Report Synopsis

Opportunities to Brand Commodities that are Further Processed into Ingredients

Nicole Mackellar

Everywhere you turn in the agriculture industry you hear about how consumers want more transparency regarding the food they eat. They want to know where it was grown, how it was grown, and if sustainable and ethical practices were followed. This is probably more so the case for us here in Ontario given our large urban population base. With over 45 million people living within a 500 KM radius of Toronto (Free Map Tools 2018 ), the Ontario agriculture sector is nestled against one of the largest population areas in all of North America.

This unique situation presents both a challenge and a tremendous opportunity for Ontario grain producers. Ontario grain is the largest agricultural commodity grown within the province - annually generating 12 million metric tonnes of barley, corn, oats, soybeans and wheat. It provides ingredients to many food products manufactured within the province and across the country. However, this is virtually unnoticeable to the consumer many of which today would not be able to identify products that are made with Ontario grain.

Recognizing the need for increased transparency by consumers, this report looks at the opportunity to brand commodities, like Ontario grain, that are further processed into ingredients. If brands can be developed, how can they be leveraged to help drive consumption of Ontario grain products and increase consumer demand, ultimately leading to more opportunities for Ontario grain producers?

This study looks at several examples, from around the world, of successful brands that have accomplished the goal of showcasing their products, telling their stories and ultimately increasing demand for their products.

The results of the study identify that there are opportunities to brand commodities that are further processed into ingredients. The best way to achieve this is to start with the development of a grain label. To be successful this needs to be done at a national level and not at a provincial or state level. To really connect with consumers, the label and accompanying brand campaign need to focus on more than just geographical location. It needs to tie into an additional element like sustainability to help drive it forward. To identify those elements that should be used in building a label and accompanying brand, consumer research needs to be conducted to identify the attributes consumers are looking for in grain and grain-based products. From here, a label can be developed that allows the consumer the opportunity to easily recognize Canadian grain-based products and help influence their purchasing decisions.

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