Is Red, White and Blue the New Green?

american flag and chipsWe love our American food.  Increasingly, we’re looking for foods produced or made in America, and we’re OK if it costs more. Nearly all Americans — 94% to be precise — say they would rather buy food produced in the U.S. than less expensive versions made in China, even if U.S. products cost twice as much, according to a Gallup Poll survey.

Country of origin is becoming more important to us — related to food safety issues and pride.  In fact, when it comes to food — red, white and blue may be the new green.  That’s the tagline of a campaign from the folks promoting the Made in USA brand certification program.


Food companies are increasingly leveraging this love of Americana, including the people behind the products – the farmers, the fishermen, the producers.  Lay’s has been touting locally made potato chips and showcasing the farmers in 27 states across the country who grow the potatoes.


Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert says we’ll see more “produced or made in America” signage as supermarkets start to promote foods from the U.S. — like Gulf shrimp instead of shrimp from China.  In fact, Lempert predicts that Big Easy seafood will be big in 2011 as we rally to support New Orleans and Gulf seafood.

timmy-cheramie-mWild American Shrimp has introduced a great campaign featuring shrimpers from the Gulf and South Atlantic. The message:  you’ve been tricked.  The campaign says 85% of the shrimp we buy is imported:  “Your shrimp was raised in a pond then shipped overseas, you had no idea.” Their TV commercial tagline is “the shrimp you thought you were eating.”  The group has also introduced a certification program for shrimp caught in American waters.

Alaska has seen its seafood grow in popularity.  Research shows that 82% of consumers who see the Alaska Seafood logo would be more likely to buy it.alaska seafood

cherry salad full

Restaurants are getting in on the state-branded trend too. Increasingly you’ll see menu items touting USA ingredients from a specific state or region.

I noticed that this week on vacation in Florida when I ordered a salad for lunch.  The menu featured Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad with Pecans.

It’s a growing trend in restaurants, so expect to see this even more often.  A survey of chefs conducted by the National Restaurant Association indicates that locally sourced meats and seafood and locally grown produce are the top two menu trends for 2011.  The #10 trend on the list:  farm-branded ingredients.

Mintel Menu Insights identified the most popular state-branded menu items:

2. New York-style
3. Southwest
4. Southern-style
5. California
6. New England
7. Cajun-style
8. Boston-style
9. Santa Fe
10. Americana

What state-branded foods have you noticed lately?

(photo credit above:  NikonGirl24 on flickr)

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