In 2018, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, (VIEA), undertook a pilot project to increase consumer awareness around Island products.
That project was called Island Good. Four retail partners, Country Grocer, Quality Foods, Thrifty Foods, and 49th Parallel began labelling items with Island Good tags to show consumers which products were made on Vancouver Island. Peter Richmond, owner of 49th Parallel, said the project has been a success.
“We’ve certainly seen an increase in demand for those products. It’s a win-win absolutely for the Island. Even working together with other retailers, we believe that’s the way to go — work together and support the Island,” Richmond said.
Richmond said that popular Island products are Paradise Island, Farmhouse Poultry, Hertel Meats, Portofino, Tree Island Yogurt, Island Bakery. 49th Parallel tracked the sale of 24 Island produced items over the year. The sales data has given Richmond confidence to bring in more Island products.
“The more that join in the program the better. We hope that more will join. We tend to be a good fit for local producers because, being a smaller business, it’s an easier supply fit,” Richmond said.
Island Good data shows a 16 percent increase in same month sales activity from March-September 2018 with the project compared to the same period in 2017. They are now partnering with Tourism Vancouver Island to promote Island products to visitors.
Under the three-year agreement, Tourism Vancouver Island will provide the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance with financial and in-kind support to expand Island Good by attracting more partner businesses, and to showcase Island Good products to travelers through consumer marketing.The organizations are also collaborating to include tourism-related concurrent sessions at the 2019 VIEA Economic Summit as well as an Island Good campaign presence at the annual Tourism Vancouver Island industry conference.