The nationwide campaign for Georgia’s official state vegetable is set to launch April 21 and will target millennials in an effort to secure future sales, said Susan Waters, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee.
The committee’s activities are regulated by the federal marketing order covering Vidalia onions.
“We are going for long-term goals instead of a spot, one-season approach this year,” Waters said.
“We particularly want to reach younger shoppers to make sure they know about the unique qualities of Vidalia onions, so we are getting back to the basics with the theme ‘V is for Vidalia’ this year.”
As part of the committee’s marketing plan, about a dozen food bloggers from across the country have been invited to visit the growing region April 25-28.
By then, Waters said the 2014 harvest should be going strong. She said the bloggers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the industry through tours of fields and packing operations.
The goal is for the bloggers to learn what it takes to produce a Vidalia onion and what makes Vidalias different from other sweet onions, Waters said.
“Once they see and taste the difference we hope they will share that with their readers. We are also increasing our social media efforts to reach more young shoppers,” Waters said.
The food bloggers are also scheduled to visit the 37th annual Vidalia Onion Festival.
The committee is also sponsoring a dinner for the bloggers at a restaurant in Lyons.
Waters said Vidalia onion recipes will be specially prepared for the event.
The marketing campaign will also include weekly give-aways in May and June on Facebook, as well as digital coupons.
Waters said the committee’s 2012 coupon was downloaded from Facebook more than 35,000 times, with a 23% redemption rate.
As in previous years, the 2014 campaign includes on-pack messages, including recipes, and free point-of-sale materials for retailers.
Retailers can request self-adhesive, tear-off recipe pads and full and half-bin displays by contacting their Vidalia onion suppliers.
A new tool this year for retailers is a crop report that Waters said will be included in the committee’s redesigned website, which was scheduled to go live April 1.
The updated website — www.vidaliaonion.org — will also provide onion category research, downloadable marketing graphics and information on storage and handling of Vidalia onions.