Grocers collaborate on new local food awareness initiative

Watch for ‘Island Good’ signs at grocers throughout Vancouver island

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) has launched a new initiative aimed at increasing the strength of the local food economy.

Titled ‘Island Good,’ the initiative will run March through mid-September in Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, Country Grocer, and 49th Parallel stores.

In all stores of the participating grocers, shoppers will be alerted to Vancouver Island-produced food products through a specially-designed wordmark and in-store signage as well as external advertising campaigns in print, radio and television.

“It is our belief that more people will purchase these quality food products made or grown close to home if they are more aware of these products and can find them more easily in stores,” said VIEA president George Hanson. “We believe this will lead to increased demand, which can lead to increased potential for export trade and better balance in our Island economy.”

VIEA is an organization working to help the Island make its mark on the global economic stage. A report released by the alliance in October 2017 shows that, while the Canadian economy is 70 per cent services and 30 per cent goods, the Island economy is 80 per cent services and only 20 per cent goods.

That statistic supports the organization’sdecision to create an ambitious goal.

“We want to have every product from potatoes to airplane parts marked ‘Grown’ or ‘Made on Vancouver Island,’ ” said Hanson.

“As people around the world continually see Island-produced goods, this, we believe, will spur interest in Vancouver Island as a great place to invest as well as to live, and shift that 20 per cent to a much higher value.”

VIEA plans to compare same product, same store, same month sales activity during the March-September Island Good pilot project with sales records from 2017 to demonstrate the effect of improved product awareness. This information will be used to encourage food producers to mark their products ‘Made on Vancouver Island’ or ‘Grown on Vancouver Island,’ thereby further promoting these local products and building demand.

“Living is good on Vancouver Island. Food is good on Vancouver Island. It’s good to buy local — for a whole host of reasons. It’s ‘Island Good,’” said Hanson.

The project is made possible by funding provided by the Island Coastal Economic Trust and support from the BC Salmon Farmers Association, Vancouver Island Farm Products Inc., Paradise Island Foods, B&C Foods, HotHouse Marketing, Spark Strategic Group, and Portofino European Bakery.

Learn more at www.islandgood.ca

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