Understanding Drivers and Barriers to Consumption of South East Queensland Local and Regional Foods

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1 Understanding Drivers and Barriers to Consumption of South East Queensland Local and Regional Foods 1

2 Prepared for: Queensland Government Regional Services Level 1, 60 Wises Road PO Box 5395 Maroochydore BC Q 4558 Prepared by: Dr Dawn Birch Senior Lecturer in Marketing Faculty of Arts and Business University of the Sunshine Coast Phone: August

3 Table of Contents Executive Summary...1 Profile of Respondents... 1 Key Findings... 2 Key Recommendations...9 Embrace the opportunity... 9 Focus on the most attractive target markets... 9 Improve marketing of local SEQ food and beverage... 9 Develop a tiered branding strategy Provide valued labelling information Use effective media channels Make the product more affordable Strategic product development Make local SEQ food and beverage more available in retail outlets Cater to a range of purchasing occasions Monitor consumers attitudes toward sustainability Focus on ethical production and practices Improve customer service Explore opportunities for growing culinary tourism Introduction Background to the Study Method Profile of Respondents...15 Residential Location of Respondents Food and Beverage Shopping Status of Respondents Gender of Respondents Age of Respondents Education Level of Respondents Income of Respondents Household Set up of Respondents Findings and Implications...20 Consumers Top of Mind Associations of Local and Regional Names Understanding of the Term Local Food and Beverage Purchase Frequency of Local Food and Beverage General Attitudes and Beliefs Related to Local Food and Beverage Beliefs about Purchasing Local Food and Beverage Drivers of Local Food and Beverage Consumption Barriers to Local Food and Beverage Consumption Factors Encouraging Purchase of SEQ Local food and Beverage Purchase of SEQ Local Food and Beverage across Product Category Outlets for SEQ Local Food and Beverage The Role of Environmental Consciousness and Ethical Identity in Local Food and Beverage Consumption Page i

4 The Role of Food Safety Concerns and Health Consciousness on Local Food and Beverage Consumption The Role of Location Identity on Local Food and Beverage Consumption The Role of Food Involvement, Food Related Lifestyle and Symbolic Image on Local Food and Beverage Consumption Influences on Consumption of Local Food and Beverage Labelling and Point of Sale Information for SEQ Local Food and Beverage Important Attributes when Purchasing Fresh Fish Culinary Tourism Local SEQ Food and Beverage Events and Cooking Schools Local Food and Beverage Outlets Satisfaction with Customer Service at SEQ Local Food and Beverage Outlets and Producers Eating out in SEQ Information Sources for SEQ Local Food and Beverage and Events Conclusions What does the term local food and beverage mean? Consumption frequency and purchase intentions Attitudes toward SEQ local food and beverage Drivers of local food and beverage consumption Barriers to SEQ local food and beverage consumption What would encourage increased consumption of SEQ local food and beverage? Purchase of SEQ local food and beverage product categories Outlets used for purchasing SEQ local food and beverage Purchase occasions for SEQ local food and beverage Consumer psychographics What and who influences consumption of SEQ local food and beverage? What labelling elements for SEQ local food and beverage do consumers consider to be important? Culinary Tourism in SEQ What information sources could be used to promote local SEQ food and beverage and events? Recommendations Embrace the opportunity Focus on the most attractive target markets Improve marketing of local SEQ food and beverage Develop a tiered branding strategy Provide valued labelling information Use effective media channels Make the product more affordable Strategic product development Make local SEQ food and beverage more available in retail outlets Cater to a range of purchasing occasions Monitor consumers attitudes toward sustainability Focus on ethical production and practices Improve customer service Explore opportunities for growing culinary tourism Bibliography Appendix 1: Online Consumer Survey Local and Regional Food and Beverage Appendix 2: Focus Group Protocol Consumer Focus Group Discussion: South East Queensland Local Food and Beverage Page ii

