Apr 28, 2022
Funding set to make tree fruit a top choice for Ontario consumers

It will soon be easier for Ontarians to buy local apples and other tree fruit when they’re doing their grocery shopping. Ontario Apple Growers are receiving cost share funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs to support promotional activities for the next two years.

“We are excited at the diverse range of promotional activities we will be able to undertake over the next two years to promote local food production and talk to Ontarians about the quality and sustainability of locally grown tree fruit,” grower Cathy McKay, Chair of the Ontario Apple Growers, said in a news release. “Ontario apple and tender fruit growers have seen tremendous support from consumers particularly since the pandemic, and we are looking forward to reaching even more Ontarians through this upcoming campaign.”

With the funding, Ontario Apple Growers are working with Ontario Tender Fruit Growers to promote seven different tree fruit crops that grow in Ontario: apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, plums, apricots, and tart red cherries. A digital campaign on social media, television and radio will enhance awareness and support for local food by informing consumers which tree fruit is available and where, what is on sale every week during the growing season, and what shoppers should look for in stores to find the fruit of their choice.

Transit and billboard ads placed throughout the Greater Toronto Area, along with point-of-sale materials, recipe cards, eye-catching in-store displays, and sampling events will inspire consumers to support local food production. In addition, food influencer tours will give participants behind-the-scenes access to food production that they will be able to share with their followers across their various platforms.

“Recent research has shown us that Ontarians want to eat more local food which means that as growers, we have a real opportunity to connect and engage with consumers about locally grown tree fruit,” said grower Phil Tregunno, chair of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers. “We appreciate the support from the provincial government which will help us make it easier for consumers to identify and purchase the healthy, nutritious tree fruit grown by farmers right here at home.”

Almost 80% of respondents in a recent consumer survey of 1,500 grocery shoppers led by the Ontario Produce Marketing Association indicated that they are actively trying to eat more produce. The same survey showed that price and quality are the most important factors in produce buying, and that a majority of shoppers would increase local produce consumption if retail flyers showed what products were available. A Usage and Attitude study completed by Foodland Ontario returned similar results.

“We are proud to support the Ontario Apple Growers who are working with Ontario Tender Fruit Growers to promote delicious Ontario grown apples,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “By supporting our farmers in promoting all the good things that grow in Ontario, we are making sure that consumers can choose to buy local food and help our communities and our province be more prosperous.”

The Project is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Ontario Apple Growers represents the province’s 200 commercial apple farmers. Visit www.onapples.com for recipe ideas and grower profiles or follow Ontario Apple Growers on Twitter and Instagram (@ontarioapples) and Facebook (@Ontarioapples).

The Ontario Tender Fruit Producers’ Marketing Board is a not-for-profit, independent farming organization governed by grower members.

Visit www.ontariotenderfruit.ca for more information or follow Ontario Tender Fruit Growers on Facebook and Instagram (@ontariotenderfruit).



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