Cash enables big push for salads

Growers from the British Leafy Salads Association (BLSA) have welcomed a successful bid for almost EUR140,000 (£120,000) from the EU to run promotional campaigns to counter damage done by E. coli.

The grant will support a three-year PR and marketing campaign to promote the health benefits of leafy salads. To target young families, it will focus on social media and include a website.

Association secretary Jayne Dyas said the BLSA will match the sum awarded three weeks ago to make the campaign next year worth around £280,000. "This is excellent news and with the match funding will amount to the biggest marketing push we have had for leafy salads," she added.

"Following E. coli earlier this year, the EU wanted to put more confidence back into the sector and with the public. Funding will allow us to communicate positive messages."

Chairman John Allan said: "The funding is exciting and a great platform to relaunch our promotional activity.Harnessing social media is increasingly important and we want to get seeds out to schools."

Earlier this year, British salad growers hit by Europe's E. coli crisis claimed just £574,000 from a £200m EU compensation fund. The true financial loss to the industry was estimated to be tens of millions of pounds (Grower, 12 August). But growers complained that they could only claim for losses suffered in the second half of June.

The leafy salad campaign will be handled by PR agent Ceres. Director Kathryn Race said: "The consumer-educational campaign targets younger people who don't purchase as much leafy salad as older age ranges. It will include a grow you own push in primary schools."

The "Salad Days: Making More of Salad" campaign will target 200 schools in the first year and focus on PR editorial such as "how not to make a soggy sandwich". By the third and final year, the budget will cover advertising.

The social media campaign aims to net 7,500 monthly hits to a dedicated leafy-salad website, 165 pieces of editorial coverage and 850 twitter followers by year three.

Industry reaction

"It's a fantastic result. The project is the best the industry can do and they should be applauded. I'm sure this has the potential to make a real impact."

Tim Mudge, commercial manager, Processed Vegetables Growers' Association

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