given the fact this question was an unaided recall question. T hus, it appears that there is a high level of awareness of the variety name, Southern Supe rsweet, among the top twenty firms in the industry. Table 7. Produce Buyers’ Preferences for Sp ecific “Varieties” of Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Firm Size Preference for Specific Variety Small Medium Large Very Large All Firms (N)a (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) No Preference 5 50 8 57 1 12 2 29 16 41 “Silver Queen” 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3 “Southern Supersweet” 4 40 2 14 4 c 50 6 c 86 16 41 “Kandy Korn” 1 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 “Honey Sweet” 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3 “Staysweet” 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 1 3 “Double Sweet” 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3 “West Coast CA Supersweet” 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3 “Silver and Gold” 0 0 0 0 1 12 0 0 1 3 “Sweet Sue” 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 “Sugar enhanced varieties” 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 1 3 a All percentages are based upon the numbers of firms w ithin the respective categories, i.e. there were 10 small, 14 medium, 8 large, and 7 very large firms for a total of 39. b Varieties mentioned by respondents are verbatim and obtained via unaided recall questioning. c Six of the very large firms, representing $135.5 billion in sales, mentioned Southern Supersweet preference. Four large firms, with combined sales of $26.7 billion also expres sed preference for Southern Supersweet. All four firm size categories recognized the superior sweetness of the Southern Supersweet variety, and other positive traits mentioned incl ude improved flavor, taste, early availability, quality, l ack of starchiness and length of shelf life (Table 8).

PAGE 33

10 Table 8. Respondents’ Reasons for Sweet Corn Variety Preference, Comments by Firm Size. Size of Firm, Variety Preference Comments a Very Large Southern Supersweet : flavor(2); quality; always swee t; stable shelf life; stays sweet longer Large Silver Queen : name recognized as premium sweet Southern Supersweet : holds sugar longer; tast e(2); best overall flavor Double Sweet : high sugar West Coast (CA Supersweet) : sweeter corn, larger Medium Southern Supersweet : excellent eating; early; much greater shelf stability; sweeter; keeps well Sugar-Enhanced Varieties : sweeter Staysweet : sweet, tastes better Silver and Gold : highest sugar, best flavor Small Southern Supersweet : consumer demand; stays swee t; does not turn to starch; sweetness Kandy Korn : consumer demand Sweet Sue : local preference a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. An impressive 41 percent, or 16 of the 39 firms claimed no improvements were necessary to the basic fresh sweet corn product orig inating from the Florida-Georgia production areas (Table 9). Nearly one -third of the retailers suggested improvements in product quality, specifically improved sweet ness, flavor, shelf-life, larger ears, consistent fill and green shucks. Three firms requested improveme nts in quality of pack issues, such as consistent size of ears and accurate ear c ount. Supply issues, especially improved dependability in product supply and increased volume, were also highlighted by three

PAGE 34

11 firms. An additional three firms would like to see wire-bound crates eliminated and a smaller, half-size crate offered to retailers. Finally, five percent of firms discussed the need for increased promotional efforts origin ating from the Southe rn Supersweet Corn Council. Table 9. Produce Buyers’ Suggested Changes fo r the Basic Product (the Corn Itself), by Firm Size. Continued. Firm Size, Suggestions Number Percent Very Large (N) (%) None 4 57 Increase white corn supply 1 14 Continue improvement in flavor, sweetness 1 14 Promote bi-colora 1 14 Large None 2 25 Get out of wirebound cratesa 1 12 Hold sugar longer 2 25 Increase barrel size, bigger ears 2 25 Avoid skips in supply 1 12 Enhance sweetness 2 25 Strict cooling practices 1 12 Medium None 5 36 Reduce cost 1 12 Get away from wooden crates 1 12 Use smaller packages(i.e. crate) 1 12 Have consistent size, number of ears in crate 1 12 Have consistent fill, less crooked lines 1 12

PAGE 35

12 Table 9. Continued. a These suggestions obviously do not deal with the product itself, but they are left in because this question was one of the first to afford an opportunity for buyers to offer suggestions for improvement. Firm Size, Suggestions Number Percent Medium continued. (N) (%) Grow varieties with green shuck 1 12 Grow varieties with larger ears 1 12 Strive for highest suga r, best flavor 1 12 Do more consumera marketing in consumer magazines 1 12 Small None 5 50 Uniform pack count 1 10 Consistent quality, have it pre-packed 1 10 Stable supplies 1 10 All Firms (Summary) None 16 41 Product quality issues, e.g., improved sweetness, flavor, shelf-life, bigger ears, consistent fill, green shuck 12 31 Quality of pack, i.e., consistent size, count 3 8 Supply issues – more volume, dependable supplies 3 8 Container issues, i.e.,a eliminate wirebound, offer smaller crate. 3 8 Promotion issues, i.e.,a increase promotion 2 5

PAGE 36

13 Evaluation of Shipping Containers The following discussion includes summ aries of respondents’ current and projected usage and requirements for fresh sw eet corn packaging, shipping and storage. Virtually all stores, or 97.4 pe rcent, store corn in walk-in coolers (the exception was one small firm that did not know where the corn was stored). The average temperature of storage facilities was 38.3 F, and a range of 34 – 50 degrees was given by all firms. Across firms, only three of the very large and four of the la rge firms have had first-hand experience with Returnable Plastic Containe rs (RPCs) (Table 10). These seven firms accounted for combined 1999 sales of over $89 billi on, or 40 percent of total firms’ sales. None of the 24 medium or small firms had rece ived sweet corn in RPCs. Almost all had received corn in wire-bound wooden crates, a nd about three-fourths had received corn in corrugated boxes. Table 10. Produce Buyers’ Experience With Va rious Types of Sweet Corn Containers, by Firm Size. Firms Having Experience with Firm Size RPC’s Wirebound Corrugated (N) (%)a (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 3b 43 7 100 5 71 Large 4b 50 8 100 3 38 Medium 0 0 12 86 12 86 Small 0 0 10 100 9 90 All Firms 7 18 37 95 29 74 a All percentages are based upon the numbers of firms w ithin the respective categories, i.e. there were 10 small, 14, medium, 8 large, and 7 very large firms for a total of 39. b Four of the very large firms, representing $69.3 billio n in sales, claimed experience with RPCs. Three large firms, with combined sales of $19.8 billion, also have r eceived corn in RPCs. The very large chains anticipate signifi cant increases in usage of RPCs over the next five years, increasing from about 14 pe rcent of total in 2000-01 to nearly 44 percent in the 2005-06 season (Table 11). RPC usage by large firms is projected to increase more

PAGE 37

14 than 55 percent by 2005-06, with very large firms forecasting an additional 29 percent improvement in RPC usage in five years. Corrugated box usage was projected to incr ease for all firm si ze categories except for large firms, 80 percent of which anticipa ted going to RPCs excl usively (Table 13). Overall usage of corrugated boxes was projec ted to rise from about 17 percent to 32.5 percent over the next five years. Increases in RPC and corrugated box usage were projected to come at the expense of wire-bound crates (Table 12). Overall us age of wire-bound crat es was projected to decline from about 70 percent to less than 24 percent by the 2005-06 season. In particular, very large, large and medium fi rms plan to drop wirebound crate us age by an average of almost 48 percent within the next fi ve years. Medium firms expect to convert all incoming sweet corn cont ainers from wire-bound crat es to corrugated boxes, projecting zero usage of RPCs. Table 11. Current and Projecte d RPC Usage, by Firm Size. a Estimated Returnable Plastic Container Usage Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06 (---------------------------Percent------------------------------) Very Large 14.2 18.4 43.6 Large 25.3 48.1 80.9 Medium 0.0 2.6 b 0.0 Small 0.0 0.0 6.6 All Firms 13.9 20.3 44.6 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution b One firm anticipated RPC usage for 2001-02 seas on, but would not estimate usage for 2005-06. Thus they were not included in data for 2005-06.

PAGE 38

15 Table 12. Current and Projected Wi rebound Crate Usage, by Firm Size. Estimated Wirebound Crate Usage Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06 (---------------------------Percent------------------------------) Very Large 66.1 61.8 21.1 Large 73.2 50.2 19.1 Medium 78.9 60.8 34.4 Small 95.5 89.4 75.4 All Firms 69.2 61.0 23.8 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution Table 13. Current and Projected Co rrugated Box Usage, by Firm Size. a Estimated Corrugated Box Usage Firm Size 2000-01 2001-02 2005-06 (---------------------------Percent------------------------------) Very Large 19.8 19.8 35.4 Large 1.5 1.7 0.0 Medium 21.1 36.5 65.6 Small 4.5 10.6 18.6 All Firms 16.9 18.8 32.5 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution Retailers using the various types of c ontainers were asked to rate the key attributes, such as protection of fresh sweet corn from bruising, abi lity of crate to allow for immediate cooling, handling eas e and safety at the retail level, suitab ility for display, ease of return or disposal, and overall satisfac tion (Table 14). A rati ng scale of zero to ten was offered to respondents to grade thes e crate attributes, where zero represents extremely poor and a score of ten indicates excellent performance.

PAGE 39

16 Table 14. Produce Buyers’ Ratings of Selected Container Attributes of RPCs, Wirebound Crates, and Corrugated Boxes. Type of Container Attribute RPC Wirebound Corrugated (-----------------------Average ratingsa ------------------------) Protection from bruising 6.9 5.1 7.5 Allows quick cooling 8.2 6.9 5.7 Ease of handling (by retailers) 8.4 4.9 7.1 Suitability for display 7.9 2.4 4.8 Ease of return/disposal 7.0 2.8 5.9 Overall satisfaction 7.3 4.4 6.6 a Attributes were rated on a zero to 10 scale where ze ro was defined as “very poor” and 10 was “excellent”. In general, wire-bound crat es received the lowest ratings, achieving an overall satisfaction score of merely 4.4 out of ten. RP Cs received the highest ratings on all of the described attributes, with the exception of bruising protection, where corrugated boxes prevailed. Corrugated boxes claimed the second rated preference overall, with an overall score of 6.6; although many handlers found the b ox easy to handle and relatively safer, it poor score of 4.8 as a suitable display cont ainer left it behind the overall higher-ranked RPCs. Firms using RPCs, while few, generally liked them very mu ch, citing better precooling, easier handling, labor and time effi cient, and possessed of preferred display qualities (Table 15). RPC disadvantages in clude concerns about pack size, potential increased retailer costs, and container size as it relates to display issues (Table 16). Although several very large and large firms i ndicated RPCs to be worth a “premium”, most said they were not, and almost all refu sed to indicate a premium value, claiming the benefits gained in terms of co st-savings accrued solely on the se llers’ behalf (Table 17).

PAGE 40

17 Table 15. Advantages of Returnable Plasti c Containers Cited by Respondents by Firm Size and Response Order. Size of Firm, a Response Order Comments b Very Large Primary Responses : better pre-cooling; easier hand ling; time-saver; display better Secondary Responses : display better; better cooling Tertiary Responses : less product damage Large Primary responses : lower garbage cost; shrinkage c ontrol; great for display; improve quality; cost for disposal is probably less than for wire bound crates Secondary responses : better for environment; less damage to the product Tertiary responses : labor saving a No medium or small chains had first hand experience with RPCs, therefore they were not asked this question. b Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. Table 16. Disadvantages of Returnable Plasti c Containers Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order. Size of Firm,a Response Order Comments b Very Large Primary Responses : 2.5 RPC too deep for display#2 is better ergonomically; none(2) Large Primary Responses : inconsistent supplies; pack size is a concern; cost; freshness; none Secondary Responses : ice may not drain correctly; handling difficulty(2) Tertiary Responses : if they add to produc t cost, then will not use a No medium or small chains had first hand experience with RPCs, therefore they were not asked this question. b Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 41

18 Table 17. RPC Users’ Response to the Ques tion “Are RPCs Worth a Premium to the Typical Retail Firm?”, by Firm Size. Are RPCs Worth a Premium? Firm Sizea Yes No (--------------------Number of Firms-------------------) Very Large 1 2 Large 2 2 a No “Medium” or “Small” chains had first-hand experi ence with RPCs, therefore they were not asked this question. While all firms are projecting an averag e 45 percent decrease in wire-bound crate usage within the next five seasons, several firms mention positive attributes including ease of use, ability to stack and recycle, a nd good cooling of the corn (Table 18). The generally pervasive dislike of wire-bound crates is due to damage inflicted on the corn, injuries to workers, poor display qualities, and dispos al problems (Table 19).

PAGE 42

19 Table 18. Advantages of Wire Bound Crates Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order. Size of Firm, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : none; they keep corn wet; ease of cooling the co rn(4); ease of loading on trucks Secondary Responses : ease of cooling Large Primary Responses : none; less cost for shipper; preice allows drainage; keeps cost down; corn can breathe; less sh rink than RPCs; ease of cooling Secondary Responses : decent for display; visibility Medium Primary Responses : none(4); shipping and handling ease ; getting more corn on truck; easy to hydrate; easier ice drainage ; ease of cooling corn(3); Small Primary Responses : none; ease of use; good cooling(4); best options; easy to handle; cooling and top icing; retail display Secondary Responses : stackable(2); good breathing(2) ; better protection; easy to dispose; also recyclable to farmers Tertiary Responses : count, size better a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 43

20 Table 19. Disadvantages of Wi re Bound Crates Cited by Re spondents, by Firm Size and Response Order. Size of Firm, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : bruises product; waste manageme nt; danger at stores-wires and splinters cause injuries; safety factors; can’t display; handling is hazardous; disposal difficult and costly Secondary Responses : hard to stack; difficult coo ling; disposal(2); condition of crates-sharp edges, splinters Tertiary Responses : cannot display; cost of disposal Large Primary Responses : old world; high cost of dispos al; dirty; unsturdy crates can damage corn (2); disposal(2); damage to corn Secondary Responses : too much waste; does not disp lay well; hard to open; disposal Tertiary Responses : injuries from handling; tears clothes/fingernails Medium Primary Responses : expense of disposal; many disa dvantages; lack of stability; disposal; lack of stacking ability on pa llet; lack of protectin g product integrity; injuries due to handling(2); damage to pr oduct(2); drying of product; handling can be difficult at times Secondary Responses : corn is easily damaged; aw kward for stacking; handling hazardous; pallets fall; not very pr otective of corn; difficult to handle; bruising Tertiary Responses : difficult to break down; looks unsanitary Small Primary Responses : none; damage to the corn(5); di splay negative; injuries from wire; air drying shucks; in consistent counts of ears packed Secondary Responses : injury to handlers; splinters; moisture loss-dry shucks; poor display a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. Ease of cooling, hydration, breath-ab ility and handling benefits are the overwhelming positive attributes for use of co rrugated boxes (Table 20). Yet it is these

PAGE 44

21 same preferences that cause the major disadva ntages of instability, tendency to collect dirt, and problems with waste management (Table 21). Table 20. Advantages of Corrugated Boxe s Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order. Size of Firm, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : none; less bruising; disposal eas ier; safer handling; protects product better Secondary Responses : better cooling; display advantage Tertiary Responses : ease of handling and shipping out to stores with other boxes Large Primary Responses : ease of display if cardboard is European; second choice after RPCs; eliminates damage to corn; protects product better Secondary Responses : efficiency of display because they stack better; holds moisture in better Medium Primary Responses : protection of product; sturdiness protects corn; easi er to use; handling; transports well; stacking; protects integrity of product; may hold and protect corn better; easier to ha ndle and display; produc t keeps its freshness and moisture; handling ease(2) Secondary Responses : lighter for handling; easier di sposal; protects the product; looks more sanitary; better for products Tertiary Responses : lower injuries; no wires, no icing Small Primary Responses : easier storage; less damage to product(4); ease of handling; moisture control; displays better Secondary Responses : protection of product; easi er handling in store(2) Tertiary Responses : protection of product a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 45

22 Table 21. Disadvantages of Corrugated Boxes Cited by Respondents, by Firm Size and Response Order. Firm Size, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : none(2); wax precludes recycli ng; corn not as fresh; boxes fall apart Secondary Responses : cost of freight is higher than wire bound; product is damaged by falling out Large Primary Responses: waxed, cannot recycle; poor struct ural integrity; only a problem if waxed; weak cartons can damage corn; less efficient cooling Medium Primary Responses : none; disposal(2); if wet, they fa ll apart; leaks water and ice; if box is not correct size it becomes difficult to stack on pallet, i.e. so pallet does not fall; less on truck; fall apart; poor cooling( 2); holds more heat; boxes don’t hold shape at times Secondary Response s: can’t recycle Small Primary Responses : none(2); corn gets soggy if too much ice put into the box; poorer cooling(2); slick-hard to pi ck up; useless after empty; corn doesn’t get to breathe; does not display well a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses. Only one user of RPCs was willing to give a disposal/return cost estimate, and his estimate was 0.10 cents per container. Disposal cost estimates were identical, averaging 0.19 cents per container and ranging from zero to 0.75 cents each (Table 22).

