A study conducted by the University of South Carolina indicates that a marketing campaign for produce grown in South Carolina would have a substantial return on investment–$132 for every dollar invested. USC researcher Doug Woodward says the state’s “SC Grown” program could generate 10,000 new jobs.
Woodward says a boosted SC Grown campaign would increase the state’s gross product by $265 million and create a variety of jobs. He says the goal for SC Grown is to increase demand to the level that exists for homegrown produce in neighboring North Carolina and Georgia.
Woodward says the state’s gross domestic product is approximately $140 billion and agribusiness already supports nearly a quarter of the state’s economy.
The SC Department of Agriculture has a goal to increase the impact of agriculture, forestry and allied industries by $16 billion up to $50 billion by 2020.
More than a dozen grocery chains operating in South Carolina are using the campaign but a few are not, says Woodward,
A few stores based out of state have been more reluctant. They have more traditional sources of supply. But we’re seeing a change and they’re beginning to come around. Almost all of them are coming around. It’s a good image for them. That’s what customers are looking for. And restaurants are really coming around and see this as a big attraction. Surveys show that customers will pay more for in-state products.
Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers says the state spends about $1 million a year on the marketing program and farmers spend seven times that.
Weathers says there are twice the local community farmers’ markets in South Carolina as there were four years ago.
People want to know more about where their food is coming from. They want to know how it was grown. People want to personalize the process more. These markets represent that fact. The effort by grocery stores to sell local products is part of that same trend.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture paid $50,000 for the study.