Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick

Government dishes out cash to help people buy B.C. food

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick stops in Maple Ridge on Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture doled out some cash to several B.C. businesses Friday as part of joint efforts at increasing their marketing punch and getting more people to by local food.

A total of $773,000 was given to 20 companies, on a matching basis, under the Buy Local program.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced the 2017 program in Maple Ridge on Friday, part of which included $33,750 to Golden Ears Cheesecrafters.

That will be used to increase retail and wholesale distribution of its artisan cheeses to local stores and restaurants, and increase attendance of cheese-making classes through advertising, social media, upgrading the company website and developing more signs for products.

“Marketing is a huge difficulty for most small businesses. There are a lot of big guys out there that create a lot of products.

“We’re very small. We make small batches by hand, fresh from our farm next door, so it’s really great to be able to have the support of the government to push our product forward.”

Davison said the money will them to do more marketing, “so we can sell more product, make more product, create more jobs and really make a name for Maple Ridge and put us on the map for some really great cheeses that are made here in B.C.”

Another Maple Ridge company that will receive a marketing boost is Naturally Homegrown , which produces Hardbite potato chips.

They’re getting $58,450 to increase demand for the Hardbite brand of snacks  through social media, website, creating promotional materials and signage.

B.C.’s food and beverage industry is made up of nearly 2,500 manufacturers that generated $9.09 billion in sales in 2015. The economic impact from the industry is keeping jobs local, products local and dollars in the local economy, said a government news release.

The program has provided more than $3.5 million in funding to B.C.’s food and beverage processing industry since 2012 to support food security in B.C. and help businesses grow and thrive in the competitive agrifood industry.

Other funds given out were:

Aji Gourmet Products Ltd., Surrey:

$45,000 to increase sales by marketing on social media channels; growing brand awareness by attending more tradeshows and events, advertising on radio, newspapers, magazines; and producing new labels to create promotional materials, such as vehicle wraps to represent the company.

Anita’s Organic Grain and Flour Mill Ltd., Chilliwack:

$75,000 to increase sales revenue by hosting consumer events to promote products, in-store promotions, and print and digital advertising.

FreeYumm Foods Ltd., North Vancouver:

$25,905.25 to increase sales revenue with in-store sales and marketing program by attending more expos and tradeshows, demoing product in store and launching a social media campaign to reach a larger audience.

Forte Whole Foods Inc., Vancouver:

$5,030.67 to increase sales and repeat sales orders through direct sales to consumers at farmer’s markets; consumer shows and online sales by running print and transit ads; and launching a social media campaign in the fall to promote before the holiday season.

Inno Specialty Foods, Coquitlam:

$52,385 to increase domestic sales and obtain new sales avenues by increasing consumer awareness at tradeshows, updating the company website, launching a social media campaign, producing print and radio ads and setting up in-store displays.

Johnston’s, Chilliwack:

$52,500 to increase the sales of local B.C. pork and value added items by strengthening Johnston’s brand, and presence in the B.C. market place through advertising, social media, website, promotional items and product videos.

JusTea Beverages Inc., Vancouver:

$7,070 to increase sales in B.C. by launching a PR campaign, attending local tradeshows and demoing product in stores.

KAPOW NOW!, Vancouver:

$7,725 to increase online engagement to generate more online sales through a web and social media campaign, developing promotional materials, demos of the product and new signage.

Little Creek Dressing, Kelowna:

$17,325 to increase sales and bring the products of Little Creek Dressing to a wider audience and differentiate it as a local, high quality dressing by sampling products, print advertising, in-store displays, promotional hand-outs and upgrading the website.

MAVA Foods Ltd., Richmond:

$6,475 to increase sales and sign up new clients to the Meals on Wheel program with web and social media promotion, advertising, media release, hosting events and creating promotional materials.

Meadow Valley Meats, Chilliwack:

$30,075 to increase demand and sales of local meat products by creating new packaging and signage, promoting on social media, updating the company website, and developing advertising and promotional materials.

Naturo Group Investments Inc., Vancouver:

$63,377.50 to expand and introduce product into larger grocery chains and increase presence of product in restaurants by creating new packaging and labelling, developing promotional and advertising materials, in-store promotions and demos, updating the company website, contests and attending tradeshows and local events.

Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces Ltd., Whistler:

$72,004 to increase sales and brand awareness in B.C. by demoing in stores and educating consumers about the products unique health attributes and clean ingredient list.

North of 49 Naturals, North Vancouver:

$34,917.50 to increase consumer awareness about the product’s benefits for health and B.C. landfills. The company is aiming to increase product sales and distribution with updates to the company website, promotion on social media, advertising materials, instore demos and attending consumer tradeshows.

Rossdown Natural Foods Ltd., Abbotsford:

$67,838.75 to increase sales and market share by increasing distribution of Rossdown products throughout B.C. with radio and print advertising, in store shelf talkers and providing coupons to shoppers.

Sun-Rype Products Ltd., Kelowna:

$70,000 to increase sales and brand awareness for the Rider Cider hard cider with tribute ad, developing packaging, creating point of sale materials for the 70th anniversary campaign and Rider Cider promotions.

Sunrise Pita Company Ltd., Burnaby:

$21,315 to increase sales and attract new customers from ethnic markets with newspaper and magazine advertising, new website design, creating signs and banners for tradeshows and in store demos and hand-outs.

Tropical Link Canada Ltd., Burnaby:

$26,900 to increase sales and awareness of the locally grown, processed and package product through social media, information on website, creating promotional materials and packaging and signage for product.