PAGE 46

23 Table 22. Produce Buyers’ Disposal/Return Co st Estimates for Various Types of Containers. Type of Container Number of EstimatesRange Average (---------------------Dollars------------------------) RPC 1 N.A. 0.10 Wirebound 7 0.0 – 0.75 0.19 Corrugated 9 0.0 – 0.75 0.19 In summary, respondents were asked for suggested changes to fresh sweet corn shipping containers and pack aging, and sixty-nine percen t responded with ideas for improvement (Table 23). Reflecting their preference for RPCs, very large and large firms asked for safe, clean, display-friendly crates that benefite d the product without incurring any additional costs to retailers. Se veral also mentioned the need for consistent crate size and pack. Various specific reco mmendations were noted: some requested a shucked tray of 4-5 ears pre-packed by th e shippers representi ng 5 10 percent of shipped volume, others preferred the #2 size over the #2.5 size for display purposes. The preference for corrugated boxes among the small and medium firms was also reemphasized in the suggestions, as these retailer s also desire to move to safer, displayready boxes.

PAGE 47

24 Table 23. Suggested Changes to Containers and Packaging, Comments by Firm Size and Response Order. Firm Size, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : ship in RPCs; use slush-iced corrugated containers; safe open crate made of material that won’t in jure and won’t allow product to dry out; nonechanging packaging increases consumer cost; use display-friendly packing that cools as well as wire crates; be more consis tent in the quantity per crate, or use the equivalent-size crate Secondary Responses : prefer #2 over #2.5s Large Primary Responses : none(2); go to RPCs as soon as possible; use RPCs 100%; receive 100% of FL-GA sweet corn in WBC, and greater than 90% in WBC from all other sweet corn suppliers-suggest not twisting WBC and stacking crates better, using more CHEP pallets to minimize damage; free-pack ing shucked tray of 4-5 ears, maybe 510% of shipped volume; need to have c onsistent crate size and pack; better protection for corn Secondary Responses : RPC units are probably right way to go, however growers seem resistant Medium Primary Responses : none(4); don’t ship in wire bound crates, use waxed boxes with slush ice; use cardboard for packing; stop using wirebound crate; transport iceless in so me sort of cardboard; would lik e to see more corrugated wax box; go with new display-ready corrugate d boxes; make sure there are uniform counts in boxes; use more corrugated boxes(2 ); use stronger material for corrugated boxes Secondary Responses : use crate size ; use iceless boxes Tertiary Responses : put growers name on boxes Small Primary Responses : none(5); something in between wire-bound and corrugated boxes; lighter packaging; switch to corru gated, wax boxes; uniform size to accommodate same size; better containers for display a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate numbers of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 48

25 Retailers’ In-store Mercha ndising and Promotion Practices This section describes the merchandising practices retailers enforce in their store locations, and includes in-depth responses concerning prom otional practices specific to fresh sweet corn throughout the year. When not featur ed, or on-advertisement, 72 percent of sweet corn is so ld bulk unshucked, just over 25 percent is sold partially shucked in tray packs, and only 2 percent is so ld completely shucked in tray packs (Table 24). Large firms present the majority of off-ad, bulk, unshucked product, offering more than 86 percent in this form, which is more than twice that of small firms, which carry nearly 39 percent in this non-packaged format In total, small firms present a unique finding, where nearly 62 percent of all sweet corn sales are tray packe d, either partially or completely shucked, when the product is not featured. Table 24. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Not Featured. Packaging Method Firm Size Bulk, Unshucked Tray Pack, Partially Shucked Tray Pack, Completely Shucked (----------------------------Percenta-------------------------------) Very Large Weighted average 69.6 27.5 2.9 Range 1 – 90.0 10 – 90.0 0 – 5.0 Large Weighted average 86.1 10.6 3.4 Range 50 – 100.0 0 – 50.0 0 – 10.0 Medium Weighted average 73.1 24.6 2.3 Range 0 – 100.0 0 – 100.0 0 – 20.0 Small Weighted average 38.6 42.5 19.0 Range 0 – 90.0 0 – 95.0 0 – 90.0 All Firms Weighted average 72.3 25.3 2.4 Range 0 – 100.0 0 – 100.0 0 – 90.0 a All percentages are weighted by responding fi rms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution

PAGE 49

26 When featured on-ad, on average across firms, over 90 percent is sold bulk, unshucked, less than eight percen t is sold partially shucked in tray packs, and only one percent is completely shucked in tray packs (Table 25). Interestingly, medium and small firms still offer 19.3 and 17.9 percent, respectively, tray packed and either partially or completely shucked when sweet corn is on-ad. Table 25. Packaging Methods for Sweet Corn when Featured. Packaging Method Firm Size Bulk, Unshucked Tray Pack, Partially Shucked Tray Pack, Completely Shucked (--------------------------Percent a -----------------------------) Very Large Weighted average 91.0 7.0 0.8 Range 70 – 95.0 2 – 30.0 0 – 5.0 Large Weighted average 96.1 1.7 2.3 Range 90 – 100.0 0 – 10.0 0 – 10.0 Medium Weighted average 80.7 17.2 2.1 Range 20 – 100.0 0 – 100.0 0 – 20.0 Small Weighted average 82.1 15.1 2.8 Range 50 – 100.0 0 – 50.0 0 – 10.0 All Firms Weighted average 91.3 7.6 1.2 Range 20 – 100.0 0 – 100.0 0 – 20.0 a All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution When not featured on ad, 95 percent of a ll firms use refrigerated displays (Table 26). However, when sweet corn is featured or advertised, over two-thirds (86 percent of very large firms) use unrefrigerated displa ys (Table 27). Thus, there may be some product deterioration during adve rtised periods, especially in stores with relatively low sales volume.

PAGE 50

27 Table 26. Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Not Featured, by Firm Size. Type of Display Firm Size Refrigerated and mist Refrigerated only Unrefrigerated (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 4 57 3 43 0 0 Large 5 71 2 29 0 0 Medium 8 57 4 29 2 14 Small 5 56 4 44 0 0 All Firms 22 59 13 35 2 5 a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses from 7 very large, 7 large, 13 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 37. One respondent from a small firm did not know what type of display was used for non-featured periods. Totals may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 27.Type of Displays Used for Sweet Corn When Featured, by Firm Size. Type of Display Firm Size Refrigerated and mist Refrigerated only Unrefrigerated (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 0 0 1 14 6 86 Large 2 29 2 29 3 43 Medium 0 0 3 23 10 77 Small 1 10 3 30 6 60 All Firms 3 8 9 24 25 68 a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses from 7 very large, 7 large, 13 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 37. One medium-sized firm never features sweet corn. Totals may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding When not featured or advertised, few fi rms sell sweet corn directly out of the shipping containers, regardless of container type (Table 28). Less than five percent of total sweet corn volume is sold in this manner. However, when corn is featured on-ad, nearly one-third of total volume is sold di rectly out of the containers. The largest differences appear in the very large and larg e firm categories, where increases of 23 and 53 percent, respectively, occur in total volumes of sweet corn sold out of containers while featured. Thus, container display qualities are very important dur ing high sales volume periods.

PAGE 51

28 Table 28. Percentage of Sweet Corn Sold Dire ctly Out of Shipping Crates or Containers, by Firm Size. Percentages Sold Directly Out of Shipping Containers Firm Size When Not Featured When Featured (---------------------------Percenta------------------------------) Very Large Weighted average b 5.4 28.2 Simple average 2.9 28.6 Range 0 – 20.0 0 – 60.0 Large Weighted average b 3.6 61.8 Simple average 3.6 55.7 Range 0 – 10.0 0 – 100.0 Medium Weighted average b 0.6 9.9 Simple average 0.7 11.9 Range 0 – 10.0 0 – 75.0 Small Weighted average b 2.1 13.9 Simple average 2.0 15.0 Range 0 – 10.0 0 – 60.0 All Firms Weighted average b 4.6 31.0 Simple average 2.0 24.2 Range 0 – 20.0 0 – 100.0 a All percentages are based upon the nu mber of firms responding in each category. There were responses from 7 very large, 7 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms, for a total of 38 firms. b All percentages are weighted by responding firms’ 1999 sales as reported in Progressive Grocer’s 2001 Marketing Guidebook: The Blue Book of Grocery Distribution A wide variety of produce items are typi cally merchandised alongside sweet corn in most stores. Green beans, potatoes, “gr eens”, “cooking vegetables”, “hard” vegetables such as broccoli and carrots and many others were mentioned, regardless of advertisement status of fresh sw eet corn or firm size categor y (Tables 29 and 30). Many of the items mentioned require far more cooki ng time relative to fresh sweet corn. Future positioning of sweet corn with items consider ed “quick-cooking” or convenience dishes may be advantageous.

PAGE 52

29 Table 29. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Not Featuring Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Firm Size Comments a Very Large Green beans(3); other wet rack items; va rious vegetables(3); squash; potatoes; red potatoes Large Beans; different in each store-use Eur opean look, table with cauliflower, artichoke, tomatoes in summer; cooking vegetables(3); vegetable items; leaf lettuce; varies by season; asparagus; cauliflower Medium Green beans(3); various garden vegetables ; other vegetables(2 ); none[free standing display]; cooking vegetables; red potatoes; tomatoes(3); cooking greens; carrots; new potatoes; peppers; baking potatoe s(2); potatoes(2); roots; hard vegetables, i.e. broccoli and carrots; mushrooms Small Other cooking vegetables(4); green beans; between greens; hard vegetables; squash; mini carrots; various vegetables; broccoli crowns a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 53

30 Table 30. Produce Items Displayed Adjacent to Sweet Corn when Featuring Sweet Corn by Firm Size. Firm Size Comments a Very Large Green beans(2); seasonal items; squash; potatoes Large By itself(2); cooking vegetables; potatoes Medium Green beans(3); garden vegetables(2 ); baking potatoes(2); tray packs; new potatoes(2); tomatoes(4); carrots; vari ous vegetables; peppers; onions; potatoes(2); mushrooms; none(2) Small Melons; carrots; vidalia onions ; other cooking vegetables; by itself; baking potatoes; peppers; cantaloupes; onions(3) a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses. Non-produce product tie-ins were fairly predictable: heavy on butter, squeeze butter/margarine, salt, corn sk ewers, spices, and grilling item s (Table 31). Some of these items may afford an opportunity fo r cooperative promotional activities.

PAGE 54

31 Table 31. Non-Produce Tie-ins Successfully Sold with Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Size of Firm Comments a Very Large Butter; corn skewers (4); squeeze margarine; squeeze butter (3); salt; kettles Large Corn boils; skewers; prongs; sw eet butter; butter (2); spices (2); salt (2); grilling items; foil or foil pouches Medium Parkay; corn skewers (4); corn so akers; grilling equipment; meat; butter (4); salt (4); crawfish; squeeze butter; charcoal; roasting pots; squeeze margarine Small Corn skewers (5); butter(4); ma rgarine; grills; roasting kits; salt (2) a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. Survey respondents were queried as to th eir past usage of several specific pointof-sale materials. For each activity used, reta ilers were asked to subjectively describe whether it was very effective, somewhat eff ective, or not effective in promoting fresh sweet corn for their stores (the results are listed in Tables 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 44 and 46). In particular, price cards recipes, and nutritional broc hures were some of the most widely used materials. Radi o and television spots were al so used by about 40 – 50 percent of all firms. However, price cards provided by outside marketing coalitions have limited appeal, as some firms have unique si ze and style requirements. For in-depth analyses of the number of firms claiming prom otional activities to be very or somewhat effective, actual total numb ers of stores and sales are provided in Tables 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43 and 45.

PAGE 55

32 Table 32. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Demonstrations/Sampling for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 1 a 1 0 5 Large 1 3 0 3 Medium 0 1 0 13 Small 1 1 0 8 All Firms 3 8 6 16 0 0 29 76 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 33. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of InStor e Demonstration/Sampling “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 2 2716 51.9 Large 4 883 24.4 Medium 1 125 1.6 Small 2 263 1.0 All Firms 9 3987 78.9 Table 34. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Videotapes for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 1 a 0 1 5 Large 0 0 1 6 Medium 0 0 0 14 Small 0 0 0 10 All Firms 1 3 1 3 0 0 29 76 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 56

33 Table 35. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of In-Store Videotapes “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 1 1016 16.0 Large 0 0 0 Medium 0 0 0 Small 0 0 0 All Firms 1 1016 1600 Table 36. Past Use and Ratings of In-Store Radio Spots for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 0 a 3 3 1 Large 1 3 1 2 Medium 3 5 0 6 Small 1 1 0 8 All Firms 7 18 10 26 1 3 21 55 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 37. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Radio Spots “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 3 3630 62.2 Large 4 847 24.1 Medium 8 3183 13.9 Small 2 72 1.5 All Firms 17 7732 101.7

PAGE 57

34 Table 38. Past Use and Ratings of TV Spots for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 2 a 1 0 4 Large 4 0 1 2 Medium 0 1 0 13 Small 1 1 0 8 All Firms 12 32 2 5 1 3 23 61 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 39. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of TV Spot s “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 3 4780 89.1 Large 4 550 12.5 Medium 5 2633 6.9 Small 2 72 1.5 All Firms 14 8335 113.0 Table 40. Past Use and Ratings of Banners/Lar ge Posters for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 1 a 2 0 4 Large 3 0 1 3 Medium 4 2 0 8 Small 1 3 0 6 All Firms 9 24 7 18 1 3 21 55 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 58

35 Table 41. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Banners/Lar ge Posters “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 3 4670 92.1 Large 3 637 18.2 Medium 6 2657 9.1 Small 4 216 2.7 All Firms 16 8480 122.0 Table 42. Past Use and Ratings of Small Fo rmat Price/Case Cards for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 2 a 2 0 3 Large 1 2 2 2 Medium 4 3 0 7 Small 2 2 0 6 All Firms 9 24 9 24 2 5 18 47 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 43. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Pr ice/Case Cards “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 4 6166 111.1 Large 3 886 19.5 Medium 7 2764 10.5 Small 4 495 3.3 All Firms 18 10611 144.5

PAGE 59

36 Table 44. Past Use and Ratings of Recipe Cards for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 1 a 1 2 3 Large 1 3 2 1 Medium 1 4 2 7 Small 0 3 1 6 All Firms 3 8 11 29 7 18 17 45 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 45. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Recipe Ca rds “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 2 5916 98.5 Large 4 850 19.2 Medium 5 941 9.5 Small 3 199 3.0 All Firms 14 8206 13.02 Table 46. Past Use and Ratings of Nutritiona l Brochures for Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Ratings Firm Size Very Effective Somewhat Effective Not Effective Did Not Use/ Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 1 a 0 1 5 Large 1 3 1 2 Medium 1 4 1 8 Small 0 3 2 5 All Firms 3 8 10 26 5 13 20 53 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 60

37 Table 47. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents Rating Use of Nutritional Brochures “Very Effective” or “Somewhat Effective”, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 1 2716 51.9 Large 4 896 20.8 Medium 5 526 7.3 Small 3 240 3.7 All Firms 13 4378 83.6 Survey respondents were asked what kinds of point-of-sale materials supplied by the sweet corn industry would likely be used. For each activity mentioned, retailers were asked to subjectively describe whether their firms were very likely, somewhat likely, or not at all likely in promoting fr esh sweet corn for their stores (the results are listed in Tables 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62, 64, 66 and 68). Recipe cards were the most popular, with interest expressed by 28 of the 39 fi rms, which represents over 12,000 stores and $175 billion in sales. Electronic ad slicks we re the second most popular item, likely to be used by 27 firms, which repres ent about 10, 600 st ores and $161.7 billion in total sales. Hard copy ad slicks were next in popularit y, appealing to 24 firms with over 9,000 stores and sales of $117 billion. For in-depth an alyses of the number of firms claiming promotional activities to be very or somewhat effective, actual total numbers of stores and sales are provided in Tables 49, 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 67 and 69.

