Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’
The first recipients of the National Food MarketMaker Innovation Awards are Ohio and South Carolina. The awards, sponsored by Farm Credit, were presented June 27 in Pittsburgh, PA at the National Value Added Agriculture Conference.
MarketMaker, an online marketing resource that connects food producers with markets, invited all of the participating states to submit proposals which highlighted their innovative efforts. Farm Credit Council led a committee that included food and agricultural stakeholder groups to select the winning states. Ohio and South Carolina each received $7,000 from Farm Credit.
“Ohio’s program ‘Get Connected with Ohio MarketMaker’ demonstrated strong food industry partnerships and doubled the number of registered MarketMaker business profiles in Ohio by uniting seven organizations,” said University of Illinois marketing specialist Darlene Knipe. “The creation of ‘Get Connected’ artwork and marketing resources will benefit the entire National MarketMaker network of states.”
The National website is located at: www.foodmarketmaker.com. The site currently includes 16 participating states plus Washington, D.C., with Texas and Alabama in the development stage.
“South Carolina’s program ‘Helping MarketMaker “Float” in U.S. Coastal States and Beyond’ won the award for the unique partnership between Clemson University and the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium Extension program to develop a pilot seafood component,” Knipe said. “It evolved into a national component. This effort diversified MarketMaker product offerings, engaged new producers and consumers in the MarketMaker network, and contributed to the expansion of MarketMaker into several new coastal states.”
Representing Farm credit Council at the awards ceremony was Gary Matteson, vice president of Farm Credit’s Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach.
“It’s impressive to see how resourceful each MarketMaker program is, and understand the potential for these great ideas to be put to good use in other states,” Matteson said.
MarketMaker is hosted and maintained by University of Illinois Extension and is guided by an advisory board made up of representatives from among participating partner states. There is no charge associated with having a business listed on the site or to search the site for information.
For more information about MarketMaker, contact Darlene Knipe (309-792-2500; email@example.com).
One of the lesser known features on MarketMaker is some thing called What’s New in MarketMaker. It can be found on MarketMaker’s National Portal and it’s actually a list of the latest activities on our site. I think it’s interesting because it allows me to see who the most popular businesses and farms are on MarketMaker. When I last checked, Frank Farms in Berrien Center, Michigan was among the most visited sites on MarketMaker. According to their profile they sell a wide assortment of fruit and produce as well as soybeans. Lauren Farms down in Leland, Mississippi also has quite a following on MarketMaker. They sell freshwaters prawns and catfish. They are unique and their web site is worth visiting. You can even find recipes like PRAWNS & GRITS CASSEROLE there.
What’s New in MarketMaker includes a list of our newest registrants and the most recent posts to MarketMaker’s Buy Sell Forum. If you are a restaurant or grocery store looking for organically grown chicken, check out the post from Windy Ridge Farm in Alfred, New York.
If you’re interested, check out What’s New in MarketMaker at http://national.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/whatsnew.php
Industry experts with the Nielsen Service are making some interesting predictions for 2009 regarding our changing attitudes toward food. These projections are based on surveys conducted in 2008 and indicate that food consumers are becoming a much more frugal lot. Value is now the dominate motivator in what we eat and how we purchase food. It even displaces convenience, which in this world of instant gratification, is a significant development. We may find more and more consumers opting to tear up their own lettuce or raise and freeze their own vegetables. In fact that same study indicates that unit sales of canning and freezing supplies grew 10.6% during 2008 and lead the list of high growth categories at the grocery store.
Food consumers are also buying fewer branded products. Purchases of branded products declined by 3.3%. This drop was recognized across all categories with one very notable exception. Demand for branded fresh meat products actually increased in 2008. This is good news for all of those livestock producers that we have advised over the past 10 years on developing branded programs.
As food consumers tried to squeeze more value from their food dollars, Nielsen experts predict an increase in food cooked at home and less wasteful behavior toward food. Precooked foods are being replaced by purchases of food staples. Everything I’ve read in this study makes me think that Master Gardner’s will be in great demand as people rediscover the joy of growing their own back yard fruits and vegetables. Pot roast and other economy cuts of meat will be back in vogue and recipes for how to prepare those cuts will also be in demand. Ironically, we will find ourselves needing to relearn a lot of things we’ve forgotten how to do over the course of the past generation.
Source: Nielsen Scantrack, a service of The Nielsen Company (January 26, 2009
Farmer Smith raises hogs farrow-to-finish in large confinement buildings according to conventional protocols for yield and health maintenance. He sells his hogs on the commodity market, they are processed by a large corporation, and they end up as fresh cuts in attractive packages on supermarket shelves all over the country under a well-reputed brand name. The label contains the company’s logo and all legally-required information on nutrition and handling. The meat is priced in line with competitors’ pork.
Farmer Brown raises certified organic Berkshire hogs in deep-bedded hoop houses and sells the meat in frozen cuts at a local farmers market. Farmer Brown personally answers customers’ questions and hosts farm tours. In addition to all the legally-required information, the stick-on label on each package also has a picture of Farmer Brown, the location of his farm, the USDA Organic seal, a sample recipe, and a short blurb about how his pigs are raised. Each package sells for about twice what one would pay for comparable commodity pork at the grocery store.
If I asked you what Farmer Smith’s product is, what would say? How about Farmer Brown? Sure, they are both selling pork, but isn’t there more to their product?
Pork may be the tangible consumer good that changes hands during a transaction, but consider what else consumers are getting when they buy pork from these producers. When they buy Farmer Smith’s pork, consumers are probably getting consistency, a relatively low price, perhaps a freshness guarantee from the company, and the convenience of getting all their shopping done in one place. When consumers buy Farmer Brown’s pork, they are probably getting a unique flavor profile, a third-party certification of the grower’s production system, perhaps a good feeling for supporting local agriculture, and a relationship with a particular farmer, his story, and his way of life.
A product is really the total bundle of benefits, both tangible and intangible, that a customer receives in a transaction. Farmers and other food entrepreneurs who wish to sell agricultural products, especially in non-commodity or value-added markets, need to carefully consider the full scope of their products, and to which customer segments those benefits will be appealing enough to generate sales. Although pork may be pork to some consumers, to others, that pork may be a relationship, a social cause, or a vote for the shape of the future of agriculture.