• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 Abstract
 Title Page
 Center information
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 Introduction
 Procedure
 Results
 Conclusion
 Appendix














Group Title: Report - Florida Agricultural Market Research Center ; 76-1
Title: Marketing Florida celery : a grower - shipper survey
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027573/00001
 Material Information
Title: Marketing Florida celery : a grower - shipper survey
Series Title: Report - Florida Agricultural Market Research Center ; 76-1
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Degner, Robert L.
Publisher: Florida Agricultural Market Research Center, a part of the Food and Resource Economics Dept., Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida,
Publication Date: 1976
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Bibliographic ID: UF00027573
Volume ID: VID00001
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Abstract
        Abstract
    Title Page
        Page i
    Center information
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
    List of Tables
        Page iv
    Introduction
        Page 1
    Procedure
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Results
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Conclusion
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Appendix
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
Full Text
'PRIL 1976


INlIUSTRY REPORT 7


RKE


FL0


GRC


CELERY


SURVEY












ABSTRACT


The objective of this study was to determine Florida
celery growers and shippers' reactions to different stalk
lengths and packaging methods. Thirty-five growers and
shippers evaluated 11 different samples: whole stalks 10,
12 and 14 inches long, each naked, banded and sleeved;
loose ribs, trimmed to 10 and 12 inches, both sleeved.
Respondents were critical of all 10-inch treatments, but
were more favorable toward 12-inch stalks. The 14-inch
sleeved samples were preferred over 14-inch banded or naked
stalks, but respondents were concerned with the additional
costs of sleeping. All samples of loose ribs were judged
undesirable. Growers and shippers felt that shorter stalks
could alleviate some of their problems. However, wholesale,
retail and consumer preferences might not allow major changes.


Key words:


celery, marketing, stalk length, packaging.


This report is circulated without formal review by the
Food and Resource Economics Department. Content is the sole
responsibility of the authors.













MARKETING FLORIDA CELERY:


A GROWER-SHIPPER SURVEY













A Report By

Robert L. Degner and Kary Mathis













April 1976

The Florida Agricultural Market Research Center
a part of
The Food and Resource Economics Department
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida













The Florida Agricultural Market Research Center

A Service of
the Food and Resource Economics Department
of the
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences




The purpose of this Center is to provide timely, applied

research on current and emerging marketing problems affecting

Florida's agricultural and marine industries. The Center seeks

to provide research and information to production, marketing,

and processing firms, groups and organizations concerned with

improving and expanding markets for Florida agricultural and

marine products.

The Center is staffed by a basic group of economists trained

in agriculture and marketing. In addition, cooperating personnel

from other IFAS units provide a wide range of expertise which can

be applied as determined by the requirements of individual projects.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


Page

LIST OF TABLES. . . . . ... .. iv

INTRODUCTION. . . . . ... .. 1

PROCEDURE . . . . ... . 1

RESULTS . . . ..... . . 3

Stalk Length. . . . . . 3
Packaging Alternatives. . . . 4
Specific Samples. . . . . 5

CONCLUSIONS . . . ... .. . 13

APPENDIX. . . . . ... ..... 16

























iii














LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

1 Celery lengths and packaging alternatives evaluated by
Florida celery growers and shippers . . 2

2 Florida celery growers' and shippers' appraisal of
market potential for selected celery samples . 6

3 Preference rank of selected celery stalk lengths and
packaging types, as expressed by celery growers and
shippers, March, 1976 . . . . 7

4 Preference rank of selected celery packaging types and
stalk lengths as expressed by celery growers and
shippers, March, 1976 . . . . 8













MARKETING FLORIDA CELERY:
A GROWER-SHIPPER SURVEY


Robert L. Degner and Kary Mathis

INTRODUCTION


Florida celery growers are interested in improving the marketing
and merchandising of their product. Such improvements will result in
increased profitability, or at least improve their competitive position
with respect to California celery.
The primary objective of this phase of the study was to determine
Florida celery growers and shippers' reactions to different stalk
lengths and packaging methods which could conceivably be used to market
Florida celery more effectively.


