posted on January 15, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Denise Donohue
Michigan Apple hopes to appeal to autoworkers with new billboard
(DeWitt, Mich.) - The Michigan apple industry is singing the ‘buy local' message louder than ever in an effort to garner shoppers' attention here in the nation's third largest apple-producing state.
Michigan Apple Committee (MAC), the non-profit organization working on behalf of the state's 950 apple growers, has purchased three billboards along I-75 and I-94 in the greater Detroit area to help stimulate sales and raise overall awareness of the industry. Each board features the message: "Buy Local. MichiganApples.com."
According to Denise Donohue, MAC executive director, the billboard message comes at a vital time for the apple industry, as well as the state's economy.
"This is a challenging economic time for many of us in Michigan, including our growers," said Donohue. "We believe this is the right message at the right time. The market is primed and ready to support Michigan-made products."
In recent consumer focus groups, Michigan shoppers reveal that they want more than ever to purchase Michigan Apples, but sometimes struggle to identify them in-store.
Shoppers wanting to support Michigan apple growers should look for apple bags with the Michigan Apples logo, which is frequently accompanied by the "Great Lakes, Great Flavors®" slogan. MAC also has a new light green Locally Grown logo that is featured on some support materials.
The new billboards were strategically placed in southeast Michigan because of the large number of autoworkers living and working in the greater Detroit area, said Donohue.
"People working in manufacturing in Michigan know firsthand just how important it is to buy local and seek out locally-made, homegrown products," said Donohue. "We're hoping to appeal to consumers who share our support of Michigan-made goods with the billboards' ‘buy local' call-to-action."
While the Michigan apple industry generates about $700 million a year of economic impact, Donohue said MAC is working to increase statewide market share.
"Our long-term vision is to make Michigan Apples the dominant apple in the Great Lakes region," she said. "It may be surprising to people outside the industry, but we still have a lot of work to do right here in our own backyard to ensure people are buying Michigan Apples."
Statistics from Select Michigan reveal that if every Michigan household spent just $10 a week on Michigan-produced food, it would generate $37 million each week. Michigan Apples are sold primarily in mesh or clear plastic bags; they are always marked for state and city of origin.
Apples are Michigan's largest and most valuable fruit crop. There are more than 7.5 million apples trees in commercial production, covering some 37,000 acres throughout the Lower Peninsula.
The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.