The Canadian Wheat Board

The Canadian Wheat Board

September 20, 2007 12:35 ET

Prairie Wheat in the Spotlight on National Stage

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Sept. 20, 2007) - The CWB and Robin Hood flour today launched a national campaign to promote Prairie-grown wheat to Canadian consumers.

"Just as Florida has its oranges and California its raisins, we want to make Western Canada synonymous with wheat," CWB President and CEO Greg Arason said.

The major branding initiative - the first of its kind for both partners - will raise awareness of the high quality of Prairie wheat among Canadian consumers through labelling on Robin Hood flour bags and other promotional activities.

"The wheat grown by western Canadian farmers is the best in the world - we know it, farmers know it and our customers around the globe know it," Arason said. "Now millions of Canadian consumers will get the message too."

The campaign is the CWB's first major national foray into co-branding. It will include a CWB wheat quality message and label on five million bags of Robin Hood flour, a message about the goodness of western Canadian wheat in about 3.5 million "Baking is Back" recipe booklets now being distributed in stores and magazines, as well as store displays and online contests.

"As Canada's leading flour producer, Robin Hood is committed to supplying Canadian consumers with the best flour in the world: flour made with 100-per-cent Canadian wheat," said Cheryl Malton, spokesperson for Smucker Foods of Canada, owner of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood flour is milled in facilities across the country, including a mill in Saskatoon. "We have a 98-year relationship with Canadian consumers, dating back to our roots in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan," Malton added. "We know Canadian consumers also feel supportive of Prairie farm families, so this is a natural partnership."

The campaign aligns with consumers' desire to eat identifiable Canadian-grown food. A 2007 Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) survey showed 95 per cent of consumers would choose Canadian products over imports if doing so improved the viability of family farms. Ninety per cent wanted Canadian-grown food to be easily identifiable. The CFA, Canada's largest farm group, has made creation of a "Canadian-grown" food labelling system the top issue it would like the federal government to address this fall.

Western Canadian farmers support promotion of their products' quality. In a recent CWB survey, over 80 per cent of farmers thought the CWB should brand Prairie wheat.

The campaign also celebrates the return to popularity of healthy, grain-based foods. Per-capita flour consumption is on the rise in North America since it hit record lows in 2004, largely due to low-carbohydrate diets. "The renewed popularity of grain-based foods is very positive for farmers, the milling industry and the health of Canadian consumers," Arason said, adding the CWB helps fund a campaign called "Grains, They're Essential!" to battle the low-carb fad. The CWB has also created a Web site at www.prairiewheat.ca about the goodness of Prairie wheat.

Controlled by western Canadian farmers, the CWB is the largest wheat and barley marketer in the world. One of Canada's biggest exporters, the Winnipeg-based organization sells grain to over 70 countries and returns all sales revenue, less marketing costs to farmers.

Backgrounder

Telling the world about western Canadian wheat

- The CWB's partnership with Robin Hood is its first domestic, national co-branding partnership.

- CWB polling shows that farmers see value in branding. In the 2006 producer survey, 83 per cent of respondents said it was important to brand western Canadian wheat as a unique, high-value product.

- Surveys commissioned by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) show that Canadian consumers want to be able to recognize and purchase foods made with Canadian ingredients. A CFA survey found that 95 per cent of respondents said they would buy Canadian over comparably-priced imports and 73 per cent said they would pay a premium if the premium went to Canadian farmers.

- Other branding initiatives the CWB is currently involved in:

-- A new Web site has been developed by the CWB for Canadian families. The site, www.prairiewheat.ca, includes information, recipes and children's activities.

-- The CWB's "Label it Canadian" booklet showcases international milling and baking and malting companies that publicly boast they are using the best grain in the world: western Canadian wheat and barley. Japanese doughnut shops, Chinese breweries and British flour makers are among the companies profiled.

-- The CWB is working with South American millers to launch a new brand of flour from 100-per-cent western Canadian wheat.

-- In Malaysia, a wall mural at a technical centre now tells the story of western Canadian wheat.

-- The CWB is developing placement of its logo on flour packaging in Puerto Rico.

-- The CWB is a major supporter of "Grains, They're Essential", a campaign to promote the health aspects of grain-based products. Visit the Web site at www.grainsessential.ca.

-- "First in Grain" is a phrase that describes Prairie farmers. It is also the name of a CWB publication distributed to the international grain-processing industry that discusses industry issues and the international branding of Prairie wheat. It appears in five languages: English, Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.

Canada Western Red Spring:

The best milling wheat in the world

- Western Canadian farmers grow the highest-quality wheat in the world. Optimal soil and climate conditions, combined with superior plant science and advanced farm-management practices, enable western Canadian farmers to grow the world's best wheat.

- Of the many types of wheat grown on the Prairies, Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) wheat is recognized throughout the world as a superior quality for most breads. CWRS is prized because it creates a high-yield, high-protein flour with desirable gluten properties.

- Between 15 and 20 million tonnes of CWRS are grown each year, accounting for roughly 70 per cent of all western Canadian wheat production.

- Canada has one of the most sophisticated grain quality-control systems in the world, which helps maintain the consistent superior quality of wheat from Western Canada. This system is based on four cornerstones: stringent variety registration; a strict grading system, which is overseen by the Canadian Grain Commission; excellent uniformity of shipments, which results from blending CWRS grown in multiple regions; nd strict cleaning procedures and food safety systems that make western Canadian grain among the safest in the world.

- Most flours are made from blends of various types of wheat. CWRS is a high-protein wheat that, both by itself and blended with other types of wheat, is used in many types of flour. All-purpose and whole-wheat flour are made from CWRS wheat.

- CWRS is the premiere wheat for high-volume pan bread (bread baked in a pan, like many sandwich breads) and is also commonly used by itself or in blends for hearth breads (bread baked without a pan, like French bread), noodles, flat breads (unleavened breads such as pita) and steamed breads (many Chinese breads).

- Around the world, CWRS is the most commonly used red spring wheat. CWRS from the Prairies is sold to about 70 countries each year.

Flour milling in Western Canada

- A strong value-added processing industry on the Prairies benefits western Canadian farmers. Processing of wheat, durum and barley is a growth industry throughout Canada, particularly in Western Canada.

- One third of all Canadian milling capacity is located in Western Canada. In the U.S., by comparison, only 17 per cent of domestic capacity is found in the six northern tier states (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana and Washington).

- The number of Canadian mills is on the rise. There are now 44 Canadian mills, while 10 years ago there were 39. Of the current mill operations, 38 mill wheat and 11 mill durum (five durum mills are located in facilities that also mill wheat).

- Fifty per cent of Canadian wheat flour mills are located in Western Canada. The West is home to 19 wheat flour mills. The breakdown by province: Manitoba has four mills, Saskatchewan has five, Alberta has six and B.C. has four.

- Canada doesn't just export grain - we export value-added products. Last year, 40 per cent of all wheat ground in western Canadian mills was exported in the form of value-added products such as flour, mixes, doughs and pasta.

- Western Canadian mills have the capacity to produce more than 3 500 tonnes of flour per day.

- Milling capacity has expanded significantly in the past ten years. Canadian milling capacity is 11,031 tonnes of flour per day, a 30 per cent increase over 1997.

- Barley processing is also booming - 77 per cent of Canadian malting capacity is located in Western Canada.

To see a graph outlining Per capita flour consumption in Canada and the U.S. please visit the following link: http://www.ccnmatthews.com/docs/cwbgraph.pdf

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