A public awareness campaign that helps identify foods and beverages grown and processed here has significantly boosted sales of made-in-Manitoba products.
Sales of products included in the Buy Manitoba campaign grew over 2.4 per cent between May 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013. Total product sales among participating Manitoba companies increased by approximately $1.5 million.
That’s actual cash register sales, not an estimate, and it represents a significant increase, said Dave Shambrock, executive director of the Manitoba Food Processors Association (MFPA), which administers the campaign. “In the grocery industry a one per cent increase in sales is huge. So that’s staggering.”
The Buy Manitoba campaign was launched in the spring of 2012 and is jointly funded by the province and industry. Foods or beverages that qualify for the Buy Manitoba campaign must have 85 per cent or more of their main ingredient sourced in Manitoba, and all processing and packaging must be done here. Currently 81 Manitoba food producers and processors are registered as participants.
Safeway, the program’s official retail launch partner, has Buy Manitoba signs and shelf markers throughout its 33 Manitoba stores. Vita Health Stores also participate in the Buy Manitoba program, as do a growing number of independent retailers.
The program has had the extra benefit of showing consumers what foods and beverages are Manitoba made, John Graham, Safeway public affairs director, said in a news release.
“Manitoba companies, both smaller vendors and nationally known, are directly benefiting from this added profile as customers are showing their support for local options,” he said.
Shambrock said in addition to these increased sales, that was a hoped-for outcome of the campaign. “It’s really raised the visibility of the breadth and the diversity of food that’s grown and processed in Manitoba.”
The Buy Manitoba campaign has also made some inroads with food service in Manitoba. Shambrock says there’s a whole lot more they hope to see happening with that in future.