Foodlink – A New Tool to Increase Farm Sales and Improve Shopper Knowledge about Specialty Crops

​Consumers have many choices in today’s marketplace.

Whether they are shopping in the your farm market, roadside stand, community farmers’ market or the local grocery store it makes no difference…busy shoppers can choose to buy fresh fruits and vegetables or any number of frozen or otherwise preprocessed (value added) foods.

FoodLink, a FREE tool developed by a team within Purdue Extension with funding from a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, will provide today’s shopper with immediate and free access to unbiased information that may influence the food choices they are making while still at the point of purchase. Our goal is to help them choose YOUR high quality fresh Indiana products over lesser choices that take their dollars away from the farm and perhaps out of state and may have less nutritional quality than your fresh farm products.

FoodLink provides vendors access to sales materials that include Quick Response (QR) codes that are unique to each of over 40 Indiana specialty crops from Asparagus to Zucchini.

Depending on which crops you are marketing at any given time one simply makes the appropriate QR code available to the shopper to scan from their smart phone and allow them to use the information then at their fingertips to make the decision that is right for them and their families.

Statistically 87% of women shoppers have a smart phone and they use them to access information that impacts their purchasing!

This code driven tool will provide immediate access to the user about proper food selection, use, preparation, pairings, storage and a variety of other quickly accessed information including quick and easy recipes that will encourage the incorporation of fresh fruits and vegetables into the diets of Hoosier families. The tool will address the needs of not only home shoppers but also those of institutional buyers with recipes suitable for not only a family of four but groups of 400.

Codes can be reproduced and placed on signage-large or small, physically on larger produce (melons and pumpkins etc), on clothing (aprons, shirts, hats etc), on boxes used for wholesale shipments and many creative ways that we have yet to identify.

For more information about how to access and use FoodLink resources in your farm marketing activities, please contact Roy Ballard, Purdue Extension educator, ANR, Hancock county by calling 317-462-1113 or by e-mail at rballard@purdue.edu.

We hope to see you at the 2016 Indiana Horticulture Congress in Indianapolis during the new preconference Marketing track on January 19th and the 2016 Illiana Vegetable School January 5th in Schererville. In the meantime… take a look at the FoodLink website at www.purdue.edu/Foodlink.

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