Terry Stevenson’s Agricultural Weblog

A blog about news and events occuring in Canadian agriculture

When local makes it big

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A recent news column in the on-line version of the New York Times caught my attention called, “When local makes it big” in the “Dining and Wine” section. The story described how five potato farmers on Tuesday May 12, 2009, “rang the bell” at the New York Stock Exchange launching a media campaign trying to position Frito-Lay potato chips, America’s best selling brand as “local food.”

This advertising strategy will see Frito-Lay showcase some of the farmers who grow the potatoes that they use in making their chips. One example cited in the article is that of a potato farmer in Florida that will be featured in the Frito-Lay ads where Frito-Lay has a production facility in Florida. Frito-Lay is trying to embrace and take advantage of the growing consumer movement of “eating locally.”

Another example given is Hunt’s canned tomatoes which are grown within 120 miles of their processing plant in California. They reason that if they can show consumers that their canned tomatoes are grown relatively close to where consumers live, they will more inclined to purchase Hunt’s brand rather than a competitors.

In Ontario we already have the successful “Buy Ontario” program which consumers have embraced whole-heartedly. The “Homegrown Ontario” program which brings together the marketing forces from the Ontario pork, veal, turkey, sheep and independent meat processors has also been a tremendous success with consumers.

I can just imagine how powerful it would be for Canadian food suppliers, for example someone like Heinz who have a plant in Leamington, to start featuring a media campaign around their ketchup and canned tomatoes that were grown by “John Doe” farmer in Essex. Frito-Lay has a plant in Cambridge that could perhaps use the same marketing template they are launching in Florida, again featuring an area farmer or group of farmers.

I like this new marketing approach that Frito-Lay and Hunt’s are developing south of the border and can’t wait to see if they and other food manufacturers try and do the same in Canada. This is a win-win scenario for everyone involved, the farmer, the food manufacturer, the retailer and of course most of all, the consumer.


Written by terrystevenson

May 14, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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