Do you know what food is local? The ‘Island Good’ branding and marketing initiative kicked off this spring and it will help increase awareness and demand for ‘Made/Grown on Vancouver Island’ food products. (Citizen file)

‘Island Good’ initiative showcases locally made food

Who doesn’t like to know where their food comes from?

A initiative led by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is making sure Vancouver Island residents know what food they purchase was made/grown right here at home.

The branding and marketing initiative kicked off this spring and it will help increase awareness and demand for ‘Made/Grown on Vancouver Island’ food products.

“‘Island Good’ is the first phase of a project we believe will grow and continue through multiple phases,” said George Hanson, president of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. “This first phase is a pilot project focused on point of sale consumer awareness design to measure purchase response to increased product awareness with the belief that if Island made products are easier to identify in the major grocery stores, people will respond by buying more to support local production.”

The first phase is set to run through the summer until mid September.

The intention is to work directly with producers “to broaden the retail footprint” in future phases, but initially, the campaign embraces all Island-made food products currently carried on the shelves of Country Grocer, Thrifty Foods, Quality Foods and 49th Parallel Grocers.

“Any food product being produced in the Cowichan Region that is currently carried by any of these four retailers is featured as ‘Island Good’ in those stores,” Hanson explained. “It is our hope that the pilot will show increased consumer demand which will translate into more producers, producing more products for sale in more retail stores creating more jobs and attracting more production investment on Vancouver Island.”

Chaired by Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, the Island Coastal Economic Trust is supporting the project with a $30,000 contribution.

“Our region has a large number of small agricultural producers and food processors who haven’t been able to get representation on the shelves of major grocers or other distribution outlets,” explained Phil Kent, ICE-T Board Chair. “This multi-phase project aims to serve as a proof-of-concept that targeted and coordinated marketing can significantly increase sales, creating the business case for grocers to carry more locally produced food and for smaller producers to invest in the certifications and business growth required to access larger markets.”

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