L&M in Raleigh, NC, promotes Georgia Grown vegetables through a variety of packaging, including labels, trays, bag clips, paper and poly bags, tote bags, bins and half bins, display tables and display-ready cartons. It uses a combination of its own artwork, as well as photographs and logos supplied by state agriculture departments, says Lee Anne Oxford, director of marketing. L&M provides customers with print ads, photos and local farm stories, and works to keep local farms and programs producing to provide the longest local season possible for its customers.
The local trend is growing. “Retail, foodservice and wholesale companies all value local support on a wide range of products,” says Oxford. “Local and regional produce and promotions are very important to our customers and their customers. We find that a wide variety of consumers love local produce and supporting their local farms.” Those customers include small local stores, national retailers, institutions and quick-service and white tablecloth restaurants. L&M markets a variety of vegetables and is experimenting with new items.
Southern Valley Fruit & Vegetable Inc., based in Norman Park, GA, promotes its bell peppers, cucumbers and squash through social media. It identifies Georgia product through the #GeorgiaGrown hashtag. Labeling all boxes with the Georgia Grown logo shows retailers, foodservice and wholesale customers they are buying a Georgia Grown product.
Customer interest is high when Georgia is harvesting crops and people specifically seek Georgia product, says Katie Murray, director of marketing. “We think it is very important that consumers are aware and in the know when product is local to the state of Georgia,” she says. “When Georgia’s growing season is in, they don’t want product from Mexico or from some other part of the United States; they want Georgia product and they have the assurance that’s what they’re getting with the Georgia Grown logo on our boxes. More and more people want to know where their food comes from and they want to buy it from a local vendor. Making sure consumers are aware the product is Georgia Grown is very important as to whether or not it is a product they will choose to buy, specifically during certain times of the year when they know product should be in season.”