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'Pure Michigan' branding appeals to retailers, consumers

A program launched by the Michigan Ag Council June 3 will help Michigan consumers easily identify Michigan-produced commodities. Under the "Pure Michigan Agriculture" program, retailers can take advantage of special signage designed to remove the guesswork. The purpose of the project is to raise awareness about food and agriculture in Michigan today.

PureMichiganOverview2Kroger Co. of Michigan began to brand produce and dairy with the ‘Pure Michigan’ logo on its own signage a little over a year ago. (Photo courtesy of Kroger Co. of Michigan)Many of Michigan's retailers highlight Michigan-grown commodities through their own in-store initiatives. "This is a tremendous opportunity to tack onto a hugely successful and well-recognized brand," said Laura Moser, president of the Michigan Ag Council. "Michigan residents resonate with and are proud of the Pure Michigan message. It makes sense to apply that message to agriculture and the Michigan foods they are searching for."

Through the unique branding program, Michigan retailers are able to use specific point-of-sale signage, which identifies Michigan-produced produce and dairy.

Pure Michigan Agriculture is a project of the Michigan Ag Council and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that aims to raise awareness of food and agriculture in Michigan today

"Currently, we have eight Plumb Supermarket stores using the signage," said Becky Cunningham, program coordinator with the council. "Kroger, one of our Ag Council partners, uses the shelf tags but has created separate signage with the same logo."

"Retailers have to learn how to market Michigan products in an environment that is different from roadside stands and farmers markets," said Dale Hollandsworth, customer communications manager for the Kroger Co. of Michigan. "We have experienced a consumer demand to be able to identify fresh and processed Michigan product at the point of sale. It's not only a matter of state pride but of quality and freshness." Kroger has been using the "Pure Michigan" brand in stores for more than a year.

Interested companies can purchase two "Pure Michigan Agriculture" retail kits and the council's "Homemade" radio spot for in-store audio for $250. The 60-second "Homemade" radio ad, narrated by Pure Michigan spokesman Tim Allen, talks about the diversity and positive effects of Michigan agriculture.

Cunningham said each kit contains 250 water-resistant shelf tags, 100 14"x11" produce signs and four 22"x28" grommeted mobile signs. "Additional kits sold after the first two will cost $50 each," she added.

The $250 fee is good for one year of participation beginning in June 2013. "Renewal fees are $150 per store to maintain point-of-sale materials for an additional year," Cunningham stated.

Persons interested in the program can contact Cunningham by phone at 517/323-6693 or via email at