The Lobster Council of Canada continues to build momentum for Canadian lobster by creating a Generic Marketing Strategy
The Lobster Council of Canada (LCC) has developed a generic marketing and promotion strategy to help build value and growth in the sector which is worth $1.7 billion annually and employs approximately 15,000 people in the regions’ coastal communities.
The plan outlines a strategy with tactics that focuses on the attributes of the Canadian lobster brand with the message “The best lobster in the world comes from Canada.” According to Geoff Irvine, Executive Director of the LCC, marketing lobster under the Canadian brand is important because lobster sales for live and processed products are growing dramatically in many export markets where the Canadian name and maple leaf symbol are synonymous with high quality and seafood caught in clean pristine waters. “Export data shows that sales to China have grown over 400% in the past five years. Export markets value Canada’s rigorous food safety standards, our leading work on traceability and sustainability, and Canadian’s image as trustworthy people. The fact that Canadian lobster is wild caught, healthy, versatile, is delicious and is associated with celebration is additional equity for the Canada brand.”
According to LCC President Jeff Malloy, CEO of the Acadian Fisherman’s Co-operative, development of the generic marketing strategy for Canadian lobster was a recommendation of the highly regarded Maritime Lobster Panel Report. “Both the Maritime Lobster Panel and Independent Review of the PEI lobster Fishery – stressed the importance of generic marketing to help stabilize prices within the industry and to grow demand for lobster. While the industry faces great challenges, this is also a time of exciting opportunity that will shape the sector for generations to come.”
Implementation of the plan is dependent on funding from the lobster sector in the form of a levy from harvesters and the shore-side sector that can then be leveraged with federal government programs. Each of the Atlantic Provinces are at different phases in evaluating sector support for a levy with the main focus on methods for collection that would be inclusive and mandatory.
The impact of an investment in generic marketing is huge says Geoff Irvine, “As other food industries have shown – the return on investment (ROI) from investment in generic marketing is dramatic. For example the beef industry has shown that for every dollar invested in generic marketing the return on investment is nine fold. For the lobster industry, establishing a levy that promotes marketing and promotion of Canadian lobster also means that the sector can leverage funding from the Federal government through the Agri-Marketing Program (AMP) to potentially double the amount available to promote lobster. For example, based on 30,000 lbs (x .01 cents) from harvesters and the shore-side sector an investment of $300 each can become $1,200 dollars.
Harvester Bernie Berry, President of the newly formed Coldwater Lobster Association from LFA 34, supports the levy and marketing strategy. “The fishery and the world around us are constantly evolving and it is extremely important that fishermen be both, aware of the changes and be in a position to influence changes that are impacting the industry. Participating in the levy process is very important and I encourage all fishermen and buyers to do so. We need to market Canadian lobster – not just sell lobster if we want to evolve.”