WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA — The Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and Canada Bread — makers of Dempster's products — announced on June 23 a branding partnership that directly promotes farmers' wheat to consumers countrywide.

Under the agreement, the CWB's "Canadian Wheat Makes it Good" maple-leaf logo will appear on bags of Dempster's WholeGrains bread, and in national television commercials, print advertising, in-store promotions, demonstrations and online material accompanied by the new tagline “Prized around the world — grown on the Prairies.”

"This new branding agreement helps farmers connect directly to consumers and reminds shoppers that nutritious, delicious bread is made from Canadian wheat," said David Burrows, CWB vice-president of farmer relations and public affairs. "Research shows that Canadians seek out home-grown products and trust their high quality."

A 2010 study by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada showed that branding and Canadian-origin labeling play a greater role than price in consumer shopping choices.

Andrea E. Graham, senior vice-president of marketing and business development at Canada Bread, said Prairie farmers are natural business partners.

"Dempster's is Canada's bakery and the Prairies are Canada's wheat heartland," she said. "We feel strongly about using 100% Canadian wheat to bake our breads. We think consumers and Canadians will too."

The CWB has previously negotiated branding agreements with several Canadian and international market leaders. Saskatchewan farmer Matt Price says these corporate partnerships ensure his wheat is highly valued in Canada and around the world.

"We grow some of the best wheat in the world here on the Prairies," said Price, who farms 3,500 acres west of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. "CWB branding programs help spread the word that Canadian wheat means quality wheat. Ultimately, that recognition will increase the value of the grain that we grow."

Branding Canadian wheat in key markets as a unique, high-value product was ranked as important by 97% of farmers who responded to the CWB's 2010 producer survey, with 74% deeming it "very important.” Burrows said the CWB's role as the single seller of Prairie wheat means it can establish branded relationships that would not be possible if there were other companies selling the same grain.

"Corporations need to be confident that the resources they commit to brand promotion will directly benefit their own sales prospects — not those of their competitors," he said, adding that Canada is the only country in the world that conducts branding activity for its wheat. "As the single seller, we can also effectively control and protect the brand's attributes in a way that would not be possible otherwise."