PROCEDURE


Agricultural Market Research Center staff conducted personal inter-
views with 35 Florida celery growers and shippers during the period
March 10-26, 1976. The interviewees represented all active celery
growing and shipping operations in the state. Interviewees were shown
11 samples of celery and asked to evaluate them.
There were three stalk lengths "packaged" in three alternative ways
and also two lengths of bagged loose ribs. A concise description of the
samples appears in Table 1. The whole stalks were trimmed to 10, 12,
and 14 inches and the loose ribs to 10 and 12 inches. The "packaging"



ROBERT L. DEGNER is assistant professor and KARY MATHIS is
associate professor of food and resource economics, University of Florida.













MARKETING FLORIDA CELERY:
A GROWER-SHIPPER SURVEY


Robert L. Degner and Kary Mathis

INTRODUCTION


Florida celery growers are interested in improving the marketing
and merchandising of their product. Such improvements will result in
increased profitability, or at least improve their competitive position
with respect to California celery.
The primary objective of this phase of the study was to determine
Florida celery growers and shippers' reactions to different stalk
lengths and packaging methods which could conceivably be used to market
Florida celery more effectively.


PROCEDURE


Agricultural Market Research Center staff conducted personal inter-
views with 35 Florida celery growers and shippers during the period
March 10-26, 1976. The interviewees represented all active celery
growing and shipping operations in the state. Interviewees were shown
11 samples of celery and asked to evaluate them.
There were three stalk lengths "packaged" in three alternative ways
and also two lengths of bagged loose ribs. A concise description of the
samples appears in Table 1. The whole stalks were trimmed to 10, 12,
and 14 inches and the loose ribs to 10 and 12 inches. The "packaging"



ROBERT L. DEGNER is assistant professor and KARY MATHIS is
associate professor of food and resource economics, University of Florida.







Table l.--Celery lengths and packaging alternatives evaluated by
Florida celery growers and shippers.


Packaging Alternatives

Whole Celery Stalks
aib Loose Ribs,
Length Plaina Banded Sleevedc Trimmed, Sleeved

10-Inch X X X X

12-Inch X X X X

14-Inch X X X


a Plain: Naked stalks.

bBanded: A narrow rubber band was placed around ribs near the
first node.
c Sleeved: Stalks were placed in 3 1/2" X 6" X 15" vented
polyethylene sleeves and closed at the top with 1" plastic clips.




alternatives consisted of "plain" or naked stalks, "banded" and "sleeved"
whole stalks, and "sleeved" loose ribs. The banded samples had narrow
(approximately 1/8-inch wide) green rubber bands which encircled the
stalk near the first node. The sleeved samples were packaged in vented
sleeves of medium-weight transparent polyethylene which measured
3 1/2 X 6 X 15 inches. The sleeves contained no printing or designs.
One-inch orange plastic clips were used to keep the sleeves closed.
Two crates of size 2 celery were obtained for the samples, one
in Oviedo, the other in Belle Glade. The crates were randomly selected
directly from cold rooms of two different firms. The celery obtained
from both firms was of high quality; stalks were reasonably uniform,
well-shaped and compact, with generally long ribs. Outside ribs averaged
8.9 inches in length from the butt to the first node. Stalks for the
individual samples were also randomly selected from the crates. Samples
were kept on ice to insure freshness.









Each person interviewed was asked to complete a questionnaire to
obtain his appraisal of the various samples. Interviewees were able to
view and compare all samples at once, and were encouraged to handle them
if desired. Everyone was asked whether or not each sample could be
marketed successfully, and to elaborate on his answer. Further, each
respondent was asked to select and rank his top four choices of samples.
Each was also asked to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the
14" plain stalk which is currently the most common way of marketing
Florida celery.


RESULTS

Since a number of Florida celery marketing firms already sleeve
some celery (whole stalks and hearts), the sample characteristic which
attracted the most attention was stalk length. However, packaging
alternatives elicited considerable discussion as well.
Many respondents commented on the various lengths regardless of
packaging or talked about packaging without regard to length. General
comments on stalk length and packaging will be examined first, and will
be followed by a detailed discussion of specific samples.


