Ohio Proud: helping producers market local food

Ohio Proud banner

American food shoppers have a huge selection of food products to choose from. According to the Food Marketing Institute, the average U.S. grocery store stocks 38,900 products! ¹ On a recent visit to my local grocery store, I counted no less than 12 brands of mustard; each brand offered multiple product extensions to fit every taste preference.

Which product did I pick?

Ben’s Sweet n’ Hot Mustard, because it is made right here in Ohio.

Ohio Proud companies

Ben’s Mustard is a licensed Ohio Proud company. Ohio Proud is a marketing program created by the Ohio State Department of Agriculture to promote locally grown, raised and processed foods. The Ohio Proud program began in 1993. Today Ohio Proud continues to support the marketing efforts of local farmers and food producers.

“Ohio Proud provides growers and producers an opportunity to increase sales and reach new markets and offers consumers a quick, reliable way to identify locally made products,” states Lori Panda, Senior Program Manager of the Ohio Proud program. “Currently, Ohio Proud has more than 520 partners. The program also has approximately 50 distributors, retailers and restaurants, known as our Ohio Proud Affiliate members, who promote and support Ohio Proud products throughout the year.”

Benefits for food producers

Ohio Proud makes local products stand out among national competitors. According to the Ohio State University report “Building Capacity for Local and Organic Ohio Proud Foods”, consumers see the value of locally produced food and are willing to pay more when their purchases support a resilient local food system and local economy. ² A consumer survey detailed in the report found:

  • 81 percent of survey respondents indicated they prefer locally grown foods.
  • 90 percent of participants desire to increase their local food purchases.
  • 32 percent reported a willingness to pay up to 10 percent more for locally produced foods.

The colorful Ohio Proud label helps consumers identify local foods. The label bears the shape of the state with tagline “Made in Ohio- Grown in Ohio.” Consumers see Ohio Proud as an opportunity to support Ohio farms and food producers.

In addition to labeling rights, licensed Ohio Proud partners gain access to Ohio Proud promotional items. The Ohio Proud website promotes partners’ products and boosts businesses’ online presence with individualized profiles that showcase products and tell consumers where to buy.

Ohio Proud licensed producers gain access to new marketing channels. Grocers, restaurants and distributors that support local food can become affiliate members of Ohio Proud. Ohio Proud facilitates connections between partners and affiliates at networking and educational events.

Be Ohio Proud

Licensed Ohio Proud products must be at least 50 percent grown, raised or processed in the state. Products must comply with federal and state inspection and labeling regulations.

Interested producers should visit the Ohio Proud website, create a profile and complete an online application. Ohio Proud companies pay a $25 licensing fee annually. Visit the Ohio Proud website at www.ohioproud.org for more information.


  1. “Supermarket Facts” (2016). Food Marketing Institute.
  2. Inwood. S., Bergman. L., & Stinner. D. “Building Capacity for Local and Organic Ohio Proud Foods” (Sept 2003). The Ohio State University.


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