The Vidalia onion industry is fortifying its Internet presence.

Vidalia growers expand online and social media activity

Courtesy Vidalia Onion Committee

The Vidalia Onion Committee is redoing its Web site and is jumping more into social media sites.

The Vidalia,
Ga.-based Vidalia Onion Committee has given its Web site a makeover and is trying to become more active
in social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The initiative seeks to focus on the sweet onion’s culture and promote its appeal to younger consumers, said Wendy Brannen, executive director.

She said the organization has been trying to make the site more relevant to consumers, retailers and other members of the produce trade.

One way to do that, Brannen said, is to more prominently feature Vidalia onion recipes.

The committee is working with many retail consumer affairs specialists on recipe promotion.

“We love our onion but the raw onion itself sitting there is not as enticing to consumers as if we can show them a colorful salad with Vidalia onions layered on top,” Brannen said. “We already have some retailers following us on Twitter and giving us feedback on those social media sites. Retailers can take those postings and incorporate them into their own sites. We’re seeing this happen.”

Michael Hively, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of Bland Farms Inc., Reidsville, Ga., applauds the committee’s reach into social media.

“Wendy does a good job keeping the Vidalia onion industry very visible and is using the latest means of advertising or media,” he said. “We are obviously looking to continue to target new customers. The younger customers will be the ones buying our products, so we want to make sure they are well informed. Anything she does on those lines will be very good for the Vidalia industry.”

The site also includes expanded sections dealing with growers and a trade area featuring downloadable retail promotional materials, and information on availability and storage.

Another section devoted to children includes games and activities.  That area ties in with the popular Shrek character from the animated “Shrek: Forever After” movie.

In that promotion, grower-shippers bring Shrek to the produce aisle by packing bags and bins with the Shrek image.