Stalk Length


All 10-inch samples were frequently criticized and rarely praised.
Most respondents gave them a cursory examination, pausing only long
enough to say that they were too short and that they lacked eye appeal
or that the housewife would not consider the short stalk. Several
shippers commented on possible transportation savings and longer shipping
and shelf life due to elimination of problem-causing leaves, but in
general, very few positive comments were made about the 10-inch cuts.
The 12-inch stalks attracted considerably more attention. There
were a few criticisms of the general appearance, but most comments were
favorable. The most frequently mentioned positive point was that the
12-inch cuts would reduce leaf problems considerably. Growers and
shippers mentioned that disease and/or insect damage and unsightly










feather leaves could be removed in packing. Also, because leaves break
down relatively fast, shipping stalks with fewer leaves would con-
tribute to longer shipping and shelf life. Savings on containers and
transportation were also mentioned repeatedly.
The 14-inch samples were generally well received. Respondents felt
that the overall appearance and appeal of the conventional length is
good. It was mentioned that the 14-inch cut is already accepted by the
trade and by consumers, and that it competes well with California celery.
However, approximately half of those interviewed specifically
mentioned leaf damage or deterioration as a major disadvantage of the
longer stalks. Other problems mentioned were the additional packaging
and transportation costs as compared with shorter cuts. Several also
mentioned that 14-inch stalks were too long to store in typical
refrigerator vegetable drawers.


Packaging Alternatives


Respondents indicated that several firms currently sleeve a portion
of their pack either as hearts or stalks. The reaction to sleeping was
mixed, likely due to differences in packing methods and efficiency in
sleeping operation. Some respondents indicated that sleeping was
profitable and desirable at current upcharge rates, while others sleeve
celery at a financial loss as a service to some buyers. Almost everyone
agreed that sleeping prolonged shelf life, but the primary concern was
the additional cost. Several respondents felt that the sleeve improved
the appearance of the product. Others thought sleeved celery reduced
handling damage and was cleaner to handle at the retail level.
Reaction to the appearance of banded samples was generally favorable.
Respondents commented on the "neat" "compact" look. But, many expressed
concern over potential physical problems and costs associated with
banding. Several interviewees questioned the value of banding to the
consumer, and a few opposed banding because of the possibility of damage
to the stalk by the band or the banding process.










The overall reaction to loose ribs was negative. The general
appearance was repeatedly criticized; several said the loose ribs looked
"damaged" or "dead". Specifically, respondents felt that the cut ends
of the ribs would discolor rapidly and break down more quickly than whole
stalks. Others anticipated that packing costs would be prohibitive.
Several firms have unsuccessfully tried loose ribs; their reasons for
discontinuing the product included poor retail sales, the discoloration
and subsequent rotting of cut rib ends, and high packaging costs,


Specific Samples


Respondents' evaluations of the various alternatives to the currently
marketed 14-inch plain stalk are listed below. Their appraisals of each
sample's market potential (Table 2) and respondents' ranked references
for all samples including the 14-inch plain stalk are in Tables 3 and 4.
10-inch plain. Only 29 percent of those interviewed felt that the
10-inch plain product could be marketed successfully. Nearly half of
those gave the product a conditional "yes" vote; they said the 10-inch
plain stalk could be marketed if no other alternatives were given.
The 10-inch plain sample was included in respondents' top four
choices more frequently than any other 10-inch cut (10 times vs. 8 for
10-inch sleeved) but considerably less frequently than 12 or 14-inch
whole stalks (Table 3).
The primary criticism against the 10-inch plain stalk was general
appearance. Most respondents said it was too short and lacked eye appeal.
Several thought the housewife would not buy it because it lacked leaves.
Others thought the trade might oppose such a short cut because the shorter
stalk would permit less reworking of the tops at the retial level. There
were very few positive comments made about the 10-inch plain stalk.
Several interviewees mentioned possible transportation savings, and one
person cited longer shelf life due to removal of problem-causing leaves.
10-inch banded. Reaction to the 10-inch banded sample was very
similar to the 10-inch plain. Ten respondents, 29 percent of those inter-
viewed, thought that it could be marketed, but half of those felt it had
a chance only if no alternative sizes were offered by either Florida or
California shippers.









