Select Michigan is a marketing campaign designed to
increase consumer awareness and consumption of both conventional
and certified organic food products in the greater Grand Rapids
area. This initiative is being made possible thanks to a federal
grant and a strong, innovative partnership between Michigan Integrated
Food and Farming Systems, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Grand
Rapids area retailers, Michigan commodity groups, manufacturers
and producers, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, and
local units of government.
The Select a Taste of Michigan Program is a unique
partnership between the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA),
Cooperative Development Services (CDS) and Michigan Integrated Food
& Farming Systems (MIFFS), and includes many local partners.
MDA and MIFFS will work together to develop and field educational
campaigns to promote locally grown certified organic and conventional
food products to Michigan consumers and retailers. Although a statewide
effort, the Grand Rapids area was chosen to pilot our targeted advertising
and marketing campaign. Growers will be recruited from across the
state to produce product for partnering retailers. MDA and CDS will
carry out the retail program and MIFFS is carrying out the producer
The purpose of the program is to increase the marketing
opportunities for Michigan organic and locally grown food products,
and to increase the awareness and purchases of Michigan organic
and locally grown food products.
The MDA and Cooperative Development Services retail
promotions will be full-store, cross-category promotions supported
by in-store specials and training for the retail staff.
The campaign utilizes many methods to reach consumers:
- Endorsements by Governor Granholm and former MDA Director,
- Advertising in state-wide and local news print;
- In-store display tables and demos for both local
and certified organic food products
- End-cap displays
- Three radio stations broadcasting spots daily
to a targeted consumer group
- A “Local Connections” Conference in
- Point of purchase materials in 68 retail stores
- Numerous newspaper articles and press releases;
- Organic Harvest Festival, a fall festival of organic
food products in the Grand Rapids area;
- Cross promotion at Farmers Markets, food festivals,
Although work is well underway signing up interested
retailers, producers, and manufacturers, the campaign launch event
will be March 28, 2003 followed by monthly print and media promotions
highlighting a series of seasonal Michigan food products. All Michigan
food products will be promoted whether organic or conventionally
grown. However, the first year will have a special emphasis on buying
certified organic food products. And the second year and third years
will emphasize buying locally grown food products.
September 14, 2006 is the 2nd annual "Buy Fresh, Buy Local - Select Michigan Day." Read more...
Retail sales of organic food products have grown steadily
for the past ten years; showing compounded annual growth (CAG) of
22.74% over that period. Growth rates are similar over the past
five-year (22.61%) and three year (24.72%) periods. Retail sales
of organics showed a steady growth rate of 20% in 2001 with USDA
reporting organic sales at $9.3 billion. By 2005, sales are expected
to reach nearly $20 billion.
In almost every state in the nation, only 10-15% of
food purchases are locally grown and the average food item travels
1,300 miles from the farm to one’s dinner table. Relying on
foreign and out-of-state food supply impacts communities financially
and hinders their quality of life. Diminished local food self-reliance
removes the opportunity for consumers to interact and develop an
appreciation for food production and the growers, presenting socioeconomic
and other issues. Surveys indicate that American consumers want
several qualities in their food baskets beyond those provided currently.
They want fresher and tastier food. They want safe food that is
locally grown and they want food produced with methods less likely
to harm the environment.
Focus groups conducted by MDA in 2003 confirmed an
EPIC-MRA survey of 2000, which reported 75 percent of consumers
would be more likely to buy a food product if they knew it was grown
or processed in Michigan. But the majority of those surveyed also
said identifying Michigan products at the retail level was difficult.
“Select a Taste of Michigan” provides an excellent way
for Grand Rapids area retailers to meet their shoppers’ preferences
for Michigan food products. Additionally, by selecting Michigan
foods, retailers and consumers will get exceptional food safety,
quality, taste and freshness, and also help support the local economy,
strengthen Michigan’s family farms and agribusinesses, and
preserve the state’s rich agricultural heritage.