I’m in the Big Apple for a few days’ vacation and I stumbled across a few things of interest. First, over the last 10 years there has been roughly $1.4 billion worth of international salmon exports from New Brunswick the vast majority to the United States. Over that same period the total value of salmon exports from Nova Scotia has been $21 million.
Yet, three times yesterday I read on menus about Nova Scotia lox and salmon including at the market last evening. In all likelihood 98% of the salmon from east coast Canada consumed in New York is from New Brunswick but it is branded as Nova Scotian.
Digby scallops, Maine lobster, PEI mussels, Nova Scotia halibut (yesterday at lunch) – nothing about New Brunswick seafood on any menu I can find here.
The other interesting observation is this Poland Springs bottled water. It’s everyone in New York City. In fact it is by far the most dominant brand of bottled water and it is clearly identified as coming from Maine. On the side of the bottle is a list of all the small communities in Maine where the water comes from.
Now I understand we have lots of water in New Brunswick – we don’t know how much as I am told – but no firm is bottling it and branding it as NB water in Toronto or Montreal. Should we be promoting water as an economic development opportunity? The brand component comes as a side benefit.
New Brunswick is a small place – smaller than dozens of cities across North America. But there are lots of small places that have branded themselves well particularly related to specific natural resources – food, wood, etc. Maybe we should give more thought to how we can modestly expand our brand using the products that come from here.