Dispatches from the road – NYC editition: Notes on the NB brand

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.

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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.

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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.

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One Response to Dispatches from the road – NYC editition: Notes on the NB brand

  1. I’ve also wondered about the paucity of ‘New Brunswick’ products outside the province. I was at a crafts store in the Market in Ottawa, one which specializes in regional products from across the country – and every province is represented except New Brunswick. A lot could be done to, first, produce new products in New Brunswick, and second (and even more importantly) to market them.

    Making the leap from NB salmon or Moncton maple syrup to water exports is a big one, though, and feels disingenuous, as I’m sure you know that the sale of water is an issue in this country. The sale of water is a totally separate subject which needs to be the result of a lot of discussion and more than fa few reassurances, otherwise we in Moncton may find ourselves paying the same for our household water as the people in parched Los Angeles. Because (as you know) that’s how the free trade deals tend to work.

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