The Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee, Parma, Idaho, has devised an innovative way to recruit foodservice business for its members.
Marketing director Sherise Jones said the committee recently became a sponsor of Brand Points Plus, a program that rewards foodservice buyers for doing business with specific sellers. Buyers accumulate points, which they can redeem for glassware, tableware, electronics, equipment, bar supplies, furniture and more.
The service recently opened to produce and other commodities, and the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Committee is the only onion group affiliated with the program. That means that if Brand Points Plus members are buying onions and want to earn points for that purchase, they will have to order from an onion committee member, Jones said.
“We’re really excited,” she said. “It’s really beneficial.”
Jones said the committee received a matching funds grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pay for the sponsorship, which started Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, the association is continuing to use quick-response codes — two-dimensional codes that can be read by camera phones and smart phones — in its advertising and in point-of-sale materials that can be downloaded from the committee’s website.
The codes can hold text, data and uniform resource locators, or URLs. When shoppers scan the committee’s codes on point-of-sale materials, ads or packaging, their phone will launch a recipe Web page on the committee’s website.
“We’ve seen explosive growth in our website traffic,” Jones said.
She said Idaho and eastern Oregon shippers can use the codes on bags, Price Look-Up stickers, cartons and even business cards.
“Prior to us introducing them in our advertising, we hadn’t seen it anywhere on produce materials at all,” Jones said. “We went to PMA Fresh Summit, and it was everywhere. It was cool to see. We knew we were on to something. I’m so encouraged by that.”
Jones said many new smart phones come equipped with the capability to read quick-response codes. Other users can download applications at websites such as http://us.scanlife.com.