The ‘Canada Brand’ is back to help agri-food businesses with marketing
The federal government announced an update to the Canada Brand to take advantage of digital platforms amid rising e-commerce trends.
By Stephanie Gordon
The Canadian federal government will refresh the Canada Brand platform to ensure Canadian agri-food businesses have access to new graphics and tools made for today’s digital platforms.
The refresh will also enable them to reach more consumers and enhance virtual connections with international buyers. It will also include a modernized look, signature, messaging, and suite of digital-first marketing products for the Canada Brand, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The Canada Brand launched in 2006, offering registered members access to promotional products designed to raise the profile of, and help differentiate, Canadian agri-food products from the competition. The strategy and its elements are free to use and the Canada Brand has approximately 800 members who have been approved through an application process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how businesses across Canada operate and market their products, from finding new market development channels, increasing the use of e-commerce and participating in virtual events. The same is true for Canada’s agriculture and agri-food businesses, which are working hard to find new ways to promote their products to consumers across Canada and around the world.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been working hard to ensure that farmers and processors remain competitive while faced with new challenges and opportunities,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food, in a released statement. “Canada has a great reputation for our high-quality agricultural products, and by updating the Canada Brand to take advantage of digital platforms, we will be able to showcase our excellent products in markets around the world. This is nothing less than a necessary step for the sustainability of Canadian agriculture.”
“Canada has a great reputation for our high-quality agricultural products, and by updating the Canada Brand to take advantage of digital platforms, we will be able to showcase our excellent products in markets around the world.”
The Canada Brand program is open to Canadian entities that have a role in producing, promoting or supporting Canadian agriculture, food and seafood products. It currently includes branding and graphics material, photography for use in marketing and promotional materials, Canadian content statements, messaging on Canada’s advantages and promotion at Canada Pavilions for international trade shows.
“People across the globe know that when something is made in Canada, it’s safe and of the highest quality. In today’s time of crisis, people need safe and reliable products more than ever before – and our Canadian agriculture and agri-food businesses have the best on offer,” added Mary Ng, minsiter of small business, export promotion and international trade. “I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to help them grow, adapt to today’s realities, and reach new customers in international markets with refreshed Canada Brand digital marketing.”
Easier to support local
The refreshed Canada Brand can also help producers who sell within Canada, because Canadians have demonstrated a strong affinity to support local fruit and vegetable businesses.
In March 2020, Fruit and Vegetable shared the results of a Leger 360 survey of Canadian consumer habits.
The survey revealed a strong presence among Canadians for supporting local, especially in Atlantic Canada, Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario.
In total, 85 per cent of Canadians prefer to buy local vegetables and 84 per cent prefer to buy local fruits. Atlantic Canada showed the strongest preference with around 92 per cent of survey participants preferring to buy local, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba showed the least with only around 71 per cent preferring to buy local. The low percentages can be attributed to availability and quality – there is less variety of locally grown produce in the Prairies.
Lisa Covens from Leger 360 noted that Atlantic Canada always skews more positive generally so the high support for local produce is not surprising. Overall, Canadians buy local produce to encourage the local economy, for product freshness or quality, to reduce their environmental footprint, and to pay less.