With 9 out of 10 Aussies now more likely to buy Australian made, how is your brand responding to Australian-centric sentiment?
Australian consumers are increasingly demanding genuine, premium quality products that originate from our clean environment and are made to stringent Australian government standards. Brands that are made in Australia using Australian ingredients are well placed to successfully tap into this consumer sentiment. How can your brand leverage the growing patriotic sentiment?
“The latest data from Roy Morgan confirms that almost nine in every 10 Australian are more likely to buy a product if it’s manufactured in Australia, with Australian produced food being especially sought after,” says Michele Levine, CEO at Roy Morgan Research. This compares with just 5% who would buy food originating from China.
What does this mean to your consumers? Will they see the value in potentially paying extra for home grown? What value proposition will resonate best with them – fresher, cleaner, healthier, more patriotic, supporting fellow Aussie families, more trustworthy? Consumer research delivers the insights to drive your brand strategy, packaging design and communications.
We’ve explored 5 messages your brand can leverage to take advantage of the growing Australian-centric sentiment.
1. Peace of mind when you buy Australian Made
The recent Hepatitis A scares with frozen berries imported from China, as well as other concerns over food manufacturing standards, have instigated government changes to food labelling and made consumers more wary of where the food they’re buying comes from.
Most Australians say that buying Australian Made is very important to them, however, when it comes to paying a premium this “patriotism” often falls flat with many opting at the checkout for the cheaper product. In light of the recent health concerns with imported products, as well the impact they are having on the livelihoods of many Australian farmers, there is a positive sentiment towards buying Australian brands.
2. Australian Made is better quality
One such brand leveraging the Australian made message is SPC Tomatoes. With their latest ad, they use Australian Made as a key point of difference with a quality benefit to buying Australian made, helping their brand stand out in the category from overseas imported (and cheaper) canned tomatoes.
3. Desire for transparency and authenticity
In recent years Australians have become increasingly aware that “Australian Made” did not necessary mean the ingredients of the product were actually grown in Australia. For example, around 70% of Australia’s pork products like ham and bacon are produced from imported pork. Then there was the Hepatitis A outbreak in 2015 that caused at least 25 people to be stricken with Hepatitis A after consuming Nanna’s Frozen Berries, as well as another major berry product recall again in June this year, that understandably left Australian consumers very wary of Chinese grown berries.
It’s not just Hepatitis A that is a concern with imported food. Other nasty contaminants have been identified. The Department of Agriculture has increased screening for canned and preserved fruit in the wake of the Chinese frozen berry hepatitis A scare. Canned fruit had not previously been screened for lead before, but a test came into place following concerns of land and water pollution overseas transferring to food.
4. Australian grown is better for you, grown under strict Australian standards
Experts are also warning that cheap imported peanuts could pose a cancer risk to Australian consumers. Peanuts can harbour aflatoxin, a naturally occurring fungus known to cause liver cancer and even death. Australian growers and processors perform rigorous testing for the carcinogen, however, the same is not known of overseas growers. As reported in the Courier Mail, between January 2009 and June 2014, the Department of Agriculture found 122 cases of aflatoxin in imported foods containing nuts and sesame. The use of cheap imported nuts, particularly from China, has been increasing with the nuts used in many products from peanut butter to health bars and chocolates and this could further erode consumer trust in imported ingredients.
Imported food into Australia is not required to undergo the same level of chemical testing as food produced here. Australian farmers are subjected to extensive testing for up to 150 pesticides and veterinary chemicals yet foreign produce is only tested for 49. This double standard was exposed following heightened consumer concern after the contaminated Nanna’s berries recall.
5. Shop confidently – there’s nothing to hide with new labelling laws
On 1 July 2016, the Australian Government introduced the new food labelling requirements giving businesses two years to comply before it becomes mandatory on 1 July 2018. These changes have been introduced as a direct result of consumer pressure that demanded it be easier to know where food and ingredients come from.
All this leads to more Australian consumers wanting to buy home-grown. Australia’s clean and green image gives it an edge over the competition locally and even more so in international markets. Although it’s often challenging for Australian grown producers to compete on price, due to the significant cost of labour, they can compete on value, transparency, quality, reassurance and peace of mind.
Certainly the new labelling will make it easier for Australian shoppers to identify Australian made and grown. The challenge now is for brands leverage the home grown Australian made sentiment that currently exists and take advantage of the opportunities that it provides.
Developing the right branding, product packaging and messages is key. Being a brand that is accepted by the Australian consumer requires tapping into their mindset and gaining their feedback at concept stage. This is why consumer research is so important.
For more information about how we help our clients use consumer research to understand their consumers and markets, please give us a call at Truth-Serum.
Sources and acknowledgements:
Australian Pork Limited, www.australianpork.com.au
Roy Morgan Press Release 25 January, 2017
Jessica Marszalek, Damon Guppy, The Courier Mail, 13 March, 2015
Photos: pexels.com & A Day in Your Life Project, Rowena Meadows