A renewed focus on domestic markets got off to a promising start this summer as the BC Cherry Association declared Canadian Cherry Month from July 15 to August 15.
While the organization has been attempting to increase domestic Canadian cherry consumption for a couple years, this year the association hired marketing firm t2Marketing International to create a two-pronged campaign targeting consumers and retailers.
“In a year filled with unprecedented challenges, the annual Canadian Cherry Month was a success, generating substantial interest among consumers and showcasing the potential for celebrating Canadian cherries on a larger scale in the years to come,” says BC Cherry Association executive administrator Beth Cavers.
Cavers says results of the efforts to grow consumer awareness stood out.
“The Canadian Cherry Month web page had approximately 15,000 visits. Consumer social media comments were overwhelmingly positive and show that there is a strong appreciation for home-grown produce,” says Cavers adding, “The consumer contest, ‘Test your Canadian Cherry Month IQ,’ saw 4,600 entries.”
On the retail side, initial interest and support for the ‘Buy Fresh, Buy Canadian’ message of the campaign turned out to be more positive than actual measured participation.
Cavers says participation was possibly lower than expected because US cherries were still being featured by Canadian grocers when Canadian cherries hit the market.
“There were major retailers, like Costco, that promoted BC cherries in store and on their digital platforms. However, only a handful of stores completed the retail display competition,” Cavers says.
The competition was won by Freson Bros. of Alberta, with their Rabbit Hill location taking first prize of an e-bike and locations in Drumheller, Sundre and Stony Plain each receiving a $250 gift card as runners-up.
Despite retailer participation being lower than expected, Cavers says the program’s launch suggests promising potential for growth and success of Canadian Cherry Month in future years.
The campaign had a budget of $67,000.