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Primo, CWB launch “spaghetti farmers” promotion

Toronto-based pasta manufacturer Primo Foods and the Canadian Wheat Board will run a national marketing campaign to promote Prairie durum wheat to Canada’s pasta consumers.

“There are 10,000 Prairie durum farmers who dominate the world market, growing more high-quality durum wheat than anywhere on Earth,” said CWB CEO Ian White, speaking Wednesday during a promotion kick-off at the Canadian International Grains Institute.

“We want Canadian consumers to value this wheat as much as our export customers do — including those in Italy.”

The new co-branding partnership is meant to boost awareness of the quality of Prairie wheat in Primo’s new GrainWise line of whole-grain and whole-wheat pasta. The campaign is to include national TV ads, in-store sampling, billboards in Quebec and other initiatives. The launch is in advance of World Pasta Day on Saturday (Oct. 25).

About 47 per cent of Canadians are unaware that most pasta and bread in Canada is made with Canadian wheat, according to a survey commissioned by the CWB, Canadian Pasta Manufacturers’ Association and the Baking Association of Canada in March. Yet use of Canadian wheat was considered “important” by 89 per cent of respondents, the CWB said.

World Pasta Day will be marked worldwide with a number of events, the CWB said, including an assembly of the International Pasta Organization in Istanbul, where a CWB marketing manager is scheduled to speak on the topic of western Canadian durum. This year’s World Pasta Day theme is “Pasta and children: Health for children around the globe.”

In keeping with the theme, the CWB also announced a contest inviting children age 12 and under to win a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit gaming and exercise system by submitting drawings of “spaghetti farmers” or a short essay on “what makes your pasta perfect.” Contest details are available on the CWB’s consumer website. The entry deadline is Nov. 21.

The CWB has in recent months made several forays into active consumer-level promotion of the Prairie wheat brand, including co-branding and promotions with Robin Hood flour starting early this year.

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