Kentucky Proud, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture marketing initiative, is known in most of the state and is associated with farmers.
According to a recent University of Kentucky survey, recognition of the Kentucky Proud brand outside the Lexington and Louisville markets grew significantly in the past five years and now stands at 54 percent. Brand recognition in Lexington and Louisville also increased, and brand recognition statewide grew 12 percent to 69 percent.
The survey was conducted to measure the brand's progress since a similar study in 2009.
"More than ever, Kentucky consumers know that Kentucky Proud stands for farm products grown, raised, and-or processed in Kentucky by Kentuckians," Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said. "I am gratified to see that, in the last few years, we've been able to raise awareness about Kentucky Proud in the state's rural areas." He said increased brand recognition leads to increased sales, "and that's good for Kentucky small family farmers and small businesses."
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The October survey also found that 52 percent of respondents said they had bought a food product specifically because it was "produced or processed" in Kentucky. That response was up 15 percent.
Previously, many consumers associated Kentucky Proud with then-Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer and-or basketball players, who were featured in early ads, according to a news release. Now, less than 4 percent of respondents made that association.
Respondents to the recent survey mostly associated Kentucky Proud with Kentucky-produced goods, Kentucky farmers and fresh produce.
"This is great news for Kentucky farmers and businesses, but the program still has room to grow," Comer said in the news release.
Last year, Farmer pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges stemming from his eight years as ag commissioner. He is serving a 27-month sentence in federal prison in West Virginia.