5 Executive Summary This executive summary presents the key findings and recommendations of a study that investigated Australian consumers attitudes toward South East Queensland (SEQ) local food and beverage. The study involved an online survey of 853 Australian consumers conducted in May The main aims of the study were to: investigate perceptions of current consumption of SEQ local food and beverage explore consumers attitudes toward SEQ local food and beverage uncover key drivers and barriers to the consumption of SEQ local food and beverage identify key market segments for SEQ local food and beverage. The report has been prepared on behalf of the Queensland Government Regional Services. Profile of Respondents The study involved a national online survey and three focus groups. The online survey was administered to: 307 local consumers from the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and the Bayside/Redland regions 546 visitors to SEQ (either in the past or next 12 months). The three focus groups (1.5 hours duration) included 21 females and 4 males from the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Bayside/Redland regions. Screening revealed that 62% of respondents for the online survey were the main shopper, 33% were the joint shopper, and 5% were an occasional shopper of food and beverage for their household. Females represented 59% of the survey population and males represented 41%. The majority of the respondents were in the 55 years and older age bracket (32%), followed by the year age bracket (22%) and years (22%). Younger people, aged years (19%) and years (6%) were under represented in the study. Less than one quarter of respondents (23%) reported an annual household income (before tax) of $100,000 or above. Respondents reporting an income between $60,000 and $100,000 comprised 25% of the survey population and those reporting an income between $20,000 and $60,000 accounted for another 31% of respondents. Respondents with an income below $20,000 comprised 4% of the survey population. The majority of respondents in the study were tertiary educated (44%), with the next largest group being technically trained (28%), followed by people educated to secondary school level (26%), and then primary school level (1%). The majority of respondents were couples with no children or with children who had left home (34%), followed by couples or single parents with children under 12 years of age (18%), and then single people living alone (17%). Page 1

6 Key Findings Top of mind associations for SEQ and SEQ local food and beverage For SEQ local residents the term local food and beverage is primarily associated with being locally grown, caught, produced or support for local farmers, producers, businesses, the local community and economy. Seafood is the primary food group associated with the Gold Coast and Bayside/Redland regions, while dairy is the primary food group associated with the Sunshine Coast. Markets (in particular, farmer s markets) are associated with the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, but less so the Bayside/Redland region. For Bayside/Redland and Gold Coast residents, local food and beverage is also associated with being fresh, and in particular, fresh fruit and vegetables. Restaurants and coffee shops are associated with all three areas, wine or wineries with the Gold Coast and Bayside/Redland, beer and breweries with Bayside Redland, and to a lesser extent, the Gold Coast. Ginger and pineapples are associated with the Sunshine Coast, while strawberries are associated with Bayside/Redland. What does the term local food and beverage mean? There was lack of agreement on what the term local food and beverage meant. Just under half of the respondents agreed that local food and beverage is grown or produced in a particular local area (e.g. Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast), while about one third considered that local food and beverage is grown or produced in a particular region (e.g. South East Queensland). Very few respondents considered that local food and beverage is grown or produced in a particular state or in a particular country. In terms of distance, about 40% of the respondents agreed that local food or beverage is grown and produced within 80 kilometres of where they live, 30% within 45 kilometres, 20% within 15 kilometres of where they live, and only 10% within 5 kilometres of where they live. Consumption frequency and purchase intentions The study revealed low levels of consumption of local food and beverage for both use at home and when eating out across the three local SEQ regions, with about one third of respondents purchasing local food and beverage less than monthly for use at home and two thirds purchasing less than monthly when eating out. The most common frequency (about half of the respondents) for purchasing of local food and beverage for both use at home and eating out over the past three months was 1 5 times. Very few respondents reported purchasing local food and beverage more than 10 times over the past three months either for use at home or when eating out. Respondents most commonly reported that they are slightly likely or moderately likely to purchase local food and beverage for use at home and slightly likely to purchase local food and beverage when eating out in the next fortnight. This low level of likelihood of purchasing local food and beverage when eating out is more likely to be a reflection of low intention to eat out at all in the next fortnight, rather than not selecting local food and beverage when eating out. While the vast majority of future visitors to SEQ indicated that it is at least moderately likely that they will purchase local food and beverage during their visit to SEQ, less than half of past visitors reported actually having done so at least frequently during their visit. Page 2

