The food industry is huge, complex, and competitive. Food businesses spent more than $130 billion on advertising in the U.S. in 2013.1 Getting consumers’ attention is challenging and costly.
A strong brand and market development program for Massachusetts-grown and -produced food will help build consumer markets and institutional demand, and increase farm and food business viability. With a long history of successful statewide branding and buy local campaigns, there is ample evidence in the State of the value of these efforts. At the same time, however, the number of campaigns and brands has caused some confusion among consumers, and the lack of a universally understood definition of ‘local’ has allowed for dilution of some important efforts.
Statewide and local brands can help grow demand for Massachusetts products within the Commonwealth and beyond. Establishing a brand identity for food products that communicates the values of the State’s food system businesses, such as sustainable management practices, a commitment to food safety, and support for the local economy, can build awareness of and support for the products produced here. The success of these campaigns requires a comprehensive, adequately funded, integrated approach that engages players at every link in the supply chain.