Table 2.--Florida celery growers and shippers' appraisals of market
potential for selected celery samples


Could this sample be marketed successfully?
Sample
(Length & Total Total Overall
Package Type) Yes Yes* Yes No No* No Totals


(Percent/Number of Respondents)a


10" Plain


10" Banded


10" Sleeved


10" Loose Ribs


12" Plain


12" Banded


12" Sleeved


12" Loose Ribs


14" Banded

14" Sleeved


100
34

100
34

100
34

100
34

100
35

100
35

100
32

100
32

100
34

100
32


Responses included in starred columns
respondents attached a qualification of their


are conditional, that is,
"yes" or "no" answer.


a The top number in each two-number group is a percentage and the
botton number the actual number of respondents. Slight discrepancies
may occur in percentage totals due to rounding.









Table 3.--Preference rank of selected celery stalk lengths and
packaging types, as expressed by celery growers and shippers,
March, 1976



Preference Rank Total Times Ranked
Treatment in
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Top 4

(Frequency)

10" Plain 0 2 5 3 10

10" Banded 1 0 1 0 2

10" Sleeved 3 0 3 2 8

10" Loose Ribs 0 1 1 0 2

12" Plain 6 5 5 1 17

12" Banded 2 6 3 5 16

12" Sleeved 3 2 3 6 14

12" Loose Ribs 0 0 0 1 1

14" Plain 6 7 3 2 18

14" Banded 9 3 3 0 15

14" Sleeved 0 3 2 3 8


Source: Completed Questionnaires.


Criticisms were directed primarily at the shortness of the stalk and
the lack of leaves. Several respondents expressed concern over physical
banding problems, the cost of banding, and band damage to the stalks.
Only two respondents ranked the 10-inch banded in their top four choices;
one selected it as his first choice, and the other as his third choice
(Table 3). The 10-inch banded sample received few favorable comments.
Several respondents mentioned transportation savings, longer shelf life
due to fewer leaf deterioration problems, and housewife convenience as
positive points.









Table 4.--Preference rank of selected celery packaging types and stalk
lengths, as expressed by celery growers and shippers,
March, 1976



Preference Rank Total Times Ranked
Treatment in
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Top 4

Plain 10 0 2 5 3 10
12 6 5 5 1 17
14 6 7 3 2 18

Banded 10 1 0 1 0 2
12 2 6 3 5 16
14 9 3 3 0 15

Sleeved 10 3 0 3 2 8
12 3 2 3 6 14
14 0 3 2 3 8

Loose Ribs 10 0 1 1 0 2
12 0 0 0 1 1


Source: Completed Questionnaires.


10-inch sleeved. Nearly half of those interviewed, 48 percent,
indicated that the 10-inch sleeved product could probably be marketed
successfully and eight respondents included the 10-inch sleeved in their
top four preferences (Tables 2 and 3). The 10-inch sleeved product
received the same basic criticisms as the other 10-inch cuts: "too short"
and "unattractive." There were fewer specific criticisms of lack of
leaves, however. Apparently, the sleeve makes the amount of leaves less
noticeable. Three respondents expressed concern about the costs of
sleeping. On the positive side, several of those interviewed thought
the sleeve enhanced the overall appearance. There were two favorable
comments in regard to the expected transportation savings and one which
mentioned longer shelf life as an important consideration.
10-inch loose ribs. The 10-inch loose ribs were very poorly received.
Only three respondents thought that this product could be marketed