7 Attitudes toward SEQ local food and beverage Local SEQ Residents Local SEQ residents and older females in particular, hold very favourable attitudes toward local food and beverage. More than two thirds of the respondents are interested in learning about where the local food and beverage they eat comes from. The majority (over 80%) agreed that the origin of food and beverage should be clearly identified on menus at eating out places in their local area, and about two thirds of local SEQ respondents agreed that if local food or beverage from their local area was promoted at local restaurants that would positively influence them to choose those restaurants. However, just over one third of the respondents agreed that when selecting from a menu at a local restaurant they specifically look for local food and beverage from their local area to order. This may be partially explained by the finding that only just over one third of local SEQ respondents agreed that local food and beverage is frequently included on menus at eating out places. Just over one third of local SEQ residents agreed that when purchasing food and beverage for use at home they specifically look for local food and beverage to try. Only one third agreed that local food and beverage is being clearly marketed, and less than one quarter of local SEQ respondents agreed that local food was branded and easily recognisable or readily available where they shop. Visitors to SEQ Past and future visitors to SEQ share similar and positive attitudes in terms of being interested in where the local food and beverage they eat comes from, agreeing that the origin of food should be included on menus, and agreeing that if local food or beverage from SEQ was/is promoted at local SEQ restaurants that would positively influence them to choose those restaurants. However, less than half of the past visitors agreed they had specifically looked for SEQ local food and beverage to order or try during their visit to SEQ. More than three quarters of future visitors agreed that local SEQ food and beverage should be frequently included on menus at eating out places in SEQ, while less than half of past visitors agreed this had been the case. Over three quarters of future visitors to SEQ agreed that local food and beverage should be clearly marketed as coming from SEQ and branded and easily recognisable; however, less than half of the past visitors agreed that SEQ local food had been clearly marketed and only one third agreed that it had been branded or was easily recognisable. Likewise over three quarters of future visitors agreed that local SEQ food and beverage should be readily available where they shop in SEQ, while less than half of past visitors agreed that it had been readily available. Drivers of local food and beverage consumption When asked for reasons that are top of mind (i.e. without prompting), freshness was overwhelmingly the primary reason cited by local SEQ residents for purchasing local food and beverage. Other key reasons were associated with local support including supporting local community/business, local farmers/growers/producers, and the local economy/jobs. Local SEQ Residents When asked to select from a list of potential drivers, the primary drivers of consumption of local food and beverage by local SEQ residents are support for local producers and retailers, the local community and the regional economy; intrinsic qualities including freshness, reduced food miles, taste, being in season, quality and good appearance; traceability including connection with local producers and knowing where local food and beverage comes from; healthiness including nutrition, healthy, wholesome and natural; as well as trust, reputation, being the best available Page 3

8 and good value for money. The next most important drivers for local SEQ residents concerned sustainable and ethical practice including reduced packaging, sustainable, environmentally friendly, reduced pollution and being ethical. Most of the local SEQ residents agreed that they purchase local food and beverage because it is authentic and original, and traditional to the region. Safety including being safe and meeting Australian food safety standards was also an important driver. Visitors to SEQ In general, past SEQ visitors hold less favourable perceptions of SEQ local food and beverage than either local SEQ residents or future visitors. The most important key drivers for past visitors to SEQ concerned the intrinsic qualities of the product itself including freshness, taste, being in season, high quality, and good appearance. In keeping with local SEQ residents, support for local producers and retailers, the local community, and the regional economy was an important driver for past visitors. The next most important driver for past visitors concerned the healthiness of the product including healthy, nutritious, wholesome and natural. The most important drivers for future visitors to SEQ are the intrinsic qualities of the product including high quality, freshness, taste and good appearance and the healthy aspects of the product being free from preservatives, healthy, natural, and organic. Barriers to SEQ local food and beverage consumption Top of mind reasons for not purchasing local food and beverage primarily concern being too expensive and lack of availability. Other reasons include products not being clearly labelled as being local and not eating out as often as previously. Local SEQ Residents Key barriers to the purchase of local food and beverage by local SEQ residents are primarily associated with inadequate marketing and distribution including local food and beverage not being well promoted, information on where to find local food and beverage not being readily available, not clearly branded as local, not well labelled, not readily available, and the range of product being limited. There is also a perception that local food and beverage is expensive. Perceived inconvenience is associated with purchasing local food and beverage including the need to travel too far to do so, extra effort required, being too time consuming, and inconvenient. Just over one third of the local SEQ respondents agreed that they cannot trust that the product is actually local or that all of the ingredients are local. Visitors to SEQ In keeping with local SEQ residents, the key barriers to purchase of SEQ food and beverage by past visitors to SEQ are primarily associated with inadequate marketing and distribution, followed by being expensive and perceived inconvenience. For the very few future visitors who indicated they were not willing to purchase SEQ food and beverage during their visit, the main barriers concerned issues related to perceived inconvenience, lack of information on where to find local food and beverage, lack of availability, and expense. What would encourage increased consumption of SEQ local food and beverage? Increased consumption of SEQ local food and beverage will rely upon greater perceived affordability and greater availability and variety of local food and beverage in SEQ outlets, and in particular, in supermarkets. Clear labelling of local food and beverage, and being promoted, advertised and branded so that consumers know where to find local products would encourage Page 4

