The Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA) is an organization that represents Canadian oat growers. Emerging has and is still working on various outreach campaigns, including the website Avena Canadiense, which was specifically targeted at Mexican consumers.
Launched in April 2014, this website provides valuable information about Canadian oats in a friendly and appetizing way. Mexican visitors can find out all the nutritional properties of oats and cook up culturally adapted and customized oat recipes - from enchiladas to pancakes - that offer Mexican consumers inspiration on how to easily integrate oats in their daily diet.
Emerging Ag also launched a Facebook Fan Page and designed and executed a social advertising campaign to promote the website among Mexican consumers. As of September 2018, this page had 201,683 followers. The page regularly reaches over 100,000 Mexican consumers a day. We estimate that 1 in 3 Mexicans has interacted with the Avena Canada campaign in some capacity over the past year.
2018 Recipe Contest
In 2018, Emerging coordinated the fourth oats recipe contest, which was open to all Mexican consumers and chefs, be they home cooks or culinary professionals. We received 88 original submissions, ranging from tradition tamales to paella to a falafel wrap. A panel of three judges, including a representative of the Mexican Diabetes Federation, judged these recipes for their originality, nutritional value, and presentation, and selected 9 winners in total. An award ceremony was held at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City and all recipe contest winners were invited. In addition to having their recipes professionally photographed and shared on the Avena Canada website and Facebook page, the winners are invited to join World Diabetes Day festivities, where their submissions will be featured in cooking classes and compiled into a mini booklet of original oats recipes.
In total, over 400 original recipes have been submitted over the course of the four recipe contests. In 2018, CAD $1,500 was distributed to the 9 winners.
POGA’s efforts in the Mexican market continue to be tireless and successful. Besides the activities in the digital world, POGA has organised three Trade Missions, one per year since 2016, to Mexico City and Guadalajara to meet with relevant players in the country.
Diabetes Awareness Events in Mexico
World Diabetes Day is celebrated worldwide on November 14. There are more than 12 million people living with diabetes in Mexico and half of them are undiagnoes. In 2018, Emerging Ag, on behalf of the Prairie Oat Growers Association (POGA), partnered for the third year with the Mexican Diabetes Federation to run a number of events the week prior to World Diabetes Day to raise awareness on the importance of early diagnosis and on the role of oats in managing diabetes. The messages shared on those days focused on the importance of maintaining a balanced diet and doing physical activity as key measures to prevent and reduce diabetes, on the health benefit of oats and on its affordability for Mexicans. Mexico imports 95% of its oats from Canada. In November, 2018, the following events took place in Mexico City:
November 8: Cooking Workshops at Colegio Superior de Gastronomía The Mexican Diabetes Federation in collaboration with POGA held two cooking workshops at the Superior College of Gastronomy (Colegio Superior de Gastronomía). Renowned chefs from the College of Gastronomy worked in the morning with 35 diabetes patients and in the afternoon with 35 health professionals showing the importance and benefits of eating a balanced and healthy diet and the options oats provide. A diverse menu of appetizing dishes made with oats was prepared using the new recipes featured in POGA’s new recipe booklet “Cocina con Avena” (more information below). Chef Omar Sánchez Guzmán, banquet chef at the School, used the booklet to demonstrate how creatively oats can be used in simple to sophisticated cooking. Several recipe creators, winners of the recipe contest, were also in attendance.
In addition to the cooking training participants had the opportunity to hear presentations about the specific benefits that oats have for people living with diabetes. Five nutritionists of the Mexican Diabetes Federation coming from the states of Yucatán, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nuevo León y Guanajuato talked about how oats are an ally for people living with diabetes. The principle is a train-the-trainer approach and POGA is working with the Federation to engage people from different regions.
An article about the workshops will also be published in the magazine “Diabetes Hoy” in its January-February 2019 issue, along with the recipes from the event.
A social media booklet was given to all workshop participants to be active on social media during the workshop with sample tweets promoting World Diabetes Day (#WDD2018) and oats (#avena).
November 9: Media Event A media event entitled “Oats, the healthy choice for Mexican cuisine” was hosted at the Superior College of Gastronomy with the attendance of 14 journalists. Five of the nine winners of the recipe contest attended and presented their recipes. A representative of the Canadian Embassy and of the Mexican Diabetes Federation also spoke. A Grupo Vida representative was also in attendance. In addition to the presentations, journalists also had a chance to taste a menu featuring the winning recipes of the recipe contest prepared by the kitchen of the Superior College of Gastronomy.
November 11: Diabetes Fair On Sunday November 11, the Mexican Diabetes Federation organized its annual awareness fair at Plaza Tlaxcoaque and Avena Canada had a booth featuring the recipe booklet, flyers and banners. The booth was visited by 900 people. All the material was used up. In general people appreciated the recipe booklet as many commented that they like oats but do not know how to prepare it.
November 14: World Diabetes Day A series of posts were published on the Avena Canada Facebook Fan Page in the lead up to November 14 and on the day promoting the theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day: “Diabetes concerns every family/La diabete concierne a cada familia”. Visuals from the International Diabetes Federation and the Mexican Diabetes Federation were posted along with the promotion of recipes. Several Facebook photo albums were also created with pictures from the November 8, 9 and 11 events. In total, Facebook posts from Avena Canadiense had a reach of 418,553 and resulted in 31,886 engagements. The two top-performing posts reached 247,424 and 127,195 people, respectively.