The brand, Made North Canterbury (MNC), has been in the making since late last year after a study found North Canterbury food and beverage producers wanted a unifying brand that would offer them collaborative opportunities in marketing and promotion.
With more than half its targeted membership of 80 already on board, Enterprise North Canterbury (ENC) food and beverage development manager Alissa Wilson is encouraged.
“We have had so much interest from our local food and beverage producers wanting to get involved with this initiative, we already have 43 members signed up,” Wilson said.
“We are seeing a lot of connections happening between them and we’re working hard to foster those connections and help promote our members and their offerings, as well as share opportunities for them to expand into new markets.”
Included in the membership is Wash Creek Farm with organic beef and lamb from the farm gate, Harris Meats, Foothills Honey, hemp product producers, nut farmers with nut milk, vegetable growers, cheesemakers, berry and olive growers, locally-grown grain breads, wineries and a brewing company.
ENC’s involvement is about collaborating businesses in the region.
“We are sitting down with members on a one-to-one basis to understand what they want to achieve and helping to connect them with businesses in the region, such as restaurants and cafes, and also to market further afield,” she said.
The MNC website will be a key social media channel to the brand, but the MNC brand can be seen on display at numerous eateries and retailers throughout North Canterbury.
This is planned to grow outside the region as the brand takes off.
“Local eateries are displaying the brand and restaurants will hopefully take up the MNC brand on their menus,” she said.
“Businesses are already on board, including new shelf-talkers highlighting products that are made in North Canterbury in Rangiora New World and Rangiora Pak’nSave supermarkets, making it easier for consumers to buy locally-made items.”
ENC is also working with supermarkets to map where customers can find the various MNC produce in the shop.
“We have such a wide variety of produce from meats to honey, cheese and vegetables, and wines – it’s not possible to have it all in one place in supermarkets, so a map will steer customers to the brand in the specific areas of the shop,” she said.
“The development of this brand is very exciting for both producers and consumers.
“This is not just a shop local campaign, this is a brand that will stand the test of time with a strong place and provenance story.
“It is early days, but we are just so thrilled with the support we have had, particularly our generous sponsors, with their help we will be able to continue this momentum and further promote and grow our amazing productive region.
“Everyone should be proud of their regional produce; hopefully we may be leaders for other regions around New Zealand.”
The first major promotion for the brand was planned for the North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival to be held on March 7, but due to covid restrictions the event was cancelled.
“This was disappointing, as it would have been a wonderful and timely promotion; we had our own branded marquee all ready to go for our Makers’ Market,” she said.
MNC is an initiative of ENC, the local development agency for the Waimakariri and Hurunui District Councils.
It is jointly funded through ENC and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Provincial Growth Fund, as well as key sponsors Meridian Energy and Sidekick Rangiora, with several contra sponsors also on board.
For more information and to connect with the MNC brand, check out www.madenorthcanterbury.co.nz