PAGE 61

38 Table 48. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using In-S tore Videotapes, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 2 a 2 2 1 Large 7 0 1 6 0 Medium 14 2 2 10 0 Small 10 2 2 5 1 All Firms 38 6 16 7 18 23 61 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 49. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use In-Store Videotapes, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 4 3616 53.4 Large 1 200 4.3 Medium 4 2139 6.0 Small 4 186 2.7 All Firms 13 6141 66.3 Table 50. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Ad S licks (hard copy), if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 2 a 2 2 1 Large 7 1 4 2 0 Medium 14 3 5 6 0 Small 10 4 3 2 1 All Firms 38 10 26 14 37 12 32 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 62

39 Table 51. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Ad Slicks (hard copy), by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 4 5200 82.6 Large 5 886 19.5 Medium 8 2900 13.0 Small 7 389 4.7 All Firms 24 9375 119.7 Table 52. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Ad S licks (electronic copy) if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 4 a 1 1 1 Large 7 2 4 1 0 Medium 14 5 3 6 0 Small 10 4 4 1 1 All Firms 38 15 39 12 32 9 24 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 53. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Ad Slicks (electronic copy), by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 5 6900 118.4 Large 6 1023 26.7 Medium 8 2583 12.8 Small 8 432 5.2 All Firms 27 10938 163.1

PAGE 63

40 Table 54. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Radio Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 1 a 2 3 1 Large 7 1 4 2 0 Medium 14 1 5 8 0 Small 10 1 3 4 1 All Firms 38 4 11 14 38 17 46 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 55. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewha t Likely” to Use Radio Scripts, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 3 4530 69.5 Large 5 850 19.2 Medium 6 2623 9.0 Small 4 405 2.4 All Firms 18 8108 100.1 Table 56. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using TV Scripts, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 1 a 2 3 1 Large 7 2 2 3 0 Medium 14 2 2 10 0 Small 10 1 1 6 1 All Firms 38 6 16 7 19 22 59 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 64

41 Table 57. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use TV Scripts, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 3 4050 66.4 Large 4 596 14.1 Medium 4 2123 5.7 Small 2 55 1.0 All Firms 13 6824 87.2 Table 58. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Banners/ Posters, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. b Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 0 a 2 4 1 Large 7 2 4 1 0 Medium 14 4 5 5 0 Small 10 4 4 1 1 All Firms 38 10 26 15 39 11 29 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. b “Banners/posters” were defined as 2’ x 3’ or larger. Table 59. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Banners/ Posters, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 2 2370 49.0 Large 6 1023 26.7 Medium 9 2970 14.8 Small 8 641 5.2 All Firms 25 7004 95.7

PAGE 65

42 Table 60. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Pric e Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 1 a 1 4 1 Large 7 0 2 5 0 Medium 14 3 0 11 0 Small 10 5 2 2 1 All Firms 38 9 24 5 13 22 58 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 61. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Price Cards, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 2 3616 59.1 Large 2 246 6.2 Medium 3 2137 5.1 Small 7 541 4.5 All Firms 14 6540 74.9 Table 62. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Case Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 1 a 1 4 1 Large 7 1 1 5 0 Medium 14 2 1 11 0 Small 10 4 2 2 1 All Firms 38 8 22 5 14 22 59 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 66

43 Table 63. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Case Cards, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (-----------------Number--------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 2 3616 59.1 Large 2 336 7.5 Medium 3 2137 5.1 Small 6 509 3.8 All Firms 13 6598 75.5 Table 64. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Reci pe Cards, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 3 a 3 0 1 Large 7 2 4 1 0 Medium 14 4 6 4 0 Small 10 3 3 3 1 All Firms 38 12 32 16 42 8 21 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 65. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Recipe Cards, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 6 7916 134.4 Large 6 1036 23.1 Medium 10 3140 16.0 Small 6 241 3.4 All Firms 28 12333 176.9

PAGE 67

44 Table 66. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Displa y Contests, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 1 a 1 4 1 Large 7 3 2 2 0 Medium 14 3 4 7 0 Small 10 3 3 2 1 All Firms 38 10 27 10 27 15 41 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding. Table 67. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Display Contests, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 2 1450 23.3 Large 5 736 16.4 Medium 7 2937 10.0 Small 6 449 3.7 All Firms 20 5572 53.3 Table 68. Retailers’ Likelihood of Using Nutr itional Brochures, if Provided by the Sweet Corn Industry, by Firm Size. Likelihood of Use Firm Size N Very Likely Somewhat Likely Not at all likely Don’t Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 3 a 2 1 1 Large 7 1 5 1 0 Medium 14 3 6 5 0 Small 10 3 5 1 1 All Firms 38 10 26 18 47 8 21 2 5 a Percentages were not calculated for responses within individual firm size categories because of small numbers of observations. Percentages of “All Firms” may not sum to 100 due to rounding.

PAGE 68

45 Table 69. Number of Firms, Number of Stores and Associated Total Sales of Respondents “Very Likely” or “Somewhat Likely” to Use Nutritional Brochures, by Firm Size. Firm Size Firms Stores Sales (------------------Number---------------------------) (-------Billions $------) Very Large 5 5316 91.3 Large 6 1036 23.1 Medium 9 2975 14.0 Small 8 522 4.9 All Firms 28 9849 133.3 In summary, direct comparisons between retail ers’ past usage and ra tings (Table 70) and likelihood of usage data should the promotiona l activity be sponsored by the sweet corn industry (Table 71) are made available and ra nked according to total sales estimates to allow for budgetary sensitivity analyses. Table 70. In-store Promotional Materials Ra ted as Very or Somewhat Effective. Promotional Materials Very/Somewhat Effective Stores Total Sales (in billions $) (--------------Numb er--------------) (----billions$----) Price Cards/ Case Cards 18 10611 144.5 Radio Scripts 17 7732 101.7 Banners/ Posters 16 8480 122.0 TV Scripts 14 8335 113.0 Recipe Cards 14 8206 130.2 Nutritional Brochures 13 4378 83.6 In-store Demonstration/ Sampling 9 3987 78.9 In-Store Videotapes 1 1016 16.0

PAGE 69

46 Table 71. Promotional Materials Likely to be Used by Retailers. Promotional Materials Very/Somewhat Likely Number of Stores Total Sales (in billions $) (--------------Number-------------) (----billions$----) Recipe Cards 28 12333 176.9 Electronic Ad Slicks 27 10938 163.1 Nutritional Brochures 28 9849 133.3 Hard Copy Ad Slicks 24 9375 119.7 Radio Scripts 18 8408 100.1 Banners/Posters 25 7004 95.7 TV Scripts 13 6824 87.2 Price Cards/ Case Cards 14 6540 74.9 In-store Video Tapes 13 6141 66.3 Display Contests 20 5572 53.3 Other popular activities included banners, poste rs and radio scripts (Table 72). Very large and large firms recommended creative disp lays designed to educate consumers of the importance of shucking immediately prior to eating to preserve sweet corn freshness. One small firm suggested placing an in-store shucking bin next to product display for consumer convenience. Desired attributes of specified promoti onal materials sponsored by the sweet corn industry are included in Table 73. In general, industry-spons ored ad materials tended to have specific size, color a nd language requirements. Several retailers recommended the sweet corn industry partner with other tie -in product companies; for example, joint advertising with national br and butter marketing group, offering a butter discount coupon with purchase of sweet corn.

PAGE 70

47 Table 72. Other Retail Promotional Tools Used by Retailers, by Firm Size. Size of Firm Comments a Very Large Creative Displays Large Print ads; in house nutrition department newspaper ad driven; small sign talking to guests concerning the major issue of preserving pr oduct quality by only shucking immediately before eating Medium Nutritional charts; weekly circular Small Shucking bin next to display a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 71

48 Table 73. Retailers’ Desired Attributes for Selected Promotional Materials. Materials Comments a Hard Copy Ad Slicks Color(2); 4”x5” Banners/Posters Variable; 20”x25”; 24”x36”; 22”x28”(2); 8’x3’; 9”x13” up to double that size; 24”x120”; 4”x8”; 3’x4’-bilingual, Spanish/English; 17”x23”; 2’x5’; 2’x3’ Price Cards 7”x11”(2); must be approved; 7” x11” or 11”x14”; 8”x10”(2); 10”X12”; 3”X5”; 5”X7”; 8.5”X11” Case Cards 7”x11”; must be approved; 5”x7”(3); 6”x6”; 3”x5”; 8.5”x11” Recipe Cards 3”x5” or 3”x7” if combined with nutritional brochure; 3”x5” (16); 4”x6” or 3”x5” Display Contests Sells product 50-60-70-100 per year can be di fficult, i.e. WA cherries, CA soft fruitbut displays equal sales dollars. Use photos for evaluation, in conjunction with sales results. Nutritional Brochures 3”x7” if combined with recipe cards Other Materials Shoppers card to target different cust omers, or direct mailer; Consider coupon in ad piece, i.e. "buy dozen ears, get 50 cents off national brand butter", or "buy dozen ears, get free corn skewers" if skewers aren’t too expens ive in the case of coupons, not as many are redeemed as may be offered on the product. a Semi-colons separate comments from diffe rent respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buye rs giving similar responses. Factors Affecting Fresh Sweet Corn Advertising This section includes retailers’ respons es concerning weather influences, sweet corn advertising competition, and other factors that affect their sweet corn purchasing

PAGE 72

49 decisions. All firm sizes adver tised sweet corn prior to Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day (Table 74). Other dates mentioned included th e Easter holidays, summertime (July and August), Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and Canada’s Thanksgiving. Table 74. Particular Dates or Holidays when Sweet Corn is Featured, by Firm Size. Firm Size Comments a Very Large Easter; Memorial Day(5); Labor Day(5) ; summer holidays; Fourth of July(5); April first of season Large Labor Day(3); early spring after Easter ; all summer; Memorial Day(5); Fourth of July(4); Father’s Day; Mother’s Day Medium Memorial Day(10); Fourth of July(9); do not advertise corn or put on special; as early as possible in spring; summer holidays; Mother’s Day; Easter; La bor Day(8); start of warm weather; Cinc o de Mayo; summer(2); entire months of July and August Small Fourth of July(9); Memorial Day(9) ; Labor Day(8); Thanksgi ving-Canada; Father’s Day When asked about the effects of weather on sweet corn sales in their stores, 84 percent of all firm categories indicated that weather had a direct effect on sales (Table 75). Specifically, warm/good weather was e quated with improved sales, and cold/bad weather depressed sales of fresh sweet corn (Table 76). Some men tioned that consumers are accustomed to, and may even limit, their pu rchases of fresh sweet corn to “seasonal”, “cookout” and “holiday” occasions.

PAGE 73

50 Table 75. “Does Weather Affect Sweet Corn Sa les in Your Stores?”, Responses by Firm Size. Responses Firm Size Yes Weather Affects Sales No, Weather Does Not Affect Sales Do Not Know (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 5 71 2 29 0 0 Large 7 100 0 0 0 0 Medium 12 86 1 7 1 7 Small 8 80 2 20 0 0 All Firms 32 84 5 13 1 3 a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses from 7 very large, 7 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 38. One medium-sized firm never features sweet corn. Percentages may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 76. Effect of Weather on Sweet Corn Sales Mentioned by Respondents, by Firm Size. Firm Size Comments a Very Large Rain and cold reduce sales(4); sale s increase during hot weather; sales are down during cold weather Large Barbecue weather; when hotter and s unnier, sales increase; snowstorms decrease sales; sales go up when weather improves; weather affects sales a little; the warmer the better-sales not good when snow is on the ground (Rochester, NY); increased sales during hot and dry weather; customers us ed to seasonal; warm equals more holiday driven Medium Rain and cold lowers sales(3); go od weather equals good sales; warmer weather equals better sales(2); hot weather good for sales(2); less sold when weather is cold(2); warm weather, sunny days produce a lot of cookouts which include corn; spring warmer, sales go up Small When weather is cool, sales are down; se ll more in warmer weathe r; hot weather, nice means sales are up; nicer weather equals increased sales(2); grilling; sales increase during hot and sunny weather; sales not good during rainy weather( 2); when cold, sell less a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 74

51 The decision to advertise sweet corn, however, is not affected by local weather conditions, according to 61 percent of all resp ondents (Table 77). Weather effects are more prevalent in large firms, with 57 percen t claiming that warmer weather is the best time for advertising, while only 29 percent of th e very large firms decide not to advertise based on weather conditions. Reta ilers’ perceive improvement in sweet corn sales due to product availability, seasonal quality, and the suitability of sweet corn for warmer weather cooling activities, i.e. outdoor grilling (Table 78). Table 77. “Do Weather Conditions in your Reta il Market Area Play a Role in Your Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Ad?”, Responses by Firm Size. Responses Firm Size Weather Affects Ad Decision Weather Does Not Affect Ad Decision (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 2 29 5 71 Large 4 57 3 43 Medium 5 36 9 64 Small 4 40 6 60 All Firms 15 39 23 61 a All percentages are based upon the number of firms responding in each category. There were responses from 7 very large, 7 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 38. One medium-sized firm never features sweet corn. Percentages may not sum to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 75

52 Table 78. Effect of Weather on Decision to Put Sweet Corn on Advertisement, by Firm Size. Firm Size Comments a Very Large Warmer weather is time to advertise; advertise in hot weather Large Will put on ad all year; ads are run wh en warm weather approaches; nice day, rosy, sunny equals good sales; advertise midApril through early July because of warmer weather; warmer weathe r is good time to advertise corn Medium Weather [bad] affects availability; do not advertise corn or put on special; it’s seasonal; will advertise during warmer weat her; advertise when sunny; will advertise more during spring and summer; seasonal heat means more ads. Small Never advertise during winter; suitable fo r grilling; advertise when forecast is hot and sunny; don’t adve rtise in cold weather a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses. The primary responses across firms indica te that sweet corn competes with all other produce items for promotional considera tion, primarily melons, berries, soft fruits and cooking vegetables (Table 79 ). In contrast, three of th e large firms claim fresh sweet corn “stands alone” or has no competition when advertising decisions are made.

PAGE 76

53 Table 79. Produce Items Competing with Sweet Corn for Promotional Consideration, by Firm Size and Response Order. Size of Firm, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : cantaloupe; fruit; melons; all pr oduce in high demand-soft fruit, melon; soft fruits in spring Secondary Responses : watermelons; berries Tertiary Responses : stonefruit; berries Large Primary Responses : all produce items; most produ ce; none, stands alone(2) Medium Primary Responses : everything(2); grapes(2); canta loupes; portabellas; strawberries Secondary Responses : stonefruit(2); grapes; tomatoes Tertiary Responses : soft fruits; tomatoes, squash Small Primary Responses : everything; soft fruits; watermel ons(2); strawberries; any similar cooking vegetables Secondary Responses : melons; soft fruit; cantaloupes(2) Tertiary Responses : grapes; tomatoes a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. Major market conditions, including sweet corn price, quality, and availability, were mentioned by all firms as the main factor s effecting retailers’ advertising decisions (Table 80). Secondary re sponses include reta iler reliance on pr oduct information provided by growers and shippers, which in dicates the potential for the sweet corn industry to directly influence retailer advertising decisions.

PAGE 77

54 Table 80. Other Factors Determining Wh ether or Not to Put Sweet Corn on Advertisement, by Firm Size and Response Order. Firm Size, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : quality(2); volume (low er cost, availability)(6); Secondary Responses : peak of season; quality Tertiary Responses : cost Large Primary Responses : quality; availability, time of year; availability(2); seasonality/right price/quality Secondary Responses : cost(3); grower/shippers have to say the product is right and the quantity is available Tertiary Responses : information that there are pr oblems with the suppliers; quality Medium Primary Responses : cost(8); based on the market f actors; availability of product; do not advertise corn or put on special(2); consumer desires; quality Secondary Responses : availability(2); market conditions; quality(2); price Tertiary Responses : quality Small Primary Responses : cost(6); quality(2); availability Secondary Responses : retail price; time of mont h; season-spring and summer; availability; quality(2) Tertiary Responses : condition/quality of product a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of buyers giving similar responses. Finally, retailers were asked how the sw eet corn industry can encourage them to more aggressively feature sweet corn during the late Septembe r through early July (Table 81). Improvement of the pricing structure emerged as the number one way producers can accomplish this goal. Correction of the curren t wide fluctuations in product prices and request for future provision of “good ad pri ce” produce were offered as motivations that would inspire all firms, regard less of size. Also mentioned was the need for advance

PAGE 78

55 notice of an adequate and hi gh quality supply of product, as several felt that shippers themselves trigger fresh sweet corn sales. From a consumer standpoint, respondents suggested that by the end of the summer s eason people are “corned out”, and one very large firm offered the solution of “re-inventin g” corn as a staple vegetable. Another medium firm asked for more pre-packaged, pre-cut, attractively packaged product to impress consumers.

