Watermelon Selection from BinAbout The Assessment Increase

Learn about the assessment, history and options for the future

Following the 2017-2021 Econometric Evaluation executed by Armada Corporate Intelligence, Inc., some Board and industry members started a discussion regarding the need for an assessment increase for the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB/Board). President Christian Murillo and 1st Vice President Lee Wroten included Assessment Rate on the monthly agenda for the Executive Committee starting in April 2023 and presented The Case for the Assessment Increase at the September 2023 Board Meeting.

This webpage offers all you need to know on the potential assessment increase including more on the Board, the history of the assessment rate, inflation’s impact, justification of the increase, including the growth of watermelon volume and FOB, proposed assessment levels and how those funds would be spent to promote watermelon.

The National Watermelon Promotion Board met February 24th, in Scottsdale, AZ, in conjunction with the National Watermelon Association Annual Convention. Most notably, following a favorable report on industry support, the Board voted to move forward with a 3 cent per hundredweight increase to the Board’s assessment level. This change means a total assessment of 9 cents per hundredweight. This amount is split between growers and shippers and paid in total by importers. The Board staff, overseen by the Executive Committee, will work to submit all necessary documentation to the USDA for the Rulemaking Process which includes a 60-day comment period. During the comment period, industry members are encouraged to share their opinions on the potential assessment increase.

FAQs

The National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB), based in Winter Springs, Florida, was established in 1989 as an agricultural promotion group to promote watermelon in the United States and in various markets abroad. Funded through a self-mandated industry assessment paid by more than 700 watermelon producers, handlers and importers, NWPB’s mission is to increase consumer demand for watermelon through promotion, research and education programs.

A serving of nutrient-dense watermelon provides an excellent source of vitamin C (25% DV), a source of vitamin B6 (8% DV), and a delicious way to stay hydrated (92% water) with only 80 calories per two-cup serving. Watermelon consumption per capita in the United States was nearly 15.5 pounds in 2022. Watermelon consumption in the U.S. was nearly 5.2 billion pounds in 2022. The U.S. exported an additional 328 million pounds of watermelon.

The Board has comprehensive communications, marketing, foodservice and research programs, all of which help increase demand for watermelon year-round. Here you can see a video highlighting results of the 2023/2024 fiscal year communications, marketing and foodservice programs. Research and industry support also help increase the demand of watermelon:

  • Consumer Attitude and Usage Research
  • Retail Research Including Scan Data and Ad Tracking
  • Supply Chain Research Including the Weekly Watermelon Market Report. Custom reports are also available as a part of the Retail and Supply Chain Research
  • Foodservice Research Including Menu Usage
  • Health and Nutrition Research, which increases watermelon nutrition messaging in media
  • Industry Support and Training including Crisis Communications and training like Communications and Queen Training

“Jennifer” exemplifies the Board’s target market. She is a 48-year-old, family-oriented female. Morals and values guide her decisions. Experiences are more important than things. She may be somewhat quiet, but she is an optimistic go-getter used to taking charge. Jennifer sees watermelon messages as she scrolls through social media and in a magazine in her doctor’s office. She sees watermelon being demoed in a recipe at her retail store, and she sees watermelon at her go-to lunch spot. What she doesn’t know and the industry might not know either is that so much of that watermelon placement starts with the work of the NWPB.

Between 2009-2018, there was a unique combination of revenue exceeding projections and some programs, while executed, were under budgeted amounts.

In 2018, the Executive Committee directed a drawdown of operating reserves to fund more robust activities in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

To achieve a balanced budget in 2025, the budget and programs will have to be reduced by $315,176 compared to 2023.

The goal is a balanced budget moving forward.

The Board will continue high-caliber programming to increase demand but programs have already started to scale back to levels needed for a balanced budget.

Just like growing watermelon, promoting watermelon comes at a higher cost in 2023.

In addition to these costs and budget shifts, inflation has had a major impact on the Board’s buying power.

The dollar devaluation translates to lost buying power of roughly 30%. Specifically, looking at $3,024,721, the Board has the spending power of $2,104,601.

The Board is currently one of the lowest assessments as the percentage of unit value compared to other boards.

But ranks among the highest ROI when compared to the same Board’s five-year evaluations.

Please note, each Board executes its own evaluation and methods vary.

Watermelon Movement and FOB price have increased since the last assessment increase.

In the 34 years of the Board’s existence, the assessment rate has been increased one time in 2008. (Original assessment: 1989-2007; Current assessment: 2008-now)

 

New assessment rate figures

 

 

  • Industry awareness and input through:
    • Presentations given at Association Conventions
    • Ongoing NWPB Executive Committee Meetings
    • Monthly NWPB Watermelon Update
    • This webpage dedicated to information on the increase
    • Industry mailer
    • Town Hall at NWA Annual Convention
  • Final NWPB decision at February Board Meeting
  • If the Board votes to proceed:
    • USDA Submission
    • 60-Day Comment Period
    • USDA Rulemaking
  • Projected on January 1, 2025 the new assessment level would be collected

With an assessment rate of $0.00045 per pound for growers and shippers/$0.0009 for importers, NWPB budget in 2025 is estimated to be $5,025,420.

Option 2 allows for cutting-edge marketing and communications programs to be implemented.

Please email [email protected] with any questions about the proposed assessment increase.

Resources

  • Screeshot of the Case for the 2025 NWPB Assessment Increase

    The Case for the Assessment Increase

  • Supporting the promotion of watermelon cover image

    Presentation to Associations

  • Screenshot of the NWPB board book

    2022/2023 Annual Report

  • Screenshot of the econometric analysis report cover

    2017-2021 Econometric Evaluation

2023 Highlight Video