The 21st century version of word of mouth — social media — is at the heart of the 2014 marketing campaign for Vidalia onions.
Food bloggers from across the country are just some of the mouths the Vidalia Onion Committee is counting on to get the word out about the qualities of Georgia’s trademarked vegetable, committee executive director Susan Waters said in a news release.
She introduced the bloggers to the “V is for Vidalia” campaign and the onions themselves during field tours and conversations with growers in late April. Now the bloggers are competing in the “V Culinary Challenge.”
Through June 10 the bloggers will submit Vidalia onion recipes online at Facebook.com/VidaliaOnions. From May 1 to Aug. 4 consumers will be able to vote for their favorite recipes.
The winning blogger receives $2,500 and the Vidalia Onion Committee website will feature the blogger’s biography, blog and winning recipe.
“The peer-to-peer influence of social media is a dynamic environment for sharing recipes, tips and savings with consumers all season long,” Waters said in the release.
The bloggers got a chance to learn from professional chefs at the 37th annual Vidalia Onion Festival, which is sponsored by the Vidalia Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The festival featured the third annual Golden Onion contest, where Georgia chefs presented recipes, competing for the Golden Onion trophy.
Chef David Larkworthy, executive chef and founder of 5 Seasons Brewing Company in Sandy Springs, Ga., won with his Vidalia onion Ossabaw pork burgers on sweet potato buns with Vidalia and sun-dried tomato ketchup, spring onion and parsley salad, and Vidalia onion blossom fries.
“Vidalia onions are a wonderful ingredient,” Larkworthy said. “They’re versatile, sweet and approachable. Georgia is a more special place because of them.”
The Vidalia Onion Committee has point-of-sale materials for retailers, as well as bins that carry the “V is for Vidalia” slogan. Retailers can obtain the materials by contacting their suppliers.
Direct-to-consumer aspects of the committee’s 2014 marketing campaign include coupons on the Facebook.com/VidaliaOnions Web page.
In May the Facebook page will offer a weekly trivia contest for consumers, according to the release. Trivia players will have a chance to win baskets of Vidalia onions.