By Todd Crowley, Managing Partner, Vaxa Group
- In designing a premium campaign, consideration should be given to integrating all elements of the value and supply chain in order to ensure the product is genuinely differentiated in the market.
- Branded foods return a premium yield as brand value has more relevance than supply alone. To live up to the promise and stretch of a premium brand campaign, quality standards are non-negotiable.
- Chefs and procurement managers are open, willing to try and pay a premium for “new” premium and artisanal foods to attract and retain clientele in an increasingly competitive market.
As consumers of commodity based and branded food items, the Australian and Asia/Pacific market is spoilt for choice. So what makes us decide which product to purchase when faced with a decision at retail and food service level?
The Australian and Asia Pacific food market is made up of two distinct segments – the premium and the commodity markets.
In view of the high demand for Australian and South Pacific produced foods and need to differentiate to gain greater market share, consideration should be given as to why your product should be marketed and not just sold.
To achieve this, a commensurate investment is required in a super-premium branding and food marketing campaign.
In designing a premium campaign, consideration should be given to integrating all elements of the value and supply chain in order to ensure the product is genuinely differentiated in the market. It’s a combination of push and pull.
This differentiation can be supported by a high-quality marketing and promotions program to provide a premium yield for the product. A good example of this in practice is Blue Mussels from Port Lincoln in South Australia and Triabuna in Tasmania, traditionally traded as a commodity. That is until companies like the Puglisi family’s Kinkawooka and Spring Bay Seafoods with the assistance of food marketing specialists Fisheads created value by developing convenient value added product and packaging to suit retail and food service:
Kinkawooka’s famous live, scrubbed, cleaned and de-bearded mussels, packed in our unique ‘sea sure’ packaging – keeping them live and stress free making them soft, sweet and delicious, every time.
The fine dining market for premium Australian and South Pacific foods globally is dynamic and growing.
Premium food sales have risen over the past three years and the produce enjoys an enviable reputation among food service and high-end retail. The products on offer are aspirational and meeting demand from an ever-growing middle class market across the Asia Pacific.
So how do shoppers/consumers perceive value?
As the good Professor David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, says, “typically, perceived product value = benefits–costs. But, sometimes, it’s about the story:
- Production system (e.g. organic, free range).
- Ethics (e.g. RSPCA approved).
- Health benefit/compatibility with other food.”
Branded foods return a premium yield as brand value has more relevance than supply alone. To live up to the promise and stretch of a premium brand campaign, quality standards are non-negotiable. So too are service (logistics) standards, says legendary seafood brand strategist John Susman.
And now, more than ever, social procurement is at the top of the list for discerning customers. Ensuring the food we consume isn’t harvested through slave labour; helping those smaller less fortunate communities by empowering gender equality and social inclusion; environmental considerations such as sustainability-neutral carbon emissions (as evidenced by PACT Marketplace – Bridge to Scale).
So why does your produce deserve a premium price position?
Do you deliver on taste, specific products for specific markets, consumer friendliness in preparation or social attributes associated with production and processing, such as animal welfare and impact on the environment?
What about product story? Kinkawooka, Cleanseas, Five Founders and Blackmore’s are wonderful examples of what a commensurate investment into food marketing can do for brand, reputation, volume, revenue and yield!
Food is fashion in this market and branding is an imperative.
Chefs and procurement managers are open, willing to try and pay a premium for “new” premium and artisanal foods to attract and retain clientele in an increasingly competitive market.
So what are some of the “on point” trends within the market at present?
According to Professor Hughes they are:
- Locally sourced foods.
- Plant based foods.
- Sustainable, ethically produced products that meet socially responsible goals (GESI, CSR, ESG).
- Artisanal products.
- Healthy cuisine.
- Free range meats, eggs.
- Small plates.
- Super fruits.
Establishing program capability and gaining acceptance within these markets requires a commitment to comprehensive pre and post farm gate activities, including a robust marketing campaign.
The marketing strategy must deliver a premium brand positioning and brand values which appeal to the super-premium chef and ever-discerning shopper.
So, to be successful in marketing your food products, Professor Hughes says you need an “absolute focus” on:
- Consistently great tasting, affordable food products with consumer-relevant points of difference versus direct competitors.
- Impeccable safety and integrity.
- Convenient to buy, prepare, consume and clean up.
- Meet consumers’ evolving requirements for social attributes such as animal welfare, climate change impact etc.
Vaxa Group’s team has helped producers, both large and small, with pre and post farm gate programs to improve uptake by consumers through thoughtful branding and marketing campaigns.
If you would like to improve your position in the marketplace call Todd Crowley on 0409 009114 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.