Create and implement a culinary strategy to increase popularity
and awareness of Sorghum and establish it as a premier ancient grain
A minimal awareness amongst consumers of what sorghum is, how to cook with it, and the health benefits of the grain.
Increasing popularity of other grains such as quinoa and farro creates competition and a challenge for Sorghum Checkoff to have a loud and clear voice amongst consumers and the media.
We created a multi-pronged strategy for educating consumers and chefs on what sorghum is in order to increase awareness and sales of the grain. One of these tactics was creating a Chef/ Influencer sorghum care package program with several sorghum brands that provided samples of their products. We made sure that the package included all varieties of sorghum: whole grain, our, popped/popping and syrup. Our list of possible sorghum package recipients included a carefully curated list of chefs, bloggers, and culinary companies. Through our public relations partner, The Door, we also sent sorghum care packages to key editors and food media personalities.
Media outreach was an integral part of our communications strategy. The Door reached out to many different types of media whose topics cover food, lifestyle, and trade. The three types of media pitches they focused on were:
- Sorghum as a trend - focused on the fact that top chefs in the US are now using sorghum
- more than ever, and in different ways than the traditional southern recipes.
- Drought-resistant sorghum - focused on California-based chefs and writers who would potentially be interested in using or covering drought resistant food. While the grain isn’t grown specifically in CA, the awareness of the grain’s drought resistance might encourage local chefs to incorporate it in their dishes.
- Chef’s recipes – We collected chef recipes (mostly as a result of our care package program) and pitched them out to food & beverage writers.
“Move over, quinoa: sorghum is the new ‘wonder grain’” – The Guardian
- We reached almost 200 chefs, influencers, caterers, culinary companies, bloggers, and media outlets as a result of our sorghum care package initiative
- Numerous well-known chefs and restaurants included sorghum on their menu including: Michelle Bernstein, Jenn Louis, Gavin Kaysen, Marc Forgione, Giuseppe Tentori, Le Pain Quotidien, Great Performances Catering, and Ace Hotel Group
- Our media outreach produced several key stories about sorghum in highly-read outlets such as The Guardian, Bon Appetit, Food Network Blog, Food52, and The Wall Street Journal