PAGE 79

56 Table 81. Ways To Get Retailer s to Feature or Advertise Sw eet Corn More Aggressively During The Late September – Early July Season. Size of Firm, Response Order Comments a Very Large Primary Responses : better quality product(2); keep costs down; keep price down(2); nothing comes to mind because you need quant ity to advertise; adequate supply of product(2) Secondary Responses : re-invent corn as a staple f ood so people will want to eat corn all year round; keep availability up; promotional pricing Large Primary Responses : better communication about produc tion scheduling; lower costs(2); more consistent pricing from Southern growers on all produce items including sweet corn, market fluctuations are too high (ra nging from $2-$20 from week to week) and systems cannot move fast enough at the reta il level to get rid of inventory; would advertise corn year-round if quantity/quality was availabl e and if not too pricey, shippers trigger sales-they n eed to tell reta ilers when the product is ready to go, would not advertise on major holidays as too many other products ar e on ad, but during any of the off-weeks would be willi ng to put sweet corn on ad Secondary Responses : appropriate quantity and quali ty to support ads; establish practices to prevent poor qua lity products from going out of state Medium Primary Responses : better price on corn (10); reduce cost of product, at 63 cents an ear, difficult to promote; one time per month gi ve us a good ad price so we could run a 4/$1 –5/$1 ad; improve quality(2); produce availabl e at the right price, but consumers really not interested; sees no dollar “ring up,” doesn’t sell enough to advertise corn; costs must be competitive; during the Fall it won’t help; people are “corned-out” by late summer-I suggest more pre-packaged, pre-cut, i.e. attractive packaging Secondary Responses : improve shipping containers; good availability (2 ); quality; in spring, more consistent product in the pack; better price Tertiary Responses : improve taste Small Primary Responses : retail price is what sells corn. To advertise, need a really great price like 8 ears for $1.98; ad allowances for adve rtising or discount(3); no ideas; best possible corn for cheapest price; lower cost equals hot retail; support/advance notice on pricing; banners-promotions; quality Secondary Responses : provide consistent count cr ates with high quality productaggressive prices; availability at right price a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses.

PAGE 80

57 Effectiveness of the Sout hern Supersweet Identity This last section concludes the surv ey with inquiries concerning retailers’ knowledge of sweet corn growers and shippers. As indicated in the discussion of variety preferences, the trade has a fa irly strong partiality for “Southern Supersweet”, which they view as a “variety”, not a br and name. This inclination is especially strong among the very large and large firms. The “Southern Supersweet Corn Council” does not currently enjoy a broad-based awareness within the trad e (Table 82). Only six firms, fifteen percent of the total, recognized the name. In contrast, ten executives claimed familiarity with the “American Sweet Corn Assocation” (26 percent) and 14 kne w of the “Florida Federation of Sweet Corn Growers” (36 percen t), which is impressive given the fictitious nature of these supposed orga nizations. Overall, seven firms (18 percent) said they recalled receiving promotional materials for “S outhern Supersweet Corn” (Table 83). Of these, three did not remember their impr essions of the material, and three found the information “great”, “good” and “okay” (Table 84).

PAGE 81

58 Table 82. Retailers’ Awareness of the Sout hern Supersweet Corn Council and Other Fictitious Trade Associations by Firm Size. Indicated Awareness Trade Association/Firm Size Category Number Percent a “Southern Supersweet Corn Council” Very Large 0 0.0 Large 1 12.5 Medium 3 21.4 Small 2 20.0 All Firms 6 15.4 “American Sweet Corn Assn.” Very Large 1 14.3 Large 2 25.0 Medium 4 28.6 Small 3 30.0 All Firms 10 25.6 “Florida Federation of Sweet Corn Growers” Very Large 4 57.1 Large 2 25.0 Medium 7 50.0 Small 1 10.0 All Firms 14 36.0 “National Sweet Corn Products Co-op” Very Large 2 28.6 Large 1 12.5 Medium 0 0.0 Small 0 0.0 All Firms 3 7.7 a Percentages based upon the number of respondents in each firm size category. There were 7 very large, 8 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms for a total of 39.

PAGE 82

59 Table 83. Retailers’ Recall of Having Recei ved Promotional Materials for “Southern Supersweet Corn”, by Firm Size. Retailers that Recall Having Recei ved Promotional Materials for Southern Supersweet Corn Firm Size Number Percent a Very Large 1 14.3 Large 1 12.5 Medium 3 21.4 Small 2 20.0 All Firms 7 18.0 a Percentages are based upon the number of respondent s in each firm size category. There were 7 very large, 8 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms, for a total of 39. Table 84. Respondents’ Thoughts about “Sout hern Supersweet Corn” Promotional Materials, by Firm Size. Size of Firms, Response Order Comments a Very Large Good, but not useful in stores Large Brochures Medium Don’t remember(2); nutriti onal information okay, went in store. Small No recollection; great a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of buyers giving similar responses. When asked to evaluate “Southern Supers weet Corn” as a trade name, only seven firms rated it as “very effective”; the same number rated it “moderately effective” and “slightly effective” (Tab le 85). Sixteen firms (41 percen t) found the name “not at all effective”.

PAGE 83

60 Table 85. Retailers’ Evaluation of the Trade Name “Southern Supersweet Corn”, by Firm Size. Effectiveness Rating Firm Size N Very Effective Moderately Effective Slightly Effective Not At All Effective No Opinion (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) Very Large 7 1 a 2 2 2 0 Large 8 0 2 2 3 1 Medium 14 4 1 1 7 1 Small 10 2 2 2 4 0 All Firms 39 7 18 7 18 7 18 16 41 2 5 a Percentages are not shown because of the small numbers of observations in each size category. Although some respondents made posit ive comments about the “Southern Supersweet Corn” brand name, others critici zed it for the “southern” connotation (Table 86). “Supersweet” definitely has positive as sociations and enjoys a relatively wide awareness across the nation, for both retailer s and consumers, but “Southern” does not appear to enhance the overall product image (w ith the exception of those stores located in the South, i.e. Dallas area).

PAGE 84

61 Table 86. Respondents’ Reasons for Effectiven ess Ratings of the Trade Name “Southern Supersweet Corn”, by Effectiveness Rating. Effectiveness Rating Comments a Very Effective Supersweet is best; it is already is us e and people like it; “Southern” is good in the Dallas area; supersweet means quality; c onsumer confidence that corn is sweet; name is great Moderately Effective Catchy; names aren’t important; consum ers will ask for supersweet variety; brand nameidentifiable; sounds good Slightly Effective Plenty of room for growth; “Southern ” doesn’t really resonate in the Midwest; good ring Not at All Effective Name doesn’t help corn !; not recognizable; people buy corn if it is fresh, not by brand; good stuff on counter is what sells; no impression; customers don’t care; too long!; sweet corn not marketed by name; upper Midwest customers don’t relate to “Southern” but do to “Supersweet”; re gional-Northeast; not sufficiently promoted with materials; sales not rela ted to location; haven’t heard of it yet a Semi-colons separate comments from different respondents.

PAGE 85

62 Not one firm expressed a preference fo r a branded product versus generic sweet corn (Table 87). Most said there was no di fference in profitability. Several did admit that branded product was slightly more profita ble than generic, and one assigned it to be considerably more. However, two of the respondents claimed branded products were less profitable. It appears that the trade r ecognition and appreciation of the “Supersweet” identity is still too low to command a premium price. In summary, with greater emphasis on trade communication and pr omotion, “Supersweet” could quickly evolve into a premium product with excellent image qualities at the consumer level. Table 87. Produce Buyers’ Evaluations of Prof itability of Branded vs. Generic Sweet Corn, by Firm Size. Firm Size Evaluation of Profitability Small Medium Large Very Large All Firms (N) (%)a (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) (N) (%) No Difference 7 70 10 71 7 88 6 86 30 77 Slightly less profitable 0 0 1 7 1 12 0 0 2 5 Slightly more profitable 1 10 1 7 0 0 0 0 2 5 Considerably more profitable 0 0 1 7 0 0 0 0 1 3 Do not know 2 20 1 7 0 0 1 14 4 10 Totals 10 100 14 100 8 100 7 100 39 100 a All percentages are based upon the numbers of firms w ithin the respective categories. Totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding. Percentages are based upon the number of respondents in each firm size category. There were 7 very large, 8 large, 14 medium, and 10 small firms, for a total of 39.

PAGE 86

63 Consumer Survey Consumer Survey Data Description This sample is designed to capture diffe rences in the purchase and consumption of fresh sweet corn across geographic regi ons and selected socio-demographic characteristics. The most important of th e sample characterist ics are geography, race, education level, income level, age, a nd household size. Approximately 200 responses were obtained from each of the following five cities: Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia. The exact number of responses from each city is presented in Table 88. The sample as a whole consists of 1031 completed phone interviews. Phone numbers within each city were generated randomly, ther efore the sample is representative of the populations for each of these (a nd similar) cities, but not nece ssarily for the United States as a whole. Each working, randomly-generat ed telephone number was contacted as many as six times in an attempt to obtain an interview. Call-back attempts were made at different times of the day, nights and weekends in order to assure randomness of respondents. Table 88. Number of Completed Interviews, by City. City Number Dallas 204 Atlanta 200 Chicago 201 Boston 224 Philadelphia 202 Because this sample is designed to reve al the consumption be havior of various demographic groups some over-sampling oc curs. For example, blacks make up 30.8

PAGE 87

64 percent of this sample (Table 89) compar ed to 12.3 percent of the U.S. population (2000 Census at www.infoplease.com December, 2001). In order to capture cultural differences, a new variable that combines race and ethnicity has been generated to identify Hispanics apart from other racial categories. Under this definition, “Black” refers to non-Hispanic Blac k, “White” represents only non-Hispanic Whites, and the Hispanic category represents those of Hispan ic ancestry regardless of their race. The race/ethnicity variable also has an Asian category, but the 5 American Indians in the sample and the rest of those in the “Other ” racial category (28 respondents) have been grouped in the White category. Non-Hispan ic Blacks account for 27.8 percent of the sample, non-Hispanic Whites are 59 percent, Hi spanics, 10.1 percent, and Asians make up 3.1 percent (Table 90). Table 89. Racial Composition of the Total Sample. Race Number Percent Black 302 30.78 White 564 57.49 Other 115 11.72 Table 90. Race and Ethnicity of all Respondents. Race/Ethnicity Number Percent Black, Non-Hispanic 273 27.83 White, Non-Hispanic 579 59.02 Hispanic, all races 99 10.09 Asian 30 3.06 Educational attainment was classified into two categories, “high school” and “college”. The high school category contains all those with less than a high school diploma, high school and vocational school grad uates. The college category includes all respondents that have attended or gradua ted from college. Th e high school category

PAGE 88

65 accounted for 30.5 percent of the sample, compared to 69.5 percent in the college category. Households earning at least $70,000 make up the largest income group (28 percent of the sample), followed by households earning between $35,000 and $49,999 (23 percent) and $20,000 to $34,999 (20.9 per cent). Households earning less than $20,000 constituted 12.6 percent of the sample (Table 91). Table 91. Income Distribution, All Cities. Income Level a Number Percent Under $20,000 95 12.57 $20,000 $34,999 158 20.90 $35,000 $49,999 175 23.15 $50,000 $69,000 116 15.34 $70,000 and Above 212 28.04 Table 92 Age Categories of Respondents, All Cities. Age Category Number Percent 65 and Older 146 15.26 50 – 64 171 17.87 35 – 49 263 27.48 18 – 34 377 39.39 Approximately 40 percent of the sample is between 18 and 34 years of age, while two-thirds of the respondents are younger than 50 years of age (Table 92). Two-thirds of the households have no children, while sli ghtly less than half the households (46.5 percent) have exactly two adults (Tables 93 and 94). The mean household size is 2.8 people. The sample contains nearly twice as many females (64.5 percent) as males (35.5 percent).

PAGE 89

66 Table 93. Number of Children Unde r 18 in Household, All Cities. Number of Children Number Percent 0 615 66.27 1 – 2 229 24.68 3 or More 84 9.05 Table 94. Number of Adults 18 and Older in Household, All Cities. Number of Adults Number Percent 1 342 33.89 2 469 46.48 3 or More 198 19.62 The cities chosen for this study vary si gnificantly across all the demographic variables. Income varies si gnificantly across cities; res pondents in Boston and Atlanta have the highest proportion of households with incomes of $70,000 or higher. Thirtyfive percent of households in Boston and 31 percent in Atlanta have incomes above $70,000 compared to 19 pe rcent in Philadelphia and 26 pe rcent in Dallas Conversely, 14 percent of households in Philadelphia and 13 percent in Dallas have incomes below $20,000, compared to 12 percent and 9 percent for Boston and Atlanta. Chicago has the smallest middle-income group with dispropo rtionately large fract ions having incomes below $20,000 and above $50,000 (Table 95). Sin ce education level is highly correlated with income, it is not surprising that Boston and Atlanta have the highest fractions of respondents with at least some college educat ion, while Philadelphia and Dallas have the highest fractions of respondents whose educa tion stops after high school or vocational training (Table 96).

PAGE 90

67 Table 95. Respondents’ Income Levels, by City. Income Level City a Under $20,000 $20,000 $34,999 $35,000 $49,999 $50,000 $69,666 $70,000 and Above (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 19 12.7 44 29.5 37 24.8 10 6.7 39 26.1 Atlanta 14 9.1 34 22.1 34 22.1 25 16.2 47 30.5 Chicago 21 15.1 25 18.0 28 20.1 26 18.7 39 28.1 Boston 20 11.9 25 14.9 32 19.0 32 19.0 59 28.1 Philadelphia 21 14.4 30 20.6 44 30.1 23 15.7 28 19.2 Totals 95 12.6 158 20.9 175 23.1 116 15.3 212 28.0 a Chi-square probability = 0.0052. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 96. Respondents’ Edu cational Levels, by City. Education Level City a High School or Vocational College (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 61 30.5 139 69.5 Atlanta 52 26.7 143 73.3 Chicago 58 29.4 139 70.6 Boston 46 21.2 171 78.8 Philadelphia 90 45.7 107 54.3 Totals 307 30.5 699 69.5 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 91

68 The five cities also have significantl y different racial/ethnicity profiles. Philadelphia and Atlanta have the highest pr oportion of blacks in the sample with 40 percent and 37 percent respectively. Boston a nd Dallas have the highest percentages of whites in the sample with 72 percent and 67 percent respectively. Fifteen percent of Chicago’s population is Hispanic, twelve pe rcent of Dallas’ population is Hispanic, but only five percent of the Atlanta sample is co mprised of Hispanics. The number of Asians in the sample is small (30 respondents), but they are best represented in Chicago where they make up 4.6 percent of the population (Table 97). There is considerable difference in the number of years that respondents have resided in a particular city. For example, 82 percent of respondents in Philadelphia have lived there for 16 years or more. Compare th is to Boston, where 51 percent have lived there for at least 16 years, but 30 percent have lived there for less than 6 years. Atlanta also seems to have a more mobile popu lation, while Chicago has more long-term residents (Table 98). Given th at younger adults tend to be more mobile, it is not unexpected that Philadelphia and Chicago ha ve relatively fewer young adults and more residents over 50 years of age (Table 99). In all cities, the largest age category is 18-34 years old, however, in Philadelphia, 39 percen t of the residents are over 50 years of age, and in Chicago 35 percent are over 50. This compares to only 29 percent over 50 years old in both Boston and Atla nta, where 49 percent and 43 percent respectively, are between 18 and 34 years old.

PAGE 92

69 Table 97. Racial and Ethnic Comp osition of the Sample, by City. --------------------------Race and Ethnicity ------------------------City a Black, Non-Hispanic White, Non-Hisp anic Hispanic, all races Asian (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 36 17.9 135 67.2 24 11.9 6 3.0 Atlanta 71 37.4 104 54.7 10 5.3 5 2.6 Chicago 58 29.7 99 50.8 29 14.9 9 4.6 Boston 34 16.2 152 72.4 18 8.6 6 2.9 Philadelphia 74 40.0 89 48.1 18 9.7 4 2.2 Totals 273 27.8 579 59.0 99 10.1 30 3.1 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 98. Number of Years Lived in City, by City. Years Lived in City City a 0 – 5 6 – 15 16 or more (N) (Percent b) (N) (Percent) (N) (Percent) Dallas 47 23.5 31 15.5 122 61.0 Atlanta 50 25.6 50 25.6 95 48.7 Chicago 32 16.3 26 13.7 138 70.4 Boston 66 30.4 40 18.4 111 51.2 Philadelphia 17 8.7 19 9.7 160 81.6 Totals 212 21.1 166 16.5 626 62.4 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Percents may not total to 100 due to rounding

PAGE 93

70 Table 99. Age of Respondents, by City. ------------------------------------------Age of Respondent -----------------------------------------City a 18 to 34 35 to 49 50 – 64 65 or older (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 63 33.7 61 32.6 32 17.1 31 16.6 Atlanta 81 43.1 53 28.2 29 15.4 25 13.3 Chicago 77 39.9 48 24.9 40 20.7 28 14.5 Boston 100 48.5 46 22.3 36 17.5 24 11.6 Philadelphia 56 30.6 55 30.0 34 18.6 38 20.8 Totals 377 39.4 263 27.5 171 17.9 146 15.3 a Chi-square probability = 0.0303. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 100. Number of Children in the Sample Households, by City. Number of Children City a 0 1-2 3 or More (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 134 66.3 48 23.8 20 9.9 Atlanta 119 75.8 28 17.8 10 6.4 Chicago 114 64.8 44 25.0 18 10.2 Boston 137 70.3 45 23.1 13 6.7 Philadelphia 111 56.1 64 32.3 23 11.6 Totals 615 66.3 229 24.7 84 9.0 a Chi-square probability = 0.0206. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 94

71 Table 101. Number of Adults in th e Sample Households, by City. Number of Adults City a 1 2 3 or More (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 75 37.3 98 48.8 28 13.9 Atlanta 78 40.4 83 43.0 32 16.6 Chicago 67 33.5 87 43.5 46 23.0 Boston 59 27.2 107 49.3 51 23.5 Philadelphia 63 31.8 94 47.5 41 20.7 Totals 342 33.9 469 46.5 198 19.6 a Chi-square probability = 0.0601. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. In general, households are most likely to have two adults (46 percent of all households in the sample have exactly two adu lts), and two-thirds of households have no children. However, the composition of househol ds varies by city. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of households have children, and one quarter of these have more than 3 children. In Atlanta, on the other hand, 76 percent of households have no children, and 40 percent have only one adult. Chicago has close to th e sample average of ch ildren in 35 percent of households, while Dallas and Boston fall some what below that. Chicago and Boston have the highest proportion of households (23 percen t) with 3 or more adults (Tables 100 and 101).

