Businesses partaking in the Island Good campaign: Russell Stefan with Phillips Soda Works, left; Debbie Beach, Kelly Greville and Brian Konar, from Paradise Island Foods; Sharon Ryper of Aunt Penny’s Gourmet Specialties; Pete Richmond of Hertel Meats and Lance Weber of St. Jean’s Cannery. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Island Good campaign aims to promote local food

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance pilot project runs until September

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is testing the waters on a buy local initiative.

The alliance has launched the Island Good campaign, which will see Vancouver Island-produced food products, including from St. Jean’s Cannery, Aunt Penny’s Gourmet Specialties and Paradise Island Foods in Nanaimo, branded Island Good, with an accompanying marketing campaign. The pilot project will run until September.

“This is part of our larger priority of raising awareness about products that are made and grown on Vancouver Island to build more awareness, more demand for the products so that the products sell more and if more products are being sold then those companies are hiring more people and others are investing in production of goods on Vancouver Island,” said George Hanson, alliance president.

St. Jean’s Cannery, a long-time business in Nanaimo, will benefit from being a part of Island Good, said Lance Weber, customer service manager.

“Largely for us, it’s a bit of cooperation,” said Weber. “We have multiple sides of the business, but we do have some of our products that are out there in grocery stores and so for that particular brand, it’s called Raincoast Trading, that’s where grocery store consumers are going to find our products and also just in general of supporting the organization and letting people know that we’re here.”

Paradise Island has also been in Nanaimo a long time and Brian Konar, director of sales and marketing, said the campaign will raise the profile of Island businesses.

“This type of event attracts a lot of consumers to the Island-based food processors, such as ourselves and others that are involved,” said Konar. “We feel very committed to the community over the years and the family business, now in its second generation … is very committed to the Island Good event through the summer.”

Hanson said Island Good will monitored to gauge its effectiveness and the brand will be available at Country Grocer, Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods and 49th Parallel Grocery.

“The Island Good campaign runs in their stores for six months and during that six months, they’re measuring the sales activity against the same store, same month sales activity from last year so that we can demonstrate what increased consumer awareness does to the sale of Island-made products and that information will allow us to go into more phases where we can encourage distributors, producers etc. to start marketing their products more prominently as made on Vancouver Island,” said Hanson.

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