Your choices on the Alabama grocery aisle in September could have a lasting impact for years to come.
The Buy Alabama’s Best campaign takes place during September. A project of the Alabama Grocers Association, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Alabama Food Manufacturers and Producers Association, the effort not only raises awareness about the goods produced in the state, but proceeds will benefit Children’s of Alabama cancer research.
“The September campaign is designed to educate consumers about Alabama products and the economic impact that those products have on our state,” said Ellie Smotherman Taylor, president of the Alabama Grocers Association. “Alabama products have a $2 billion economic impact and along with the food service industries employ one out of every four Alabamians in our state.”
She said this is the 10th anniversary of the Buy Alabama’s Best program and it has a payoff beyond the grocery checkout line.
“Since the beginning of our campaign, we’ve donated over half a million dollars to Children’s in finding a cure to childhood cancer, so we’re going to continue that campaign this year,” Taylor said. “A portion of proceeds of the sales of the products will go back to the hospital and along with that, consumers can buy icons through the grocery stores that sell them and those proceeds will also go back to the hospital.”
Dr. Kimberly Whelan, director of Taking on Life After Cancer at Children’s of Alabama, said the Buy Alabama’s Best campaign is felt and appreciated at the medical center.
“This is an exciting time for us. It’s one of our favorite times of the year to have this great community support,” she said. “I think it’s a wonderful campaign that really highlights the wonderful products we have here in Alabama along with the great local hospital we have here to serve Alabama’s children and families.”
More than 60 companies are participating in the campaign this year, several more than a year ago, said John McMillan, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
McMillan said with the number of startup companies in the state, the campaign should have more company for years to come.
“The potential growth, I think, is really going to be surprising to a lot of us in Alabama’s economy,” he said.
Many of the companies that are now on grocery shelves started with Alabama produce in family recipes that someone decided to share with the world.
“It’s the old American way,” McMillan said. “We’ve got several good companies in Alabama that actually started in their kitchens at home and have grown those into very successful businesses.”
Some of those businesses will have products on the shelves during September with the Buy Alabama’s Best logo underneath them.
Whelan said her daughters know what to look for.
“I have two little girls and they hone right into the displays,” she said. “They love that those are products made right here. They love that the products are helping support this hospital.”