PAGE 95

72 General Sweet Corn Consumption Patterns In the overall sample, 667 households (67.7 percent) buy sweet corn at least once a year. The pattern of sweet-corn consum ption, however, varies significantly across nearly every demographic. In general, the proportion of sweet corn buyers increases with household size, income and education. Middle -aged consumers are more likely to buy sweet corn than young consumers, and women ar e slightly more likely to buy than men. The likelihood of a household buying sweet co rn varies significantly among the five cities. People in Chicago and Philadelphia are most likely to buy sweet corn, with 73.6 percent of respondents and 72.3 percent, respectively, buying sweet corn. Compare this to a low of 62.2 percent in Dallas and 63.8 percent in Boston (Table 102). The Chisquare statistic shows that this relationship is significant at the 5 percent level (with an alpha of 5 percent)1. Consumers in Chicago and Philadel phia also tend to buy more ears of corn in each purchase. The average number of ears purchased in Philadelphia is 8.0 and in Chicago it is 7.3. In contrast, consumer s in Dallas typically buy 5.3 ears of corn in each purchase (Table 103). Another important component in total sales of sweet corn is the number of times per year that consumers buy sweet corn. Briefly, consumers in Philadelphia buy sweet corn more frequently th an do consumers in ot her cities, but those in Chicago do not. However, because this va riable varies consid erably by season, it is discussed in detail in a following section. 1 The reported Chi-square value in Ta ble c16 is a p-value of 0.0492, which indicates that the observed pattern might o ccur randomly 4.92 percent of the time. Thus, the confidence interval for this table is greater than 95 percent, and we can say it is significant with an alpha of 5% or at the 5% level.

PAGE 96

73 Table 102. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn by City. Does Household purchase Sweet Corn? City a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 127 62.2 77 37.8 Atlanta 133 66.8 66 33.2 Chicago 148 73.6 53 26.4 Boston 143 63.8 81 36.2 Philadelphia 146 72.3 56 27.7 Totals b 697 67.7 333 32.3 a Chi-square probability = 0.0771. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 103. Average Number of Sweet Corn Ears Purchased Each Time, by City. City a Average Number of Ears Purchased Dallas 5.3 Atlanta 6.3 Chicago 7.3 Boston 6.8 Philadelphia 8.0 All Cities 6.8 Race and ethnicity do not have a statistically significant effect on whether or not consumers’ buy sweet corn, on an overall ba sis, but there are significant seasonal purchase differences. It is worth noting that Asians are much less likely than those in other races to buy sweet corn (Table 104). Education level and income level both are statistically significant determinants of the decision to buy sweet corn. The Chi-s quare statistic shows that education is significant at the five percent level, and income at the one percent level. Of those in the

PAGE 97

74 Table 104. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Race/Ethnicity Yes No (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Black, Non-Hispanic 188 68.9 85 31.1 White, Non-Hispanic 402 69.4 177 30.6 Hispanic, all races 66 67.3 32 32.6 Asian 15 50.0 15 50.0 Totals 671 68.5 309 31.5 a Chi-square probability = 0.1671. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 105. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Level of Education. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Education Level a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School, or Vocational 198 64.7 108 35.3 College 492 70.4 207 26.6 Totals 690 68.7 315 31.3 a Chi-square probability = 0.0414. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. “college” category 70.4 percent buy sweet corn versus 64.7 percen t of those in the “high school” category (Table 105). Similarly, the level of income directly affects the proportion of consumers who buy sweet corn. Of those earning less than $20,000, 57.8 percent buy sweet corn. The propor tion increases consis tently with inco me to where 82.5 percent of households with income ov er $70,000 buy sweet corn (Table 106). There are large age differences among those who buy sweet corn. Approximately 80 percent of those between 35 and 64 years of age buy sweet corn. Only 56.5 percent of those between 18 and 34 years of age buy sweet corn, while 62.3 percent of those 65 and older buy it (Table 107). This relationship is also significant at th e 99 percent level of confidence.

PAGE 98

75 Table 106. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Income Level. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Income Level a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Under $20,000 55 57.8 40 42.1 $20,000 $34,999 96 60.8 64 39.2 $35,000 $49,999 123 70.3 52 29.7 $50,000 $69,000 89 76.7 27 23.3 $70,000 and Above 175 82.5 37 17.4 Totals 538 71.2 218 28.8 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 107. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Age of Respondent. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Age of Respondent a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b 18 34 213 56.5 164 43.5 35 49 209 79.9 53 20.2 50 64 140 81.9 31 18.1 65 and Older 91 62.3 55 37.7 Totals 653 68.3 303 31.7 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Household size is associated with the decision to buy sweet corn. Households with only one adult and households with no children buy corn 61 percent and 64.5 percent of the time, respectively. On the ot her hand, more than 71 percent of households with two or more adults buy corn, and over 76 percent of households with children buy sweet corn (Tables 108 and 109). These relationships also are significant at the 99 percent level of confidence. Gender is also a significant factor in the decision to buy sweet corn, with 69.8 percent of women buying sweet corn, versus 63.8 percent of men (Table 110).

PAGE 99

76 Table 108. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Co rn, by Number of Adults in Household. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Number of Adults a Yes No (N) (Percent b) (N) (Percent) 1 208 61.0 133 39.0 2 338 72.0 131 27.9 3 or More 141 71.2 57 28.8 Totals 687 68.1 321 31.8 a Chi-square probability = 0.0002. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 109. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Number of Children Under 18 in Household. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Number of Children Under 18 a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b 0 397 64.5 218 35.4 1 2 177 77.3 52 22.7 3 or More 64 76.2 20 23.8 Totals 638 68.8 290 31.2 a Chi-square probability = 0.0006. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 110. Households’ Purchase of Sweet Corn, by Gender. Does Household Purchase Sweet Corn? Gender a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Male 233 63.8 132 36.2 Female 464 69.8 201 30.2 Totals 697 67.7 333 3203 a Chi-square probability = 0.0513. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. The most-commonly cited reason for not buying corn is that the respondent does not like the taste. Thir ty percent of all those who do not buy sweet corn gave taste as the reason (Table 111). Twenty-two percent were concerned with the amount of preparation time or inconvenience, with an additional se ven percent bothered by the messiness. Eight percent were concerned by a lack of freshne ss, while seven percent do not cook, and seven percent prefer canned or frozen corn. Dent al concerns were cited by five percent as

PAGE 100

77 a reason not to buy sweet corn, with a majority of these in the oldest age group. Price is not an important consideration for non-buye rs. Only three percent of respondents mentioned a high price as a reason not to buy sweet corn. Table 111. Reasons Respondents Do Not Buy Sweet Corn. Reason Number Percenta Don't Like Taste 96 30 Prep Time/Inconvenient 71 22 Other 57 18 Not Fresh 27 8 Do not Cook 23 7 Prefer Canned or Frozen 22 7 Too Messy 21 7 Dental Problems 16 5 Not available 15 5 Goes Bad 14 4 Health, Allergy 12 4 Don't Eat/Buy It 12 4 Texture, Starchy 11 3 Price Too High 10 3 Health, calories 10 3 Damaged 7 2 Pack Too Large 4 1 Don't Know How Cook 4 1 a Percentages are based on 321 respondents who do not buy corn. Price of fresh sweet corn. Respondents that buy sweet corn for their households were asked “In your opinion, what is a fair pr ice for fresh sweet corn on the cob?” The price considered to be fair by those who do buy corn, averaged $0.28 per ear (Table 112). Overall, 25.5 percent of those who buy corn said that a fair price per ear would be between $0.25 and $0.29 (Table 113). As many consumers were willing to pay between $0.50 and $0.59 per ear as were willing to pay $0.20 to $0.24 per ear (11.9 and 11.7 percent, respectively).

PAGE 101

78 Table 112. Respondents’ Perceived “Fair Price” for Fresh Sweet Corn, by City. City a “Fair Price” (Cents per ear) Dallas 29.7 Atlanta 34.6 Chicago 20.6 Boston 30.7 Philadelphia 23.4 All Cities 27.6 Table 113. Fair Price for Fresh Sweet Corn, by City. Fair Price Dallas (n=92) Atlanta (n=97) Chicago (n=115) Boston (n=111) Philadelphia (n=99) Total (n=514) (N) % (N) % (N) % (N) % (N) % (N) % <$0.10 11 12.0 7 7.2 7 6.1 7 6.3 13 13.1 45 8.7 $0.10-0.14 5 5.4 2 2.1 41 35.7 16 14.4 21 21.2 85 16.5 $0.15-0.19 4 4.4 3 3.1 9 7.8 4 3.6 6 6.1 26 5.1 $0.20-0.24 8 8.7 8 8.3 7 6.1 24 21.6 13 13.1 60 11.7 $0.25-0.29 29 31.5 29 29.9 33 28.7 22 19.8 18 18.2 131 25.5 $0.30-0.39 10 10.9 16 16.5 5 4.4 7 6.3 11 11.1 49 9.5 $0.40-0.49 2 2.2 3 3.1 3 2.6 6 5.4 5 5.1 19 3.7 $0.50-0.59 16 17.4 17 17.5 6 5.2 4 12.6 8 8.1 61 11.9 $0.60 or greater 7 7.6 12 12.4 4 3.5 11 9.9 4 4.0 38 7.4

PAGE 102

79 The average price considered fair by consumers varied considerably by city. At $0.35 per ear, the average price considered fair in Atlanta is over 50 percent higher than the average price in Chicago of $0.21 per ear. Th e price considered to be fair also varies by level of education, with the majority of t hose with some college education mentioning a price between $0.20 and $0.39 per ear. Consumer s with less than co llege education had somewhat higher proportions considering a fa ir price to be less than $0.20 and higher than $0.39 (Table 114). One possible explanati on for this difference is that consumers with some college education are more info rmed about corn prices. A second possible explanation is that the two groups have different patterns of consumption and are considering corn prices dur ing different seasons. The s easonality of sweet corn consumption is considered in detail in a later section. Table 114. Fair Price for Fr esh Sweet Corn, by Education. Education Level Fair Price a Less than College (n=158) Some College or Above (n=356) Total (n=514) (N) (percent) (N) (percent) (N) (percent) <$0.10 20 12.7 25 7.0 45 8.8 $0.10-0.14 29 18.4 56 15.7 85 16.5 $0.15-0.19 11 7.0 15 4.2 26 5.1 $0.20-0.24 17 10.8 43 12.1 60 11.7 $0.25-0.29 30 19.0 101 28.4 131 25.5 $0.30-0.39 10 6.3 39 11.0 49 9.5 $0.40-0.49 7 4.4 12 3.4 19 3.7 $0.50-0.59 22 13.9 39 11.0 61 11.9 $0.60 or greater 12 7.6 26 7.3 38 7.4 aChi-square probability = 0.092. Fresh sweet corn variety preferences. In general, consumers did not express a strong preference for any variety of sweet corn. Only 16.5 percent of those who buy sweet corn expressed a preferen ce for any variety at all. Of those, Silver Queen was by

PAGE 103

80 far the most popular choice, with 38 consumer s (5.7 percent) menti oning it. “Butter and Sugar” was the second-most frequently me ntioned variety with 10 responses (1.5 percent). “Southern Supersweet” was mentione d as a preferred “variety” by less than one percent of all sweet-corn buyers (Table 115). Table 115. Preferred Variety of Fresh Sweet Corn, All Cities. Preferred Variety Number Percent Silver Queen 38 5.7 Butter and Sugar 10 1.5 Jersey 6 0.9 Southern Supersweet 5 0.7 Sugar Buns 4 0.6 White 4 0.6 Kandy Korn 3 0.4 Snogold 2 0.3 Honey Sweet 1 0.1 Other 42 6.3 No Preference 553 82.8 Fresh sweet corn color preferences. Consumers do express significant differences in their preferences for a pa rticular color of sweet cor n. Yellow corn is preferred by approximately half of all corn buyers in the sample. White is the color c hoice of 29.1 percent of respondents, bi-col or is preferred by 13.4 percen t, and 7.9 percent have no preference (Table 116). The most important reason given for any colo r preference is that the respondent thinks it tastes better. This is especially true for white and bi-color buyers. Nearly two-thirds of those w ho preferred white or bi-color corn offered “Taste” as a Table 116. Color Preferences for Sweet Corn, All Buyers. Preferred Color Number Percent Yellow 343 49.49 White 202 29.15 Bicolor 93 13.42 No preference 55 7.94

PAGE 104

81 reason for their choice, compared to less than half of yellow-corn buyers (Table 117 and Figure 1). Similarly, over one-third of white -corn and bi-color corn buyers offered “Sweeter” as a reason, compared to 16 percen t of yellow corn buyers. “Habit” was the one reason frequently mentioned by yellow-co rn buyers (26 percent of respondents) that was not an important reason for other corn buyers (5 to 7 pe rcent for white and bi-color, respectively). “Appealing Color” was importa nt to 21 percent of those buying bi-color corn, and 18 percent of those buying yellow corn. Color preferences differ significantly by city. Consumers in Dallas and Chicago expressed very strong preferences for yello w corn, with over 62 percent of buyers preferring yellow corn (Table 118 and Figures 2 and 3). Philadel phia shows a marked preference for white corn over yellow cor n, with 52 percent favoring white and 39 percent choosing yellow. Consumers in Atla nta show no preference between white and yellow corn: 42 percent prefer the former and 41 percent the latter. Bi-color corn has its biggest following in Boston, where 28 percent of consumers prefer it to the other colors. Overall, Boston has the most equally divide d preferences among colors with 41 percent favoring yellow, 28 percent bi-col or, and 20 percent white corn.

PAGE 105

82 Figure 1. Major Reasons Given for a Color Preference. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Tastes Better SweeterTenderFresherAppealing color HabitPercent Yellow White Bicolor Table 117. Reasons Why Respondents Prefer a Particular Color of Sweet Corn. Reason Yellow White Bi-Color (N) Percenta (N) Percentb (N) Percentc Tastes Better 167 48.8 125 62.2 58 63.0 Habit 88 25.7 10 5.0 7 7.6 Appealing color 61 17.8 10 5.0 19 20.7 Sweeter 55 16.1 76 37.8 33 35.9 Other 17 5.0 8 4.0 7 7.6 Fresher 16 4.7 11 5.5 11 12.0 Only Type Avail. 14 4.1 0 0.0 5 5.4 Tender 14 4.1 32 15.9 14 15.2 Don't Know 12 3.5 2 1.0 4 4.3 Grew Up On It 7 2.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 More Nutritious 7 2.0 3 1.5 2 2.2 Low Price 5 1.5 1 0.5 2 2.2 Advertising 4 1.2 1 0.5 1 1.1 Better Recipes 4 1.2 7 3.5 4 4.3 Lower in Calories 3 0.9 1 0.5 1 1.1 Better Smell 1 0.3 4 2.0 2 2.2 More Firm 1 0.3 2 1.0 0 0.0 Not Too Sweet 1 0.3 3 1.5 1 1.1 Organic 1 0.3 0 0.0 1 1.1 More Crisp 0 0.0 3 1.5 0 0.0 a Percentages are based on 342 respondents who prefer yellow corn. b Percentages are based on 201 respondents who prefer white corn. c Percentages are based on 92 respondents who prefer bi-color corn.

