Nov 17, 2022
Michigan Apple Committee wins specialty crop promotional grants

The Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) has received grants to help that state’s apple growers improve marketing to shoppers and grocery retailers.

The 2022 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBG) grants provide MAC $200,000 dedicated to marketing efforts focused on consumer and retail audiences, according to an announcement from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

MAC will receive $125,000 for a project titled “Social Media Marketing to Raise Brand Awareness of Michigan Apples,” a consumer brand awareness campaign that uses social media marketing tactics to educate consumers and increase demand for Michigan apples. The project is designed to build engagement with consumers to drive a deeper connection to the brand, resulting in increased apple movement in the retail marketplace, according to a news release.

The second project, funded for $75,000, is “Trade Advertising and Retail Outreach for Marketing Michigan Apples,” which aims to increase sales of Michigan apples by connecting with retail partners through targeted outreach, resources and ads in trade publications.

“Our mission is to enhance the reputation of Michigan Apples, improve their share of sales in target markets and aid the profitability and sustainability of Michigan’s apple industry,” Diane Smith, MAC’s executive director, said in the release. “These grants allow us to engage with two important audiences with effective tactics and measurable outcomes.”

The SCBG provides federal funding (from H.R. 133 stimulus) to state departments of agriculture to support the specialty crop industry and the impacts on the food system due to COVID-19.

“We are fortunate to have had programs funded through the Specialty Crop Block program for the past decade,” Smith said in the release. “It allows us to put impactful programs in place without spending grower dollars. In this way those dollars can be directed toward other efforts within our budget to increase consumption of Michigan Apples.”

Past MAC SCBG-funded projects have focused on social media, consumer and trade print advertising and retailer engagement. Each project’s results, analytics and learnings are used to inform future marketing strategies and campaign planning, according to the release.

The MAC is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan Apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world.

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