Hope, President of the Marketing Edge who has been marketing food products for over 12 years claims the new 100 mile diet trend has made it easier for small producers to get their foot in the door.
“Sysco has started a “Go Local” program where sales representatives can give their customers a list of local products to choose from. Save-On-Foods has dedicated shelf space that singles out local products. This is a first for the marketplace.”
Hope says that they were able to get VitalyTea’s two brands: Canada Chai Concentrates and Canada Teas into both venues playing the local/Alberta/
VitalyTeas’ Co-owner and President, Fanta Camara says she buys local ingredients whenever she can: The Original Chai contains Alberta Honey and Quebec Maple Syrup. Five of her 10 pyramidal tea bag flavours use herbs harvested in Alberta. None of the company’s competitors can claim to contain ingredients that support our Canadian economy to this same level.
Even the wood display stands for the teas are hand made from Alberta wood products in Alberta.
“We believe in supporting ethical Canadian farmers and suppliers before going outside the country,” reported Mrs. Camara.
Many competitors in the area of chai and teas are produced in the USA and not Canada. The Live Local trend is not just about eating products from within 100 miles but from within your country. In a competitive market like chai and teas, VitalyTeas is trying to carve their slice of the pie as the go-to Canadian chai and tea option.
Distributors and grocers can help by giving producers a forum to sell their goods, however they cannot make the people buy.
Hope says, “The old saying,“You can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink,” holds true when it comes to selling off the shelf. Getting a listing on shelf space is one thing, but the people have to want to buy it.”
Ms. Hope was personal experience with taking a product to market. She was the co-owner and managing partner of Cattle Boyz Foods, taking BBQ sauces to market back in 1998.
Hopes reports that to make people buy something, there has to be a level of brand awareness and good packaging to get first time trials.
“Since this can be a costly undertaking, and we are dealing with small companies, we have to hope that the people want to choose local brands over imported brands”, she says.
Hope suggests that perhaps more awareness is needed.
“Consumers need to know that when they support a local food producer they are helping to build a company and economy that can provide food locally over the long-term. Too many of our products are coming from the USA, what happens if there is a drought or fuel costs skyrocket?”
Hope says we are all vulnerable if we depend on imported foods. “We have to help the producers of our region in order to be self-sufficient.”
Hope reports that she has other clients who are making their way to the shelves due to the Go Local program and that it’s a wonderful thing for producers, marketers and consumers.