With nearly a century of corporate history, veteran pork processor Johnston Packers now serves more than 450 local retailers, butchers and restaurants from its family-run Chilliwack facility. But despite its sterling reputation, the Johnston team wanted to do more to satisfy the growing consumer craving for information, connection and community.
“It is increasingly important to reach consumers and share more about our farms and the BC pork industry as a whole,” explains assistant manager, Bonnie Windsor. “We wanted to educate consumers and chefs about our industry including our food safety regulations, and encourage them to support local butchers, grocers and retailers that carry BC pork products.”
Fortunately, their recent Buy BC initiative presented them with a unique opportunity to increase consumer awareness while fostering more collaboration across their sector.
With project funding to develop an assortment of marketing materials including videos, truck wraps, in-store promotions and nearly 20,000 recipe calendars, Johnston’s was able to support retailers in engaging shoppers and sharing the stories of local farms.
For Bonnie, the most effective outreach should elicit a laugh, like their new slogan: “You either like bacon…or you’re wrong,” or a truck wrap featuring an image of a chicken telling viewers to “eat more pork.”
“We often get feedback from consumers who see our trucks on the road and tell us how much they love them and find them funny and entertaining,” says Bonnie. “We feel we have been successful in drawing attention to BC pork with our humorous approach which has created a connection with the consumer.”
Now that brand recognition is on the rise, with sales climbing in both the fresh and value-added product categories, Johnston’s plans to capitalize on this momentum and leverage their new tools at consumer-facing food events, such as the annual Barn Burner BBQ in Yarrow.
“The Buy BC Program has enabled us to support our industry and enhance sustainability across the entire value chain of BC pork, from farmer to retailer to consumer,” Bonnie declares. “All of the activities completed in this project will continue to educate and promote BC pork, processors, retailers, and farmers for years to come.”
Funding support provided by the BC Government’s Buy BC Partnership Program. (BBC123)