Manitoba’s economy is getting a boost from the Buy Manitoba campaign, as sales of products grown or processed in Manitoba are on the rise, according to Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn.
From May 1, 2012, to April 30, 2013, sales of marked Buy Manitoba products in Safeway stores throughout the province grew 2.4 per cent over the previous year. Total product sales among participating Manitoba companies increased by approximately $1.5 million.
GETTING WITH THE PROGRAM
• Buy Manitoba is a public awareness campaign jointly funded by the provincial government and industry contributions. The program, developed to help Manitobans more clearly identify Manitoba foods, is administered by the Manitoba Food Processors Association.
• Unlike most buy-local programs, the Buy Manitoba campaign focuses on both processed and fresh food products. Regardless of whether it's fresh Manitoba carrots or Manitoba roasted coffee, choosing to buy local product has a positive impact on a community.
• To participate in the program, products must qualify as either:Manitoba food: any food or beverage made entirely from ingredients sourced in Manitoba or composed of more than 85 per cent of main ingredients from Manitoba. All the processing and packaging activities must be completed in Manitoba.
Manitoba-made food: any food product or beverage processed and packaged entirely in Manitoba. When the main ingredients are available in Manitoba in sufficient quantities, they must be used.
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"Manitobans want to buy food products that are grown or produced right here in our province," Kostyshyn said.
"The local food industry thrives on entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to compete with the world market. We are pleased to see local producers creating new food products, good jobs and new economic opportunities."
Preliminary data shows eight companies participating in the Buy Manitoba program have added 38 new jobs over the past year.
There are now 81 Manitoba food producers and processors registered as participants in the program and participating companies have achieved a 5.4 per cent increase in the number of new products for a total of more than 60 new Manitoba products listed in grocery and food service outlets in the province.
Safeway, the program’s official retail launch partner, has placed Buy Manitoba signs and shelf markers throughout its 33 Manitoba stores.
"Buy Manitoba is a highly visible symbol that celebrates the incredible local selection available at Safeway," said John Graham, director of public affairs and government relations for the company.
"Manitoba companies, both smaller vendors and nationally known, are directly benefiting from this added profile as customers are showing their support for local options.
"The Buy Manitoba program provides a valuable method of educating our customers on the availability of local product and ultimately strengthens Manitoba’s economy through the purchase of that product."
Dave Shambrock, executive director of the Manitoba Food Processors Association, said he is very encouraged by the results they’ve achieved in running this program for the food industry.
"Buy Manitoba promotes and supports a range of companies, from small vendors that sell their artisanal products at farmers’ markets to large companies whose products are available at many retailers," he said.
"For Manitoba’s artisanal food producers, the program provides ways to connect with more customers seeking unique quality foods."
Consumers are encouraged to look for the Buy Manitoba logo this holiday season while dining out. There are many food producers who have storefronts with dining areas featuring the freshest-possible product.
Buy Manitoba will be expanding its retail presence and has designed new signage to be featured at specialty retailers throughout the province.
For more information on Buy Manitoba and companies participating in the program, visit buymanitobafoods.ca.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 27, 2013