(Feb. 5) SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Grown program appears to be winning over many Californians, particularly women and Hispanics.

The Buy California Marketing Agreement, which oversees the California Grown promotion, uses advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns to encourage California consumers to support their state’s agricultural producers.

A study by Rose Research found that the program is meeting its goals of raising statewide awareness of and demand for California-grown products.

This latest study of 1,000 people, the second in a series aimed at measuring the success of the promotions, found that 78% of women and Hispanics in the state who recalled seeing California Grown television commercials are more likely to buy California products than those from other states.

PROOF OF PROGRESS

Steve Rose, president of the company that conducted the survey that was conducted in September and released in February, said that his research indicates that the California Grown program — complete with in-store promotions, broadcast commercials, point-of-sale materials, advertising and community events — continues to influence consumer attitudes. And that, he said, can increase sales of California products.

“This validates the thrust of the campaign,” said Scott Horsfall, chief operations officer for the marketing agreement. “The numbers are up across the board.”

As in an earlier study of the program’s effectiveness, about 90% of people surveyed said they agreed that buying California-grown products is a good way to support the state’s farming industry and economy.

Horsfall said that while the promotions of Buy California have been done in English and Spanish, he was somewhat surprised that the message resonated so well with the state’s Hispanic shoppers.

“The idea of supporting the local economy resonates well with that audience,” he said.

COMMERCIALS RESUME

But the success of the program so far doesn’t mean the work is over. After laying off advertising during the first part of the winter, Buy California television commercials went back on the air in late January.

As usual, the heart of the promotions will hit during the summer and fall, Horsfall said.

“And we’ll continue to work with our retail partners to make sure they understand that people are looking for California-grown products,” he said.

The Buy California Marketing Agreement got a $20 million jumpstart in funding from a federal block grant as well as funding from the state.

It also gets funding from more than 25 state agricultural organizations representing many of California’s more than 300 agricultural products.