PAGE 106

83 Table 118. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Color Preference, by City. -----------------------------------------Sweet Corn Colo r Preference ----------------------------------City a Yellow White Bicolor No Preference (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 81 64.3 26 20.6 12 9.5 7 5.6 Atlanta 55 41.3 56 42.1 11 8.3 11 8.3 Chicago 91 62.6 16 11.0 26 17.9 12 8.3 Boston 59 41.3 28 19.6 40 28.0 16 11.2 Philadelphia 57 39.0 76 52.0 4 2.7 9 6.2 Totals 343 49.5 202 29.1 93 13.4 55 7.9 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 107

84 Figure 2. Sweet Corn Color Preference by City. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 yellowwhitebicolorno preferencePercent Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia Figure 3. Sweet Corn Color Preference by City. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 DallasAtlantaChicagoBostonPhiladelphiaPercent yellow white bicolor no preference

PAGE 108

85 Interestingly, preferences for yellow corn tend to diminish as income levels increase, while preferences for bi-color corn and white corn increase. For those consumers with income below $20,000, 62 per cent prefer yellow corn and 27 percent prefer one of the other two colors. When household income exceeds $70,000, however, 43 percent prefer yellow corn and 50 percent pr efer either white or bi-color corn (Table 119 and Figure 4). The same pattern of choice is apparent according to the level of education. For those with no college-level study, 58 per cent prefer yellow corn, 28 percent prefer white corn, a nd 6 percent prefer bi-color. For those with college-level study, preference for yellow corn falls to 47 pe rcent, while 29 percen t prefer white corn and 16 percent prefer bi-color corn (Table 120 and Figure 5). In terms of cultural differences, Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks have a very clear preference for yellow corn. Seventy-three per cent of Asians, 70 percen t of Hispanics, and 64 percent of Blacks favor yell ow corn. Twenty percent of Asians and Blacks, and 14 percent of Hispanics prefer white corn. The cas e is much different for Whites. Thirty nine percent prefer yellow corn, 35 percent prefer white corn and 18 percen t prefer bi-color corn (Table 121 and Figure 6). In terms of other demographic variables, only age and the number of children in the household have any discerna ble effect on color preference s. There is some indication that younger adults and househol ds with children lean to wards favoring yellow corn, while adults over 50 and households without children have a slight ly disproportionate preference for bi-color corn. The magnitude of the differences is small, however, and these relationships are not statistically significant at the ten percent level.

PAGE 109

86 Table 119. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Co lor Preference, by Income Level. -----------------------------------------Sweet Corn Colo r Preference ----------------------------------Income Level a Yellow White Bicolor No Preference (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Under $20,000 34 61.8 11 20.0 4 7.3 6 10.9 $20,000 $34,999 57 59.4 23 24.0 10 10.4 6 6.2 $35,000 $49,999 69 57.0 31 25.6 14 11.6 7 5.8 $50,000 $69,999 37 41.6 26 29.2 15 16.8 11 12.4 $70,000 and Above 75 43.3 60 34.7 26 15.0 12 6.9 Totals 272 50.9 151 28.3 69 12.9 42 7.9 a Chi-square probability = 0.0760. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 120. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Colo r Preference, by Education Level. -----------------------------------------Sweet Corn Colo r Preference ----------------------------------Education Level a Yellow White Bicolor No Preference (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School or Vocational 114 57.6 55 27.8 12 6.1 17 8.6 College 228 46.7 143 29.3 79 16.2 38 7.8 Totals 342 49.9 198 28.9 91 13.3 55 8.0 a Chi-square probability = 0.0024. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 110

87 Figure 4. Sweet Corn Color Pr eference by Income Category. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 < 2020 34.99935 49.99950 69.999 70+ Income (thousands of dollars)Percent Yellow White Bi-Color No Preference Figure 5 Sweet Corn Color Pr eference by Education Level. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 High School or VocationalCollegePercent yellow white bicolor no preference

PAGE 111

88 Table 121. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Colo r Preference, by Race and Ethnicity. -----------------------------------------Sweet Corn Colo r Preference ----------------------------------Respondents Race a Yellow White Bicolor No Preference (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Black, Non-Hispanic 121 64.4 37 19.7 14 7.4 16 8.5 White, Non-Hispanic 156 39.2 141 35.4 70 17.6 31 7.8 Hispanic, all races 46 69.7 9 13.6 6 9.1 5 7.6 Asian 11 73.3 3 20.0 0 0.0 1 6.7 Totals 334 50.1 190 28.5 90 13.5 53 7.9 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Figure 6. Respondents’ Sweet Corn Colo r Preference, by Race and Ethnicity. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 BlackWhiteHispanicAsianPercent Yellow White Bi-Color No Preference

PAGE 112

89 Seasonality of Sweet Corn Consumption Although slightly over two-thirds of all households buy sweet corn at some time during the year, examination of purchases on a seasonal basis re veals drastic intraseasonal differences. For example, during the summer months, nearly all of the sweet corn purchasing households buy it (97.5 percen t). However, during th e winter, only 36.5 percent of the households reported buying sweet corn. In the spring months, the percentage of households buying it increases to just over 70 per cent, and in the fall, about half of the fresh sweet corn purchasing households buy the product (Figure 7, Table 122). Figure 7. Percent Buying Sweet Corn by Season, All Respondents. 36.5 71.0 97.5 49.3 0 20 40 60 80 100 winterspringsummerfallPercent Table 122. Percent of All Sweet Corn Pu rchasers Buying the Product, by Season. Percent Buying Sweet Corn Season Percenta Winter 36.5 Spring 71.0 Summer 97.4 Fall 49.3 a Percentages are based on the fo llowing numbers of observations: Winter, 668; Spring, 672; Summer, 677; and Fall, 661.

PAGE 113

90 Respondents in sweet corn consuming hous eholds were queried as to why they bought sweet corn in the winter, spring and fall seasons, and the reasons given were quite similar over all three seasons. “Good taste” was by far the most common reason, cited by just over half all purchasers in the winter a nd spring seasons, and just under 60 percent in the fall (Figure 8, Table 123). Figure 8. Major Reasons Given for Buying Sweet Corn, by Season. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Good TasteHabitFreshnessHealthAdds VarietyPercent Winter Spring Fall

PAGE 114

91 Table 123. Reasons Given For Buying Sweet Corn. Wintera Springb Fallc Reason (N) (percent) (N) (percent) (N) (percent) Good Taste 121 51.3 245 52.6 182 57.8 Habit 31 13.1 39 8.4 31 9.8 Freshness 17 7.2 48 10.3 22 7.0 Adds Variety 15 6.4 19 4.1 14 4.4 Health Reasons 15 6.4 14 3.0 12 3.8 Used in Recipes 8 3.4 18 3.9 9 2.9 Low Price 4 1.7 10 2.2 4 1.3 Availability 2 0.9 7 1.5 3 1.0 Appealing Color 1 0.4 8 1.7 6 1.9 Good Smell 1 0.4 2 0.4 1 0.3 Tender 1 0.4 4 0.9 1 0.3 Advertising 0 0.0 1 0.2 1 0.3 Miscellaneous 20 8.5 50 10.7 28 8.9 a The number of respondents for winter is 201. b The number of respondents for spring is 387. c The number of respondents for fall is 272. “Habit” was the second most mentioned reas on, given by 8 to 13 percent, depending on the season. “Freshness” was the third most fr equent response, give n by approximately 7 to 10 percent of all respondents. “Adds variet y” and health/nutrition reasons were cited by similar numbers of respondents, approx imately 3 to 6 percent of the sweet corn buying households in the various seasons. About 3 or 4 per cent of respondents indicated that they bought fresh sweet corn because they needed it for specific recipes. “Low price” was the reason by about 2 percent of respondents in the wint er, spring and fall seasons, and “availability” was mentioned by a few, about one percent. Very small numbers cited specific physical attributes such as appealing color, good smell, and tenderness, and only two respondents mentione d advertising as a reason for buying fresh sweet corn (Table 123). While it is important to understand why people buy sweet co rn during Southern SuperSweet’s prime marketing seasons, it is even more important to identify those

PAGE 115

92 reasons why some consumers do not. Respondents from all households that said they did not buy fresh sweet corn during the winter, sp ring and fall seasons were asked for the “main reason” why they did not buy. The overw helming majority said that it was not available where they usually shop for produ ce. Nearly 70 percent of the winter “nonbuyers” cited lack of availability, as comp ared to about 57 percent of the spring nonbuyers and 63 percent of the fall non-buyers (Figure 9, Table 124). Figure 9. Major Reasons Given for Not Buying Sweet Corn, by Season. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Not Avail.Not FreshPrice Too High Not LocalDon't Like TastePercent Winter Spring Fall

PAGE 116

93 Table 124. Reasons Given for Not Purchasing Sweet Corn, by Season. Wintera Springb Fallc Reason for Not Purchasing (N) (percent) (N) (percent) (N) (percent) Not Available 265 69.0 111 56.9 190 62.7 Not Fresh 53 13.8 23 11.8 43 14.2 Price Too High 20 5.2 11 5.6 16 5.3 Not Local 17 4.4 16 8.2 21 6.9 Don't Like Taste 16 4.2 7 3.6 22 7.3 Prep Time 3 0.8 3 1.5 4 1.3 Health, Diet 3 0.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 Texture, Starchy 2 0.5 3 1.5 4 1.3 Goes Bad 2 0.5 4 2.1 2 0.7 Too Messy 1 0.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 Pack Too Large 1 0.3 0 0.0 1 0.3 Damaged 1 0.3 0 0.0 0 0.0 aThe number of respondents for winter is 384. bThe number of respondents for spring is 161. cThe number of respondents for fall is 299. “Lack of freshness” was the second most fr equent reason given, mentioned by about 12 to 14 percent of all non-buyers. High prices we re the third most fre quent reason, given by about 5 percent of the non-buye rs. “Not locally grown” and “Do not like taste” were the next most important reasons cited for not buying winter, spring, and fall sweet corn, mentioned by 4 to 8 percent of the respondents. Other reasons, given by extremely small numbers of respondents, include d preparation time, diet/health concerns, short shelf life, “too messy”, “packages too large”, and damaged product (Table 124). It is interesting to note that a preference for outdoor cooking/grilling, common in good weather, did not emerge as a significant factor. Seasonality of purchases was also examined for each city in the sample. There were statistically significant differences among cities in sweet corn purchases in the winter, spring, and fall seasons but not during the summer The percentages of sweet corn purchasing households was extremely high in the summer, and very similar, ranging

PAGE 117

94 from 96.6 percent in Chicago to 98.6 in bot h Boston and Philadelphia. Winter purchase behavior was similar for Dallas and Philade lphia, with 37.5 and 38.2 percent of sweet corn purchasing households buying during th is period, respectively. Atlanta had the highest purchase rate, with nearly 60 percent of households buying in the winter. Chicago and Boston had the lowest rates, with onl y 26.7 and 24.5 percent purchasing (Figure 10, Table 125). Figure 10. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Purc hasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by City. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 winterspringsummerfallPercent Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia Table 125. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by City. Season Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia 2 Probability Winter 37.5 59.7 26.7 24.5 38.2 <0.0001 Spring 75.2 82.2 65.7 54.0 79.0 <0.0001 Summer 96.8 96.8 96.6 98.6 98.6 0.6598 Fall 50.4 64.7 44.0 43.0 46.9 0.0038

PAGE 118

95 Purchase rates by sweet corn using househol ds during the spring and fall seasons in the various cities showed the same general “city” pattern as appears in the winter: Atlanta had the highest percentage of sweet co rn using households, followed by Dallas and Philadelphia. Chicago and Boston had the lo west percentages of households buying sweet corn in the spring and fall as well as in the winter. One possibl e explanation is the weather factor: consumers in al l cities tend to associate sw eet corn with summer, or at least good weather, and Chicago and Boston are likely to have the worst weather of all the sample cities, not only in the winter, but in the spring and fall as well. Seasonality of sweet corn purchases does not appear to be strongly related to household income. Chi-square an alyses did not reveal any statistically significant relationships between the proportions of hous eholds buying sweet corn in the winter, spring and fall seasons and reported household income le vels (Figure 11, Table 126). Only in summer was there a statistically significant relationship; extremely high proportions of the higher income groups bought sw eet corn in the summ er, but the lowest income group, i.e. households with tota l income less than $20,000 per year, had the lowest purchase rate, 92.6 per cent. This lower rate may re flect lack of transportation mobility, which may not allow the lowest income households to patronize farmers’ markets and other open-air venues. Also, it is likely that more affl uent households have greater access to “green ma rkets” and supermarkets.

PAGE 119

96 Figure 11. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Income Level. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 winterspringsummerfall Income Level of Respondents in Thousands of DollarsPercent < 20 20 34.999 35 49.999 50 69.999 70+ Table 126. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Income Level. Season < 20K 20 – 34,999K 35 – 49,999K 50 – 69,999K 70K+ 2 Probability Winter 38.5 41.9 35.3 35.7 35.9 0.8625 Spring 83.0 73.7 72.9 65.9 68.8 0.2221 Summer 92.6 95.8 100.0 95.3 98.2 0.0432 Fall 45.3 53.8 53.8 44.0 50.0 0.5782 There appeared to be statistically signif icant differences in the purchase rates by educational levels in the winter and spri ng seasons. Surprisingly, the percentages of respondents in the “college” category (those with some college credit or college graduates) had lower purchase rates than t hose with high school or vocational school attainment. For example, in the winter, 43 percent of the lower educational level respondents reported buying fresh sweet corn, as compared to only 33.5 percent of those in the higher category. In th e spring, the same pattern prev ailed, with 80.1 of the lower category buying sweet corn and only 67.3 perc ent of the “college” category buying the

PAGE 120

97 product. There were no statistic ally significant difference in purchase rates between the two groups in summer or fall (Figure 12, Table 127). Figure 12. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Education Level. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 winterspringsummerfallPercent High School or Vocational College Table 127. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Education Level. Season High School or Vocational College 2 Probability (N) (Percent) (N) (Percent) Winter 193 43.0 468 33.5 0.0215 Spring 191 80.1 474 67.3 0.0010 Summer 192 96.4 478 97.9 0.2475 Fall 189 49.2 466 49.4 0.9723 Examination of seasonal purchase beha vior by race and ethnicity revealed statistically significant and consistent differences. In the winter, approximately half of the black non-Hispanics and half of the Hispan ic respondents said they purchased sweet corn, compared with only 28 percent of th e white non-Hispanics and one-third of the Asian respondents. In the spring, about 85 pe rcent of the blacks a nd 83 percent of the

PAGE 121

98 Hispanics purchased sweet corn, compared with only 63 percent of the whites and about 53 percent of the Asians. The fall showed the sa me general pattern, with 60 percent of the blacks, 55 percent of the Hispanics, 45 per cent of the whites, and 40 percent of the Asians buying fresh sweet corn. Summer was the only season when whites had a higher purchase rate than blacks or Hisp anics (Figure 13, Table 128). Figure 13. Percent of Sweet Corn-Buyers Pu rchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Race and Ethnicity. 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0 90.0 100.0 winterspringsummerfallPercent Black White Hispanic Asian Table 128 Percent of Corn-Buyers Purchasing Corn in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, by Race and Ethnicity. Season Black White Hispanic Asian 2 Probability Winter 51.1 27.8 50.0 33.3 <0.0001 Spring 85.3 63.8 82.8 53.3 <0.0001 Summer 95.5 98.2 96.9 100.0 0.8617 Fall 59.5 44.7 55.4 40.0 0.0001

PAGE 122

99 Consumers’ Evaluation of Packaging T ype, Shucking Location and Refrigeration Fresh sweet corn packaging type preferences. Boston and Dallas account for the large variation of consumer preferences for loose versus pre-packed, fully-shucked sweet corn packaging formats (Table 129). Dallas has the lowest preference for loose product form, at just below 61 percent, and the highe st partiality, 29 per cent, for pre-packed completely shucked sweet corn. Boston resp ondents expressed an 85 percent preference for loose corn, and a mere seven percent purchased fully shucked and pre-wrapped product. Overall, nine percent of respondent s across cities desired pre-packed, partially shucked product. Table 129. Preferred Type of Packaging, by City. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------City a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 75 60.5 13 10.5 36 29.0 Atlanta 91 72.8 12 9.6 22 17.6 Chicago 112 76.2 12 8.2 23 15.6 Boston 116 84.7 11 8.0 10 7.3 Philadelphia 110 78.0 14 9.9 17 12.1 Totals 504 74.8 62 9.2 108 16.0 a Chi-square probability = 0.0006. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Surprisingly, respondents’ race and et hnic background desc ribed the largest variation in range of all the p ackaging type categories, with a greater than 30 point spread between Asian preferences (53 percent) a nd white, non-Hispanic (nearly 85 percent) purchases of loose corn (Table 130). The As ian category depicted the largest number of purchases of fully shucked, pre-packed sweet co rn with 40 percent of total sales for this racial group. Hispanic consumers compri sed the largest group, preferring partially shucked, pre-packed sweet corn.

