BATON ROUGE, LA: Louisiana's Department of Agriculture and Forestry has rehired Diane Allen and Associates to help it increase consumption of state-grown sweet potatoes both locally and nationally.
The firm beat two other agencies for the contract worth $500,000 over a three-year period after scoring highest during the proposal process, according to Veronica Mosgrove, press secretary for the department. She did not name the other firms in the running.
Diane Allen and Associates will advise on how to best increase sales of both fresh and processed Louisiana sweet potatoes via an integrated outreach effort. It will also be required to develop materials, according to the RFP for the contract.
The PR and advertising firm has assisted the state's growers, shippers, and processors to promote Louisiana yams for more than 20 years.
In the next year, the agency is planning to launch a sweet-potato recipe contest with Louisiana Cookin' magazine and the Delgado College Culinary Institute in New Orleans.
“We find that today's homemakers, of all ages, are recipe-hungry and are willing to experiment with sweet potato recipes for their families,” said agency president Diane Allen, via email. “Basically, it's another way of serving a vegetable that's nutritional and very appealing in everything from breakfast to soups.”
It will also create a broker display contest for grocery stores across the US and on military bases overseas, print ads in grocer trade publications, and press releases, according to Nancy Steiner, VP of media services at the firm.
The scope of work also includes revamping the commission's website and helping to manage its social media presence.
Louisiana is the fourth-largest producer of US sweet potatoes, with 2.5 million pounds of the product harvested in the state in 2010, according to research released last year by Mississippi State University. North Carolina is No. 1 at 9.7 million pounds harvested.