MARKETING INITIATIVE PROMOTES REGIONS’ MAPLE PRODUCERS
As spring approaches, maple producers throughout northern Vermont and New Hampshire are collecting sap and producing some of the world’s finest maple syrup. During this exciting period, a national campaign focused on maple producers in northern NH and VT has been underway to raise awareness of maple as a health-conscious alternative to artificial sweeteners. Part of the campaign includes a free online recipe book of locally sourced maple-based recipes.
There is great potential for the region’s maple producers, as only 10 states are capable of producing authentic maple syrup. Currently, less than five percent of all maple trees in Vermont and New Hampshire are tapped for sap, leaving significant potential for growth as demand for pure maple products continues to rise. In recognition of this opportunity, Northern Community Investment Corporation initiated collaboration among the region’s maple producers thanks to funding from a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant awarded to Northern Forest Center by USDA Rural Development.
Several internal focus groups were conducted to identify past efforts, along with future needs and desires within the industry. Research was also executed through social media to survey the public’s knowledge of maple syrup and their awareness of the differences between authentic syrup and other artificial sweeteners. A marketing plan was then developed to efficiently promote the maple products from the region.
Thanks to growing recognition of the benefits of eating natural foods, opportunities were identified in promoting convenient avenues for consumers to utilize pure maple syrup. Recipes were collected from the region’s maple producers to produce a free online recipe book. The book consists of 18 simple maple-based recipes ranging from beverages to dinner entrees. The book is currently available for download by visiting nhvtmaple.com.
Other advertising will promote maple weekends that are held in Vermont on April 2nd and 3rd and New Hampshire on March 19th and 20th (NH will host Maple Month from March 12th through April 2nd). On these weekends sugar makers from each state open their doors inviting the public to share in the centuries-old craft of maple sugaring. Guests can talk to the producers and learn firsthand how pure maple syrup is produced.