PAGE 123

100 Table 130. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Respondents’ Race and Ethnicity. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------Race of Respondent a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Black, Non-Hispanic 110 59.8 22 12.0 52 28.3 White, Non-Hispanic 330 84.4 27 6.9 34 8.7 Hispanic, all races 37 59.7 11 17.7 14 22.6 Asian 8 53.3 1 6.7 6 40.0 Totals 485 74.4 61 9.4 106 16.3 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Those respondents in the college categor y depicted the highest percentage preference for loose sweet cor n, at almost 79 percent, and c onversely the lowest interest in pre-packed, fully-shucked offerings at el even percent (Table 131). The high school consumer group showed a much stronger incl ination towards purchases of pre-packed, fully shucked produce, at 29 percent. Table 131. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Level of Education. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------Education Level a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School, or Vocational 122 63.9 14 7.3 55 28.8 College 375 78.8 48 10.1 53 11.1 Totals 497 74.5 62 9.3 108 16.2 a Chi-square probability = <0.0001. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Income levels similarly affected pack age selection between loose and fully shucked, pre-packed sweet corn (Table 132). For the loose sweet corn, range extremes of 62 to 86 percent were dem onstrated by the $20 to $34.9 K group and the $50 to $69.9K groups, respectively. Fully shucked, pre-pa cked preferences were dominated by the under $20K category, representing over 28 percent of these consumers.

PAGE 124

101 Table 132. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Income Level. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------Income Level a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Under $20,000 34 64.1 4 7.6 15 28.3 $20,000 $34,999 59 62.1 14 14.7 22 23.2 $35,000 $49,999 81 67.5 13 10.8 26 21.7 $50,000 $69,999 75 86.2 6 6.9 6 6.9 $70,000 and Above 139 81.3 12 7.0 20 11.7 Totals 388 73.8 49 9.3 89 16.9 a Chi-square probability = 0.0007. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. The age categories showed minimal variati on for packaging types, with an overall preference of nearly 74 percent for loose co rn, 17 percent specifying pre-packed, fully shucked product, and almost ten percent of sales represented by the pre-packed, partially shucked option (Table 133). Table 133. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Age Category. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------Age of Respondent a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b 65 and Older 63 73.3 5 5.8 18 20.9 50 – 64 102 75.0 7 5.1 27 19.8 35 – 49 155 76.0 22 10.8 27 13.2 18 – 34 145 70.0 27 13.0 35 16.9 Totals 465 73.5 61 9.6 107 16.9 a Chi-square probability = 0.1009. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. The presence of children under 18 in the respondents’ households had the effects of lowering preference for loos e corn (59 percent) and repr esenting the highest affinity for pre-packed, fully shucked product (25 percen t) as the number of kids reached three or

PAGE 125

102 more (Table 134). Larger number of childre n in the home also led to the highest percentage demand for pre-packed, partially shucked sweet corn, nearly 16 percent. Table 134. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Number of Children in the Sample Households. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------Number of Children Under 18 a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b 0 301 78.6 30 7.8 52 13.6 1 – 2 125 73.5 16 9.4 29 17.1 3 or More 38 59.4 10 15.6 16 25.0 Totals 464 75.2 56 9.1 97 15.7 a Chi-square probability = 0.0234. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. On the whole, gender differences did not seem to affect consumer choice of packaging styles, with the majority (75 pe rcent) choosing loose sweet corn, 16 percent selecting pre-packed, fully shucked, and the remaining nine percent purchasing the prepacked, partially shucked product (Table 135 ). Packaging prefer ences between males and females were not statistically significant. Table 135. Preferred Type of Packaging, by Gender. -------------------Type of Packagi ng ------------------Gender a Loose Pre-Pack, Partially Shucked Pre-Pack, Fully Shucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Male 175 77.8 19 8.4 31 13.8 Female 329 73.3 43 9.6 77 17.1 Totals 504 74.8 62 9.2 108 16.0 a Chi-square probability = 0.4320. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Fresh sweet corn shucki ng location preferences. Chicago and Dallas represent the range limits, with nearly 79 pe rcent and over 93 percent, resp ectively, preferring to shuck sweet corn in their own homes (Table 136). On average, only 17 percent of respondents

PAGE 126

103 expressed an interest in shucking the product in the store, with the largest percentages of these living in Chicago (21percent). Table 136. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by City. Preferred Location for Shucking City a In Store At Home (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 5 6.8 68 93.2 Atlanta 13 14.6 76 85.4 Chicago 24 21.4 88 78.6 Boston 22 19.5 91 80.5 Philadelphia 20 18.3 89 81.6 Totals b 84 16.9 412 83.1 a Chi-square probability = 0.0953. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Race and ethnic groups showed significant diffe rences in desirability of in-store shucking (Table 137). Asian customers were at the high end, with nearly 43 percent, and non-Hispanic whites represent the least likely group to shuck in-store with only twelve percent. Table 137. Preferred Location to Shuc k Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity. Preferred Location for Shucking Race/Ethnicity In Store At Home (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Black, Non-Hispanic 24 21.8 86 78.2 White, Non-Hispanic 40 12.3 285 87.7 Hispanic, all races 10 27.0 27 73.0 Asian 3 42.9 4 57.1 Totals 77 16.1 402 83.9 a Chi-square probability = 0.0044. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. There was not a statistically significan t difference in the preferred shucking location by educational level or by city (Table 138).

PAGE 127

104 Table 138. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by Level of Education. Preferred Location for Shucking Education Level a In Store At Home (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School, or Vocational 15 12.4 106 87.6 College 69 18.8 299 81.2 Totals 84 17.1 405 82.8 a Chi-square probability = 0.1080. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Sweet corn consumers 65 years of age a nd up are least likely (10 percent) to prefer in-store shucking areas (Table 139). On average, 84 percent of a ll age groups responded preferred to shuck their sweet corn at home. About 21 per cent of the age 50 to 64 respondents preferred to shuck in-sto re; however, these differences were not statistically significant. Table 139. Preferred Location to Shuck Sweet Corn, by Age Category. Preferred Location for Shucking Age of Respondent a In Store At Home (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b 65 and Older 6 9.5 57 90.5 50 – 64 20 20.6 77 79.4 35 – 49 26 16.9 128 83.1 18 – 34 23 16.1 120 83.9 Totals 75 16.4 382 83.6 a Chi-square probability = 0.3252. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Expressed preferences for in-store versus at-home shucking were not statistically significant for various income levels, househol ds with or without children, nor for men and women shoppers. Fresh sweet corn refrigeration preferences Considerable va riation across cities was observed in the range of respondents’ pr eferences for purchasing refrigerated sweet corn from retail outlets, from Boston’s low of 20 percent, to Dalla s’ high of 39 percent

PAGE 128

105 (Table 140). The majority of consumers acr oss cities, 62 percent, preferred to obtain unrefrigerated sweet corn, with Dallas consum ers registering a 50 percent preference and Bostonians preferring nearly 73 percent of sweet corn from unref rigerated locations. Table 140. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Refrigerated or Un refrigerated Sweet Corn, by City. ---------------------------Preference-------------------------City a Refrigerated Unrefrigerated Don’t Know (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 50 39.4 64 50.4 13 10.2 Atlanta 51 38.6 67 50.8 14 10.6 Chicago 34 23.0 99 66.9 15 10.1 Boston 28 19.5 104 72.7 11 7.7 Philadelphia 43 29.7 94 64.8 8 5.5 Totals 206 29.6 428 61.6 61 8.8 a Chi-square probability = 0.0008. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Preferences for refrigerated sweet corn purchases varied the most across racial and ethnic groups, with nearly 42 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and only 24 percent of non-Hispanic whites indicating this choice (Table 141). Asian groups expressed the largest preference for unrefrigerated sweet corn, nearly 67 percent. Table 141. Preference for Refrigerated or Unrefrigerated Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity. ---------------------------Preference-------------------------Race of Respondent a Refrigerated Unrefrigerated Don’t Know (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Black, Non-Hispanic 78 41.7 100 53.5 9 4.8 White, Non-Hispanic 97 24.2 259 64.6 45 11.2 Hispanic, all races 19 28.8 40 60.6 7 10.6 Asian 5 33.3 10 66.7 0 0.0 Totals 199 29.7 409 61.1 61 9.1 a Chi-square probability = 0.0007. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 129

106 Nearly two-thirds of college educated sweet co rn buyers (64 percent) choose unrefrigerated sweet corn at specified retail outlets, compared with 55 percent of the high school category (Table 142). Almost nine pe rcent of all education levels were undecided as to which they preferred. Table 142. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Refrigerated or Un refrigerated Sweet Corn, by Level of Education. ---------------------------Preference-------------------------Education Level a Refrigerated Unrefrigerated Don’t Know (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School, or Vocational 70 35.3 109 55.0 19 9.6 College 133 27.1 315 64.3 42 8.6 Totals 203 29.5 424 61.6 61 8.9 a Chi-square probability = 0.0692. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. The lowest preference, less than 24 percent, for refrigerated sweet corn came from those earning less than $20K annually, while those in th e $35 to $49.9K group exhibited almost 40 percent of sweet corn purchases in refrigerated fo rm (Table 143). The largest preference for unrefrigerated sw eet corn appeared in the $50 to $69.9K income group, with responses totaling nearly 69 percent. There were no statistically significant differences in refrigerated versus unrefrig erated corn preferences between age groups, presence of children in the house hold, or gender of the shopper.

PAGE 130

107 Table 143. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Refrigerated or Un refrigerated Sweet Corn, by Income Level. ---------------------------Preference-------------------------Income Level a Refrigerated Unrefrigerated Don’t Know (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Under $20,000 13 23.6 35 63.6 7 12.7 $20,000 $34,999 37 38.5 53 55.2 6 6.2 $35,000 $49,999 48 39.7 68 56.2 5 4.1 $50,000 $69,999 24 27.0 61 68.5 4 4.5 $70,000 and Above 43 24.6 115 65.7 17 9.7 Totals 165 30.8 332 61.9 39 7.3 a Chi-square probability = 0.0270. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Other Factors Affecting Sweet Corn Purcha ses: Store Type and Advertising Exposure Retail store type Across cities, the majority (62 .2 percent) of respondents acquire sweet corn from local supermarkets (Table 144 ). Responses rang ed from a low of 55 percent in Boston to the high of 66 percent in Dallas. Specialty produce stores are frequented by over 19 percent of Chicagoans and are the second most common choice among all sweet corn consumers, with an average of nearly 13 percent claiming to visit this retailer type. A surprising 21 percent of Bostonians patronize roadside stands for their sweet corn purchases, which contribut es the third place ranking of this venue, accounting for almost 11 percent of total sales. Overall, discount clubs and local farmers represent less than 1 percent of total sweet corn sales. White non-Hispanics represent the lowest supermarket shopper category, with 58 percent frequenting this re tailer type (Table 145). Approximately 76 percent of Hispanics patronize supermarkets for their sweet corn purchases. About 16 percent of non-Hispanic Blacks patronize specialty produce stores for sweet corn purchases,

PAGE 131

108 compared with about twelve percent of White non-Hispanic shoppers. Less than eight percent of Hispanics and seve n percent of Asians usually buy sweet corn from specialty stores. Overall, roadside st ands account for about ten per cent of sweet corn purchases, but a disproportionately large number ar e White, non-Hispanics (13.4 percent). About 71 percent of respondents in th e under $20K income group shop for sweet corn in supermarkets, and this type store is somewhat less important for higher income groups. Respondents with higher incomes have a slightly greater tendency to buy sweet corn at specialty produce stores or roadside stands. Nevertheless, supermarkets are by far the most important type of retail outlet for sweet corn (Table 146).

PAGE 132

109 Table 144.Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Sweet Corn, by City. Type of Retail Outlet a Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia Totals (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Superstore 7 5.5 4 3.0 5 3.4 0 0.0 1 1.4 17 2.4 Discount Club 2 1.6 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 0.7 2 0.7 5 0.7 Supermarket 84 66.1 86 64.6 93 63.3 79 55.2 90 62.1 432 62.2 Small Grocery 16 12.6 6 4.5 7 4.8 9 6.3 10 6.9 48 6.9 Specialty Produce Store 7 5.5 15 11.3 29 19.7 18 12.6 19 13.1 88 12.6 Roadside Stand 9 7.1 12 9.0 7 4.8 30 21.0 15 10.3 73 10.5 Farmers Market 2 1.6 9 6.8 5 3.4 4 2.8 5 3.4 25 3.6 Local Farmers 0 0.0 1 0.8 1 0.7 2 1.4 3 2.1 7 1.0 127 100.0 133 100.0 147 100.0 143 100.0 145 100.0 695 100.0 a The Chi-square probability is not reported because of limited numbers of obse rvations in some cells. b Vertical percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 133

110 Table 145. Types of Retail Outlets Where Responde nts Purchase Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity. Race Type of Retail Outlet Black, Non-HispanicWhite, NonHispanic Hispanic, all races Asian Totals (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Superstore 7 3.7 9 2.2 0 0.0 1 6.7 17 2.5 Discount Club 1 0.5 2 0.5 2 3.1 0 0.0 5 0.8 Supermarket 123 65.8 234 58.2 50 76.9 11 73.3 418 62.5 Small Grocery 11 5.9 31 7.7 3 4.6 1 6.7 46 6.9 Specialty Produce Store 30 16.0 47 11.7 5 7.7 1 6.7 83 12.4 Roadside Stand 9 4.8 54 13.4 5 7.7 0 0.0 68 10.2 Farmers Market 6 3.2 18 4.5 0 0.0 1 6.7 25 3.7 Local Farmers 0 0.0 7 1.7 0 0.0 0 0.0 7 1.0 Totals 187 100.0 402 100.0 65 100.0 15 100.0 669 100.0 a The Chi-square probability is not reported because of limited numbers of observations in some cells. b Vertical percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 134

111 Table 146. Types of Retail Outlets Where Respondents Purchase Fres h Sweet Corn, by Income Level. Income Level Type of Retail Outlet Under $20,000 $20,000 $34,999 $35,000 $49,999 $50,000 $69,999 $70,000 and Above Totals (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Superstore 0 0.0 5 5.3 5 4.1 0 0.0 2 1.1 12 2.2 Discount Club 0 0.0 2 2.1 1 0.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 3 0.6 Supermarket 39 70.9 56 58.9 79 64.7 52 58.4 99 56.6 325 60.6 Small Grocery 4 7.3 6 6.3 7 5.7 8 9.0 15 8.6 40 7.5 Produce Specialty Store 7 12.7 12 12.6 18 14.7 14 15.7 22 12.6 73 13.6 Roadside Stand 3 5.4 8 8.4 9 7.4 11 12.4 25 14.3 56 10.4 Farmers Market 1 1.8 5 5.3 2 1.6 1 1.1 11 6.3 20 3.7 Local Farmers 1 1.8 1 1.0 1 0.8 3 3.4 1 0.6 7 1.3 Totals 55 100.0 95 100.0 122 100.0 89 100.0 175 100.0 536 100.0 a The Chi-square probability is not reported because of limited numbers of observations in some cells. b Vertical percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 135

112 Fresh sweet corn advertising exposures. Only seven percent of all sweet corn buyers had ever received any information about the availability, nutritional qualities, or cooking methods for fresh sweet corn. Of the forty-ni ne respondents that had obtained information, 30 were influenced by cookbooks, 29 by magazine articles, 22 by family members, and 21 through a news articles. The personal connec tion between sweet corn consumers and friends, grocers, or farmers were mentioned by 18, 18 and 15 respondents. Television food shows had provided information to 17, or 2.4 percent of sweet corn buyers. Very few respondents mentioned extension services(6), the Internet (5), home economics classes(4), other(4) and trade associations(3). Percentages of total sweet corn buyers reached by all types was found to be very low (Table 147). Table 147. Sources Used to Obtain Information about Sweet Corn. Source Number Percent of Buyersa Cookbook 30 4.3 Magazine Article 29 4.2 Family Member 22 3.2 Newspaper Article 21 3.0 Friend 18 2.6 Grocer 18 2.6 TV Food Show 17 2.4 Farmer 15 2.2 Extension Service 6 0.9 Internet 5 0.7 Home Econ. Class 4 0.6 Other 4 0.6 Trade Association 3 0.4 a Only 49 of 697 buyers (7 percent) had obtained info rmation about the availability, nutritional qualities or cooking methods for sweet corn. Percentages are based upon 697 buyers. The printed word carried the most value in sweet corn consumers’ abilities to recall specific types of promotional materials (Tab le 148). Using the aided recall approach,