successfully, and one felt that it could be marketed only if no other
alternatives were available (Table 2). The ranked preferences showed
the same pattern: only two respondents included the 10-inch loose ribs
in their top four choices (Table 3).
The criticisms largely coincided with the other 10-inch samples:
"too short," "no appeal," "too much waste," etc. However, there were
additional criticisms directed specifically at the loose ribs.
A major concern was the packing cost; several thought that loose
ribs would be physically difficult to sleeve which would increase costs
over sleeping whole stalks. A second major concern was shelf life. Many
respondents said the cut rib ends would turn dark and start to rot
quicker than whole stalks. Several felt that housewives would not con-
sider the loose ribs, but in contrast, one interviewee said the loose
ribs would probably be more convenient for housewives. Several of those
interviewed reported that their firms had unsuccessfully tried selling
loose ribs. The primary reasons for discontinuing the loose ribs were
poor retail sales, poor product shelf life, and prohibitive packing
costs.
12-inch plain. Reaction to the 12-inch plain samples was generally
very favorable. A majority of those interviewed, 23 or 83 percent, felt
this cut could be marketed successfully; of these, six respondents (17
percent) felt it could be marketed, but expressed some reservation
(Table 2). Approximately one-fifth of all respondents selected the
12-inch plain as their first choice of all the samples. A total of 17
respondents ranked it among their top four choices (Table 3).
The majority of comments made about the 12-inch plain sample was
positive. There were a few criticisms of the general appearance and the
reduced number of leaves, but there were more positive responses than
negative. Interviewees were quick to point out the advantages of
packing stalks with fewer leaves: (1) leaf defects such as leaf miners,
blight and feather leaves could be eliminated, possibly resulting in
lower growing and packing costs; (2) fewer leaves would result in longer
shipping and shelf life because leaves are the first part of the plant
to deteriorate; (3) substantial transportation savings and (4) possible
container savings.









The opinion was also expressed that the 12-inch length was a more
convenient length for the housewife to use and store than the conventional
14-inch stalk.
12-inch banded. Twenty-six of those interviewed said that the
12-inch sample had market potential; but, of these, six expressed some
reservation (Table 2). Overall appearance and appeal did not seem to be
the primary cause for concern, but rather the cost of the banding
operation. In addition to the cost involved, several felt that the bands
would damage the stalk and accelerate deterioration. Transportation
savings, container savings, longer shelf life, and housewife conve-
nience were other positive points mentioned by a few respondents. The
12-inch banded was selected as a first choice by only two respondents,
but was frequently selected as a second, third, or fourth alternative
(Table 3).
12-inch sleeved. The overall reaction to the 12-inch sleeved
sample was favorable, although there were some dissenters. About
three-fourths of the respondents thought the product could be marketed
successfully; however, several of these expressed some reservations.
One mentioned the possibility of consumers confusing the whole stalks
with hearts; another suggested that the length should be only 11 inches
to facilitate storage in most home refrigerators.
The positive comments dealt primarily with the general appearance
of the product, increased shelf life resulting from fewer leaf problems,
and transportation and container savings. A few comments reflected a
belief that the product would be more convenient for the consumer.
Almost all negative reactions were based on sleeping costs. Most
respondents said that the 12-inch sleeved product had no market
potential because sleeping was too costly and thus restricted sales
if all costs were passed on. The current upcharge for sleeping was
reported to be three to four cents per stalk. Some respondents
indicated that this was profitable; others reported losing money at
these rates. The mixed reaction to sleeping is probably due to dif-
ferences in packing operations, i.e., field packing vs. central packing
sheds and the resulting efficiencies in the sleeping operation.









