American Pecan Council tours SWGA farms
ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Georgia pecans add between 200 to 300 million dollars to the state's economy each year.
Now growers are working to expand the marketing of their product.
On Wednesday, the American Pecan Council toured farms in Southwest Georgia to learn how they can raise awareness and up the demand for the nuts.
"They are doing a lot of amazing things, they're packaging specialty goods to ship all over the United States and some cases internationally," explained Executive Director Byron Gossett.
Sunnyland Farms was the third stop for the council that's touring the 15 states that have growers in the industry.
From Texas, to Oklahoma and now Georgia, and they found "a consistent theme of people who are really hardworking and honest and in for the long haul," said Gossett.
But are those stories enough to encourage consumers to buy the product?
The council recently passed a federal marketing order to raise awareness and increase demand.
"I think that's huge toward telling whatever story the product and the people who raise the product," Gossett added.
"The Southeast you know about pecans, but across the country aren't as well informed as well as peanuts, walnuts," explained Sunnyland Farms Chief Executive Officer Alex Willson.
Willson said that many people don't know how healthy they actually are.
"We are great in flavor, we are a great ingredient, we have antioxidants," said Willson.
And how you pronounce it, is also up for debate.
"I say pah-con, other people say pee-can," Willson explained.
"There's a lot of work to do, even the way we pronounce the word is different, that in itself illustrates there's a lot of work to do in terms of getting the awareness," Gossett explained.
Staff with the American Pecan Council have developed a website for consumers to learn about nutritional facts and recipes and a site for growers to read about industry trends.
The council also hired Weber Shandwick to work on a new brand advertising campaign that will roll out in the first quarter of 2018 to provide more information on the pecans.
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