PAGE 136

113 newspaper feature stories and newspaper food advertisements for sweet corn were each recalled by 257, or nearly 37 percent of all sweet corn buyers. Store posters were recalled by 211 responses from a possible 697 sweet corn buye rs (30 percent). Television food shows or news stories were recalled by 29 percent of thos e surveyed, and television commercials were recalled by 21 percent, giving them the fourth and sixth ranking. Magazine ads and stories were recalled by 22 and 15 percen t of sweet corn buyers, respect ively. Recipe cards were recalled by less than 17 percen t of sweet corn buyers. Fi nally, radio commercials and Internet websites were recolle cted by about seven and five percent of all consumers, respectively. Table 148. Aided Recall of Specific Types of Promotional Materials for Sweet Corn. Type Number Percent of Respondentsa Newspaper Feature Story 257 36.9 Newspaper Food Ad 257 36.9 Poster in Store 211 30.3 Television 203 29.1 Magazine Ad 153 22.0 TV Commercial 147 21.1 Recipe Cards, Leaflets or Booklets 124 17.8 Magazine Story 106 15.2 Radio Commercial 48 6.9 Internet Web Site 32 4.6 a Percentages are based upon 697 sweet corn buyers. The Internet was mentioned by relatively fe w sweet corn purchasers as a source of information on the availability, nutritional quali ties and cooking methods Even so, it should not be overlooked as a viable educational and pr omotional tool for sweet corn. A search of the Internet yielded many hits for informati on on Southern Supersweet Corn. Most were newspaper food stories and recipes that had orig inated with the Southern Supersweet Corn Council, and had been published by newspapers and linked to various websites touting fresh

PAGE 137

114 produce or cooking information. The consumer survey contained several brief questions about respondents’ accessi bility to the Internet at home or at work. Overall, nearly threefourths of all respondents said they could access the Internet at one or both places. As expected, the incidence of Internet availabi lity was associated with income levels. Approximately 43 percent of the lowest inco me category (under $20K) had access, compared with about 65 percent in the $20-$35K group. In the $35-$50K segment, 79 percent had access while over 92 percent of those in the $50-$70K were connected. An astounding 94 percent of the households with incomes of $70K or more had Internet access. Access by race/ethnicity was found to be about 60 perc ent for Blacks, 72 percent for Hispanics, 80 percent for White non-Hispanics, and 83 percent for Asians. The bottom line is that the vast majority of households now have access to the In ternet, and as users become more adept at using this relatively new device, it will become ever easier to educate consumers. A dedicated website for Southern Supersweet co rn would provide a centralized location for consumers to find information that could se rve to enhance the use of the product. At-Home Storage of Fresh Sweet Corn Respondents were asked whethe r or not they usually ate the fresh sweet corn on the day they purchased it, or if not how long they stored the corn. If the respondent stored the corn, they were asked where and how the corn was stored. On average, 62.4 percent of the respondents indicated they used sweet corn on the day they purchased it. This number varied significantly by city (Table 149) and race (Table 150).

PAGE 138

115 Table 149. Respondents’ Use of Fresh Sweet Corn on the Day of Purchase, by City. Use Sweet Corn on Day of Purchase City a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 80 64.0 45 36.0 Atlanta 72 55.0 59 45.0 Chicago 94 63.5 54 36.5 Boston 104 73.2 38 26.8 Philadelphia 81 55.9 64 44.1 Totals b 431 62.4 260 37.6 a Chi-square probability = 0.0110. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 150. Respondents’ Use of Fresh Sweet Corn on the Day of Purchase, by Race and Ethnicity. Use Sweet Corn on Day of Purchase Race of Respondent a Yes No (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Black, Non-Hispanic 102 54.8 84 45.2 White, Non-Hispanic 265 66.4 134 33.6 Hispanic, all races 41 62.1 25 37.9 Asian 6 40.0 9 60.0 Totals 414 62.2 252 37.8 a Chi-square probability = 0.0041. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Respondents from Boston were most likely to use the corn on the day of purchase (73.2 percent of the time) compar ed to respondents from Atlant a (55 percent of the time). Additionally, Caucasians and Hispanics were mo re likely to consume the corn on the same day (approximately 65 percent of the time) compar ed to Blacks (54 percent) and Asians (40 percent). For the 38 percent of respondents that did not use the corn on th e day of purchase, over 81 percent used the corn within three days. Overall, 84 percent of the re spondents indicated they stor ed fresh sweet corn in the refrigerator at home, 9 percent used the free zer and 7 percent stored corn outside of the refrigerator and freezer (Table 151). This response varied by gender (Table 152), with females more likely to store corn in the refrig erator or freezer (96 percent) than men (88

PAGE 139

116 percent). Approximately 54 percent of the respondents indicated they stored the corn shucked (Table 153). This varied by education level, with respondents with higher levels of education more likely to store the corn unshuc ked (58 percent) (Table 154) and by race (Table 155), with Caucasians most likely to store the corn unshucked (62 percent). Table 151. Respondents At Ho me Storage Preference for Sweet Corn, by City. --------------------Storage Preference --------------------City Refrigerator Freezer Outside Refrigerator (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Dallas 35 81.4 4 9.3 4 9.3 Atlanta 51 87.9 4 6.9 3 5.2 Chicago 42 79.3 6 11.3 5 9.4 Boston 33 86.8 2 5.3 3 7.9 Philadelphia 54 84.4 8 12.5 2 3.1 Totals 215 84.0 24 9.4 17 6.6 a Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 152. At Home Storage Preference for Sweet Corn, by Respondents Gender. --------------------Storage Preference --------------------Gender a Refrigerator Freezer Outside Refrigerator (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Male 64 80.0 6 7.5 10 12.5 Female 151 85.8 18 10.23 7 3.98 Totals 215 84.0 24 9.4 17 6.6 a Chi-square probability = 0.0356. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 140

117 Table 153. Respondents’ Preference for Shucked or Unshucked Storage of Sweet Corn, by City. Storage Preference City a Shucked Unshucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 19 42.2 26 57.8 Atlanta 26 45.6 31 57.8 Chicago 20 38.5 32 61.5 Boston 15 41.7 21 58.3 Philadelphia 35 55.6 28 44.4 Totals b 115 45.4 138 54.5 a Chi-square probability = 0.4037. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 154. Respondents’ Preference for Shucked or Unshucked Storage of Sweet Corn, by Level of Education. Storage Preference Education Level a Shucked Unshucked (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School, or Vocational 41 54.0 35 46.0 College 74 42.3 101 57.7 Totals 115 45.8 136 54.2 a Chi-square probability = 0.0884. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 155. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Shucked or Unshucked Storage of Sweet Corn, by Race and Ethnicity. Storage Preference Race/Ethnicity Shucked Unshucked (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Black, Non-Hispanic 43 52.4 39 47.6 White, Non-Hispanic 50 38.2 81 61.8 Hispanic, all races 14 58.3 10 41.7 Asian 5 62.5 3 37.5 Totals 112 45.7 133 54.3 a Chi-square probability = 0.1088. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 141

118 Cooking Methods for Fresh Sweet Corn Preparation of the sweet co rn varied depending on the we ather (Figure 14). In both good and bad weather, the primary method for preparing the corn is boiling, with over 70 percent of the respondent s indicating they boil co rn in both types of w eather. However, in good weather, 40 percent also use the outdoor gr ill for preparation, where only 5 percent use this method in bad weather. All other methods of cooking accounted for less than 10 percent of the respondents (Figure 14). Figure 14. Methods of Preparation Used in Good vs Bad Weather. 0.0 10.0 20.0 30.0 40.0 50.0 60.0 70.0 80.0 90.0 BoiledOutdoor GrillMicrowaveFriedNot in Good WeatherPercent Good Weather Bad Weather There was variance in th e cooking methods by city (Tables 156 and 157). For example, over 50 percent of the respondents in Chicago indicated they use the outdoor grill in good weather, compared to approximately 35 pe rcent of the respondents in all other cities. Boston and Philadelphia boiled corn more fre quently in good weathe r, approximately 85 percent compared to 65 percen t for other cities. Atlanta an d Chicago respondents were more likely to fry sweet corn, in both good and bad weather.

PAGE 142

119 Table 156. Preparation Methods Used in Good Weather, by City. Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia (N) (percent)a (N) (percent)a(N) (percent)a(N) (percent)a (N) (percent)a Outdoor Grill 50 39.4 46 34.6 81 54.7 4732.9 50 34.2 Indoor Grill 3 2.4 4 3.0 1 0.7 4 2.8 2 1.4 Raw 0 0.0 2 1.5 3 2.0 5 3.5 2 1.4 Microwave 14 11.0 12 9.0 17 11.5 11 7.7 7 4.8 Boiled 82 64.6 91 68.4 93 62.8 12184.6 126 86.3 Baked 5 3.9 8 6.0 3 2.0 3 2.1 1 0.7 Fried 7 5.5 23 17.3 17 11.5 5 3.5 6 4.1 Do Not Prepare 7 5.5 1 0.8 7 4.7 18 12.6 3 2.1 Other 1 0.8 3 2.3 2 1.4 3 2.1 3 2.1 Steamed 5 3.9 4 3.0 1 0.7 5 3.5 2 1.4 Creamed 2 1.6 1 0.8 0 0.0 1 0.7 0 0.0 Broil 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 0.7 Soup/Stew 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 a Percentages are based upon the following numbers of obse rvations in each city: Dallas, 127, Atlanta, 133, Chicago, 148, Boston, 143, and Philadelphia, 146. Table 157. Preparation Methods Us ed in Bad Weather, by City. Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philadelphia (N) (percent)a (N) (percent)a(N) (percent)a(N) (percent)a (N) (percent)a Outdoor Grill 6 4.7 10 7.5 6 4.1 8 5.6 4 2.7 Indoor Grill 0 0.0 1 0.8 2 1.4 4 2.8 0 0.0 Raw 2 1.6 1 0.8 0 0.0 4 2.8 0 0.0 Microwave 15 11.8 10 7.5 17 11.5 11 7.7 7 4.8 Boiled 93 73.2 96 72.2 11175.0 11379.0 129 88.4 Baked 7 5.5 9 6.8 4 2.7 2 1.4 0 0.0 Fried 7 5.5 21 15.8 1812.2 3 2.1 6 4.1 Do Not Prepare 9 7.1 4 3.0 8 5.4 19 13.3 5 3.4 Other 0 0.0 3 2.3 2 1.4 1 0.7 3 2.1 Steamed 3 2.4 4 3.0 3 2.0 3 2.1 2 1.4 Creamed 1 0.8 2 1.5 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 Broil 1 0.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 0.7 Soup/Stew 1 0.8 1 0.8 3 2.0 1 0.7 0 0.0 a Percentages are based upon the following numbers of obse rvations in each city: Dallas, 127, Atlanta, 133, Chicago, 148, Boston, 143, and Philadelphia, 146.

PAGE 143

120 Overall, 90 percent of re spondents preferred to serve fresh sweet corn on the cob (Table 158). This also varied by city, with Boston and Philadelphia respondents most likely to serve corn on the cob (approximately 95 perc ent of the respondents) compared to Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago (approximately 88 percent) Serving corn on the cob also varied by education, with the higher education group servi ng corn on the cob more frequently (Table 159), as well as by race (Table 160). Asians were least likely to serve corn on the cob (79 percent) compared to the most likely, Caucasians (94 percent). Table 158. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by City. Preference City a On the Cob Off the Cob (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b Dallas 112 88.9 14 11.1 Atlanta 110 85.9 18 14.1 Chicago 127 88.8 16 11.2 Boston 135 95.7 6 4.3 Philadelphia 137 94.5 8 5.5 Totals b 621 90.9 62 9.1 a Chi-square probability = 0.0219. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Table 159. Respondents’ Preferen ce for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by Level of Education. Preference Education Level a On the Cob Off the Cob (N) (Percent) b (N) (Percent) b High School, or Vocational 171 87.2 25 12.8 College 445 92.7 35 7.3 Totals 616 91.1 60 8.9 a Chi-square probability = 0.0234. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding.

PAGE 144

121 Table 160. Respondents’ Preference for Serving Fresh Sweet Corn On or Off the Cob, by Race. Preference Race/Ethnicity On the Cob Off the Cob (N) (Percent) a (N) (Percent) a Black, Non-Hispanic 155 86.1 25 13.9 White, Non-Hispanic 375 93.7 25 6.3 Hispanic, all races 58 90.6 6 9.4 Asian 11 78.6 3 21.4 Totals 599 91.0 3 21.4 a Chi-square probability = 0.0087. b Horizontal percentages may not total to 100.0 due to rounding. Fresh sweet corn was most frequently served as a side dish, near ly two-thirds of the time. Fresh sweet corn was also used as a main dish approximately 13 percent of the time and as part of a salad 8 percent of the time. Complements Served with Fresh Sweet Corn Respondents were asked if they consumed other foods with sweet corn. Broken into categories, they were asked if they ever ate an y meats or other vegetables with sweet corn. 605 respondents indicated what meat and 549 indi cated what other vegeta bles they consumed with sweet corn. For meat, respondents indicated that they ate a variet y of meats with sweet corn. Included in the responses were beef, chicken, pork, ribs, seafood (including finfish and shellfish). A small number of respondents indi cated that they would consume “any” meat with sweet corn. Figure 15 shows the breakdown of responses by city. Overall, consumption of beef (356 of 605 respondents) and chicke n (351 of 605 respondent s) were the highest, followed by pork (135 of 605 respondents). The consumption of chicken and pork differed significantly by city, with Atlanta, followe d by Philadelphia, responding chicken more frequently than other cities. Dallas, Atlanta, and Chica go all responded pork consumption with sweet corn more frequently than Bost on and Philadelphia. When examining these

PAGE 145

122 responses by age (Figure 16), some larger di fferences are noted. The respondents that indicated they ate pork with sweet corn tend ed to be in the oldest age group (age 65 and above). Corresponding with this, the two older age groups were mo re likely to indicate that they would eat any meat with sweet corn. Fi nally, when examining these responses by race (Figure 17), it can be seen that consumption of chicken and seafood vary significantly by race. Blacks consumed chicken with fresh sweet corn approximately 10-15 percent more frequently than other races. Seafood was cons umed least with fresh sweet corn by whites. Figure 15. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by City. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 ChickenBeefPorkRibsSeafoodAnyPercent Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philidelphia

PAGE 146

123 Figure 16. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by Age. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 ChickenBeefPorkRibsSeafoodAnyPercent Under 35 35-50 50-65 65 or older Figure 17. Percent of Consumption of Meat with Sweet Corn, by Race. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80Chicken Beef Pork Ribs Seafood AnyPercent Black White Hispanic Asian For other vegetable consumption, there were many responses. Vegetables were grouped into categories to determine if significant differences existed by city, age, and race. Among those categories were potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, peas, greens, squash. Two

PAGE 147

124 other categories were created using a variety of answers that were gi ven by respondents. Many respondents indicated that they ate green beans, string beans, lima beans, and other beans with sweet corn. However, respondents al so indicated they ate baked beans with sweet corn. Because so many respondents only answ ered using the word “beans”, all of these answers were combined into one category called beans. Similarly, many respondents answered salad, while others answered lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and cabbage. These responses were all grouped into a category called salad. Examining the response by city (Figure 18), it can be seen that significant differences exist in the categories broccoli, beans, a nd greens by city. Overall, the most common response was salad (198 of 549 respondents), followed by beans (167 of 549 respondents) and potatoes (136 of 549 respondents). Beans va ried significantly by city, with Dallas responding beans most frequently, 42.1 percent of the time, where ot her cities indicated beans approximately 28 percent of the time. Greens varied with most cities indicating consumption approximately 17 percent of th e time, except Boston, where consumption of greens was below 2 percent. Broccoli and cau liflower had a similar pattern to greens. Again, consumption by age group (Figure 19) di ffered significantly. Greens and peas were more commonly eaten by the older age groups where salad was more commonly eaten by the younger age groups. There were many different patterns in other vegetable consumption with fresh sweet corn by race (Figure 20). Be ans, peas, greens, and salad all significantly differed by race. Beans were consumed by approximately 40 percent of blacks, 34 percent of Asians and Hispanics, and onl y 26 percent of whites. Green s followed a similar pattern, consumed by 25 percent of blacks, 16 percent of Hispanics, and only approximately 7 percent of Whites and Asians. Peas were mo st often consumed by Hispanics (23 percent)

PAGE 148

125 versus a low of 8 percent for Asians. Salad and related vege tables were consumed most often by Whites (41 percent) compared to a low of 31 percent for Blacks. Figure 18. Percent of Consumption of Othe r Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by City. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50Potatoes Broccoli Beans Peas Greens Squash Salad OtherPercent Dallas Atlanta Chicago Boston Philidelphia Figure 19. Percent of Consumption of Othe r Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by Age. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50Potatoes Broccoli Beans Peas Greens Squash Salad OtherPercent Under 35 35-50 50-65 65 or older

PAGE 149

126 Figure 20. Percent of Consumption of Othe r Vegetables with Sweet Corn, by Race. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45Potatoes Broccoli Beans Peas Greens Squash Salad OtherPercent Black White Hispanic Asian