A common marketing mistake is starting with the tools: social media, labels, or logos. Instead, marketing starts with: the business story, business goals, and identifying customers.
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The tried-and-true value-added maple products include candy and cream, and many producers have taken advantage of these products already. Some have gone further, adding maple products like ice cream, maple cotton candy, and maple-coated popcorn or nuts. More adventurous sugarmakers have begun making additional items, like salad dressings, hot sauces, and dog biscuits.
Over the past six years, my laboratory, and others, have been conducting research focused on identifying bioactive plant compounds (known as phytochemicals or phytonutrients) and evaluating the biological effects of maple syrup, maple water (i.e. maple sap), and maple plant parts and their derived extracts.
Agritourism plays two important roles. First, it educates the public about farming and their local food system. Second, it supports farmers by increasing sales opportunities and building a loyal customer base. The term encompasses an array of on-farm attractions, events, or services. Events can take a simple and limited form such participating in a states maple weekend. Or it can be as complex as opening a restaurant. Agritourism includes anything from school field trips, to B&Bs, to pick-your-own, and wine tastings. Sometimes fun, sometimes educational, sometimes both, the common threads are connection and experience.
In late summer, 2008 Cintech Agroalimentaire was mandated by the IMSI and the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers to undertake research on their behalf that would serve as input to a potential uniform grading system destined for consumers of maple syrup. It was felt that such a grading system would not only be useful to producers and packers but would also help stimulate sales to customers.
Virtually all of the pure maple syrup production in the United States is in the northern states of Maine, Masachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin. Pure maple syrup users living in the maple production area and users living in other areas of the United States were asked a series of questions about their use of pure maple syrup and their responses were compared. User attitudes toward the product, syrup-use patterns, syrup-packaging characteristics, and syrup-purchasing patterns are identified and discussed.
Making value-added products, educating consumers, and creative strategies to bring visitors to your sugarhouse are all ways to increase profits for sugarmakers.
The three grades of maple syrup and a commercial table syrup containing artificial flavor and 3 percent pure maple syrup were evaluated by 1,018 women in four cities. The results indicate that differences in preference for flavor are related to how close the respondents are to a maple syrup-production region. Differences in preference among grades of pure maple syrup were slight and in reverse order of the quality implied by the Federal grading standard. Outside of the region of maple syrup production, differences in preference between pure maple syrup and the commercial table syrup were marked, and favored the commercial syrup.
Recent findings, published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, suggest that combining maple syrup extract with common antibiotics could increase the microbes’ susceptibility, leading to lower antibiotic usage.