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Agrimarketing : January February 2008
40 AgriMarketing January/February 2008 Pizzey's Milling began as a true cottage industry in the farm kitchen of Glenn and Linda Pizzey near Angusville, MB. He was involved in Flax Growers Western Canada, a farm group dedicated to researching new markets for flaxseed. Glenn brought those ideas home with him, and explained the science behind the nutrition of flaxseed. Linda, a true marketer, instinctively realized that here was a commercial opportunity that should be captured. In 1990, a local farmer 's market became the first outlet for her soon-to-be-famous Flax'n Honey Bread. It became quickly apparent that the company needed to expand out of the farm kitchen and operate a licensed bakery so the product could be carried year-round. The initial product offering was two varieties of flaxseed bread, sold in local (100 mile radius) stores and in farmer 's markets and at trade shows. RAMPING UP The next challenge was to prove to the industry that flaxseed could be used successfully as a bakery ingredi- ent without concern for shelf stability. Pizzey's Milling produced a complete flax bread blend for bakeries. The first in-store bakery customers included Penner Foods in Winnipeg, and Safeway bakeshops in western Canada. Canada Safeway now carries flax bread called Flax'n Honey Bread produced by Lucerne, and marketed under the Nature's Blend label. The next move was to offer the formulation idea to the bread giants, McGavins (now Canada Bread) and Westons. Successful marketing by Linda convinced both these companies to produce major brands that include flaxseed. According to Canada Bread, their top sellers now are Flax and 12 Grain, both of which include Pizzey's flaxseed ingredients. Generating a modest $26,000 in revenues in the first year, Pizzey's is now recognized in North America as the largest flaxseed ingredient supplier. They now operate from a 50,000 square foot facility in Angusville, MB, (affectionately called Pizzeyville) that employs close to 50 people, and a 15,000 square foot facility in Gurnee, IL, that employs another five. Major cereal manufacturers, including Quaker and Kelloggs, and bread giants, Canada Bread's popular Dempster 's brand of flax and 12-grain breads and Bimbo in Mexico rely on Pizzey's Milling exclusively for their flaxseed ingredient needs. Pizzey's continues to be the flaxseed supplier of choice to major pet food manufactur- ers in the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe. Another growing and profitable industry caught Linda's attention and in response to her marketing approaches, the pet food manufacturers, IAMS Co., Hills Pet Nutrition (Science Diet), and Diamond Pet Foods began purchasing flaxseed ingredients from Pizzey's Milling in 1993-94. INNOVATIVE MARKETING Today, Linda is CEO of the company and is primarily responsible for all marketing initiatives. She firmly believes that a strong market- ing image is very important for all compa- nies, but particularly a smaller company. She considers it vital in gaining market share and visibility. Because of this, Pizzey's invests substantially in marketing and adver- tising materials and opportunities. Pizzey's makes a powerful statement on the trade show floor. The company has a large, 20' display with full back panels to allow maximum visual impact from all sides. The exhibit may also be used in two 10' units allowing for greater flexibility. It has a multi-function Web site aimed at both con- sumers and manufacturers. Comprehensive information is included on the site to enhance details about research and development in the flaxseed industry. Pizzey's has trademarked many of their flaxseed products and includ- ed full background information on these for site visitors. An extensive range of brochures and information pieces on the benefits and uses of flaxseed have been pro- duced. As well, Pizzey's runs full color ads in trade mag- azines and online publications. Results from a recent on line ad study research report completed for Baking Management provided Pizzey's with some positive statistics. Designed to measure recall and readership of ads, participants click on a Web site where they view ads and then respond accordingly. Of 156 respondents, the Pizzey's Milling ads scored the high- est by a wide margin in the overall ad study score, as well as in the "recall seeing" (76%) and "recall reading" (65%). INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP Remembering her first years struggling to start up the business, Linda saw the need for an industry association that could help with the learning, the government regula- tions, and perhaps provide mentoring so that others would not have to "re-invent the wheel." She became the Chairperson of the steering committee that founded the Manitoba Food Processors Association in 1993. Linda stayed on as the founding president until 1996, then as past president and a member of the board of directors until 1999. She has, since then, spent two more years as a board member. Linda was also a founding board member of the Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council, spending time on the board of directors to set the policy and direction of the Council. In 1995, Linda was chosen as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for a Manitoba Start-up company, awarded by Women Business Owners of Manitoba. In 2003, she was awarded Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA. Linda also sits as a member of the Market Development committee of the Flax Council of Canada, an industry group dedicated to furthering the market for flaxseed. AM Linda Pizzey LINDA PIZZEY NAMED CAMA AGRI-MARKETER OF THE YEAR BEST OF CAMA • 2007
2008 Marketing Services Guide
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