The 12-inch sleeved sample was selected as a first choice by only
three respondents, but was selected as a second, third, or fourth choice
by eleven others (Table 3).
12-inch loose ribs. The overwhelming reaction to the 12-inch loose
ribs was negative. Only six of those interviewed felt that the 12-inch
loose ribs had market potential. Three of the six gave various qualifi-
cations to their statements that the product had market potential. One
said sales of loose ribs would probably compete with sales of whole
stalks; another said it would sell if no alternatives were given, and
a third said that it would probably sell if the bag contained information
adequately describing the contents. Only two respondents gave specific,
favorable comments; one said "it looks ok," the other indicated it would
be convenient for housewives in preparing relish trays. There were many
criticisms of the 12-inch loose ribs. Generally, poor appearance, lack
of eye appeal, quick discoloration of cut rib ends, excessive packing
costs, and fear of consumer resistance were the most common complaints.
The negative reactions were also reflected in respondents' pre-
ference ratings. No one selected the 12-inch loose rib product as a
first, second, or third choice and only one selected it as a fourth
alternative (Table 3). Several interviewees indicated that their firms
had tried packing loose ribs but had discounted them because of poor
retail sales, poor shelf life, and excessive packing costs.
14-inch plain. Growers and shippers estimated that 90 to 95 per-
cent of Florida celery shipments consist of the 14-inch plain stalks.
Because of this pack's importance, respondents were shown a 14-inch
plain stalk of celery and asked to elaborate on its advantages and
disadvantages.
The advantages most frequently mentioned was that 14-inch plain
stalks are attractive and appealing to both the trade and to consumers.
A few respondents felt the leafy tops appealed to the housewife because
she could use them in cooking and thus get more for her money.
Another frequently mentioned advantage was the relatively low cost
of packing, specifically mentioned by five of those interviewed. Several
interviewees thought that the 14-inch cut was advantageous because of its









current trade acceptance, and one felt that the 14-inch plain was easier
to re-trim at the retail level.
The appeal of the currently accepted product was also demonstrated
in the preference rankings. Although the 14-inch plain stalk was selected
as a first choice by only six respondents as compared to nine for the
14-inch banded, it was selected as one of the top four choices by 18
respondents.
There was considerable agreement regarding the disadvantages of the
14-inch plain stalk. Seventeen of those interviewed specifically mentioned
leaf problems. The 14-inch length requires that the leaves be essentially
free of insect damage, diseases, and feather leaves.
Most respondents also pointed out that the leaves are the first part
of the celery plant to.deteriorate, and a few felt that the 14-inch cut
resulted in unnecessary transportation costs for tops. Several respon-
dents felt that the 14-inch plain stalks were messy to handle at the
retail level and also subject to damage by housewives. Three respond-
ents felt that the 14-inch stalk was too long to be conveniently stored
in home refrigerators. One respondent also felt that the 14-inch stalk
was a disadvantage because retailers prefer more compact stalks in order
to conserve shelf space and reduce stocking time.
14-inch banded. Generally, reaction to this sample was favorable.
Approximately three-fourths felt the 14-inch banded had a good appear-
ance and eye appeal and thus could be marketed successfully, but many
respondents were concerned with the cost of banding. Almost one-fifth
of those interviewed mentioned banding costs as the primary detriment;
several suggested that the banding be done at the retail level.
Several respondents felt that the 14-inch stalks were too long for
the housewife to store conveniently, but several others felt that house-
wives prefer the leafy tops. Three of those interviewed criticized the
sample because they felt the 14-inch length included too many leaves and
thus shelf life would be reduced. Two interviewees feared the band would
damage the stalk, thereby creating problems.
The favorable reaction to the 14-inch banded sample was further
reflected in the preference rankings. Nine of the respondents selected








it as their first choice; three selected it as their second choice, and
three picked it as their third choice.
14-inch sleeved. Twenty-five of the respondents thought the 14-inch
sleeved product could be marketed. However, nine of the 25 were some-
what hesitant. Some expressed concern over the additional cost of
sleeping but several comments were directed at the length rather than
the package. A couple of respondents mentioned relatively quick de-
terioration of leaves. Some also said that stalks were too long to fit
in the average house refrigerator. On the positive side, six said the
14-inch sleeved was attractive and made a good appearance and three
specifically mentioned longer shelf life as a benefit of sleeping.
The majority of those that saw no potential for the 14-inch sleeved
product cited cost of sleeping as the reason. There was one person who
objected to the appearance of sleeved celery and another that expressed
a particular dislike for the 14-inch length because of leaf deterioration.
The 14-inch sleeved fared rather poorly in terms of preference
rankings when compared to the other 14-inch lengths and the 12-inch
sleeved sample. The 14-inch sleeved product was ranked in the top four
choices by only eight respondents and none selected it as a first choice
(Table 3 ).


