For the first time the Blaa Bakers of Waterford have come together to launch a major marketing campaign to promote awareness about the Waterford Blaa and have an ambitious target to increase sales by 50% over the next 3 years. The campaign gets under way on Sunday 16th September at the Waterford Harvest Festival where the bakers will stage a major promotion with Blaa baking demonstrations, sampling and information for consumers as part of "Feastival", the festivals finale where 100 market stalls will be offering an array of foods and crafts on the Waterford Quay. The association have developed a new logo and are producing a range of promotional materials to promote the Blaa in Retail and food service channels.
The marketing campaign, supported by Waterford CEB, is taking place against the background approval of the Waterford Blaa's PGI status as a European protected food product. Presently Ireland only has four PGI/PDO protected products. The bakers have been working together for 2 years with the Dept of Agriculture, Food and Marine and have successfully completed the official PGI application, currently awaiting approval from the EU commission.
There is growing demand for traditionally produced bakery goods using natural ingredients as Irish consumers become increasingly more health conscious. Many morning products like the Blaa were previously viewed as old fashioned and not in line with modern tastes during the boom times. These products are now experiencing a resurgence in popularity due to their association with family values and more frugal lifestyles. Smaller bakeries are benefiting from these trends and from growing consumer awareness and interest in locally produced products. The market for bakery products in Ireland estimated at €66fourm in 2010. The Family & Artisan sector has a 30% share valued at €216m with bread products and morning goods the biggest category valued at €182m.
The Waterford Blaa Bakers Association was set up in 2009 when four well known and long established Waterford family bakeries came together. The groups' primary objective is to protect the traditional Waterford Blaa as a unique regional Irish food. The bakers also co-operate to improve quality and marketing of Blaa's in the region.