Canary Seed Development Commission

Branding to position canary seed for human consumption

The Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan required branding to position canary seed for human consumption. Market research highlighted that there were some negative connotations associated with the name ‘canary seed’ – it made consumers think of birdseed. Based on this information, we looked to the seed’s heritage to inspire a new name. Canary seed is native to the Canary Islands, a Spanish protectorate off the coast of West Africa. In Spanish‐speaking countries, canary seed is known as alpiste. We adopted Alpiste as the new name with a nod to its heritage and a growing market for ancient grains.

Once we landed on the name, we needed a striking identifier to help us launch the grain to a North American audience. The Alpiste logo is inspired by the grain’s history, physiology and growing environment. Informant interviews and focus group feedback fed the brand development. The colour palette uses shades drawn from a prairie sky. The azure blue hints at the light flavour profile while the golden grain lends itself to the nutty warm flavour associated with Alpiste. The strong contrast between the two colours makes the logo stand out. The Alpiste icon captures the unique head of the plant and the dynamic nature suggests a grain field gently blowing in the wind. The maple leaf “crowns” the logo, telling the audience this is a local/Canadian product.

The Alpiste logo is friendly, bright and welcoming. It entices people to try this product. The tagline speaks to the unique key benefits of the grain that help it stand out from other specialty grains offered to consumers – it’s tasty and high in protein.