CONCLUSIONS

The basic sample characteristic which attracted the most grower and
shipper attention was stalk length. Reducing the stalk length was
generally viewed as having direct benefits, but packaging was not gen-
erally considered to be of much immediate direct benefit. Further
changes in stalk length could easily be implemented by everyone in the
celery industry. On the other hand, adoption of packaging alternatives
could possibly require substantial changes in harvesting and packing
procedures. Banding and sleeping, if acceptable to the trade and con-
sumers, may improve some firms' marketing efforts and help other firms
later.
There were a few dissenters in every case, but the consensus was
that the 10-inch samples were too short. The feeling was that they









sacrificed too much eye appeal and thus would encounter resistance from
the trade and consumers. Loose ribs, both 10 and 12-inch, were rejected.
They apparently have little market potential because of reduced shelf
life, prohibitive packing costs, and consumer resistance.
The 12-inch whole stalks were well received. Compared to the tra-
ditional 14-inch length, the 12-inch cut apparently offers a compromise
which could reduce packing and shipping problems by eliminating many
of the troublesome leaves. Substantial transportation savings and
possibly some container savings could result from adopting the 12-inch
length.
The traditional 14-inch length received many favorable comments.
However, many growers and shippers are beginning to question the packing
and shipping of leaves that may not be essential to retail sales. The
14-inch cut currently marketed may be the only viable alternative at
the present because of competition from other celery growing areas or
because of consumer preferences.
Growers and shippers had many opinions on consumer preferences
with regard to the quantity of leaves and type of packaging desired.
Many of these opinions were conflicting at this point, since no one
really knows what the consumer wants.
While shorter stalk lengths or alternative packaging may be more
efficient from the grower, shipper, wholesaler and retailer viewpoints,
efficiency is not always translated into greater sales and greater
profits. People anywhere in the marketing system can refuse to go along
with efficiency because of "tradition" or preconceived, erroneous
ideas about what the consumer "really wants."































APPENDIX









Growers and shippers were quite willing to give their views on the
samples shown them, but they were usually quick to point out that the
ultimate decisions on marketing alternatives were made by produce buyers
and consumers. Thus, they raised the question of trade and consumer
acceptance of the samples shown in this phase of the study. The follow-
ing is an outline of possible research areas that emerged during the
course of the interviews.


Researchable Problems Affecting the
Florida Celery Industry

I. At the wholesale and retail level
A. What lengths and packaging alternatives are offered by competing
areas?
B. How does Florida celery compare to competition in overall quality,
with respect to:
1. Uniformity of pack
2. Shelf life
3. Appearance
a. Shape and compactness
b. Color
c. Leaves
d. Rib length and curvature?
C. Are Florida celery containers acceptable to the trade; with
respect to:
1. Size
2. Type: wirebound, waxed carton, plastic
a. Physical aspects of shipping and handling
b. Disposal problems related to different types of containers
c. Containers' effects on product quality?
D. Would simplified size standards be acceptable? (For example,
use "Small, Medium, Large" or similar classifications to modify
current count system.)
E. What are current merchandising practices and problems?
1. What is the extent and nature of packaging at the whole-
sale and retail levels?
2. What are the costs of wholesale and retail packaging
activities?
3. What are specific merchandising problems, such as:
a. The extent of reworking
b. How do various stalk lengths and packages affect display
space and techniques?









F. What are effects of length and packaging alternatives on
retail sales?
G. What are the most effective promotional activities for Florida
celery?
II. At the consumer level
A. What are the use patterns effecting length and/or package
preferences?
1. Frequency of purchase and use
2. Serving methods raw or cooked, regular use of special
occasions
3. Amount of trimming done at home
4. Use of leaves
5. Method and duration of home storage
6. Perceived problems in purchasing and using celery?

B. How knowledgeable and selective are consumers regarding the
geographic origin of celery?




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