9 both locals and visitors to purchase more SEQ local food and beverage. Future visitors clearly identified that if fresh product is available that will encourage them to purchase more SEQ local food and beverage during their visit to SEQ. Other reasons that would encourage future visitors to purchase local SEQ food and beverage include taste, quality, supporting local producers, retailers and the local community, and the availability of pure and natural products. Purchase of SEQ local food and beverage product categories The most frequently purchased product categories for local food and beverage by local SEQ residents are fruit, vegetables, and bread/baked goods/cereals. Local dairy products, eggs and meat and/or meat products are also purchased relatively frequently. Despite an abundance of local fish and seafood, it is not purchased very frequently and neither is local poultry. Overwhelmingly, the major reason why local SEQ residents do not purchase a particular food or beverage is due to the product not being available where they shop. Being expensive was another major reason for non purchase of local food and beverage, in particular for seafood, eggs and oils. Despite the good intentions of the future visitors to SEQ to purchase SEQ local food and beverage during their visit, a lesser proportion of the past visitors actually purchased each of the product categories measured. Much of the discrepancy between purchase intention and actual consumption may be explained by the fact that about one third of visitors did not know if the food and beverage they purchased in SEQ was local or not, reinforcing the need for clear labelling and branding of local SEQ food and beverage. Outlets used for purchasing SEQ local food and beverage Local SEQ Residents The main outlets used by local SEQ residents to purchase local food and beverage are large supermarkets, followed by local specialty stores, farmer s or weekend markets, and small supermarkets. When eating out, local SEQ residents purchase local food from restaurants, cafes, take away shops/fast food outlets, hotels/bistros, and clubs. For local SEQ residents, there is demand for greater availability of local food and beverage in large supermarkets, local specialty stores, farmer s markets, local cooperatives, roadside stalls, farm gates, and small supermarkets. There is also demand by local SEQ residents for greater availability of local food and beverage at eating out outlets including restaurants and cafes. Over one third of local SEQ respondents indicated a desire to be able to purchase local food and beverage online. Visitors to SEQ The main outlets used by past SEQ visitors to purchase local food and beverage when eating out were restaurants and cafes. Just under half of the past visitors to SEQ patronised hotels/bistros, and take away shops/fast food outlets. The most frequently used food retail outlets for purchasing local food and beverage by past SEQ visitors were local specialty stores, followed by large supermarkets, small supermarkets, and local cooperatives. Farmer s or weekend markets were also popular with about half of the past visitors to SEQ, as were, to a slightly lesser extent, roadside stalls and farm gates/farm shops. The most preferred outlets for purchasing local food and beverage by future visitors are local specialty stores, followed by restaurants, cafes, farmer s markets or weekend markets, local cooperatives, hotels/bistros, large supermarkets, small supermarkets, farm gates or farm shops, roadside stalls, and take away shop/fast food outlets. Page 5

10 Purchase occasions for SEQ local food and beverage Local SEQ Residents Local SEQ residents are most likely to purchase local food and beverage as part of their regular grocery shop, followed by a special occasion, when attending local food festivals and food events, a treat, when eating out, when visiting relatives or friends, when on holiday or leave, a gift, and when attending a local cooking school. Visitors to SEQ The most common purchasing occasion for past and future visitors is when eating out. The high levels of intention by future visitors to purchase SEQ local food and beverage for a treat, when attending food festivals and events, as part of their holiday grocery shop, when visiting friends or relatives, for a special occasion, and for a gift, may not translate in actual purchases with past visitors reporting much lower levels of actual purchase for those occasions. Consumer psychographics Concern for the environment The majority of respondents in the study are concerned about the environment. More than threequarters of respondents agreed that despite our special abilities, humans are still subject to the laws of nature. More than two thirds of the respondents agreed that the balance of nature is very delicate and easily upset and humans are severely abusing the environment. Conversely, only about one quarter of respondents agreed that the balance of nature is strong enough to cope with the impacts of modern industrial nations and that humans have the right to modify the natural environment to suit their needs. About one third of respondents agreed that the so called ecological crisis facing human kind has been greatly exaggerated. However, in line with other studies of food consumption, concern for the environment was not found to moderate the actual purchase and consumption of local food and beverage by the respondents in this study. Ethical identity About two thirds of the respondents agreed that they think of themself as someone who is concerned about ethical issues, that ethics are important to them when making buying decisions, and that they think of themselves as an ethical consumer. People who reported consuming or intending to consumer SEQ local food and beverage more frequently were found to have higher levels of ethical identity. Location identity Local SEQ residents and younger people in particular identify with and are attached to Australia, and to a lesser extent identify with, are attached and committed to the SEQ region and their local area. Local SEQ residents who purchase local food and beverage more frequently agreed more strongly that they identify with and are attached to their local area or the SEQ region. Concern for food safety About three quarters of the respondents agreed that they are concerned about the safety of food nowadays, as well as the amount of artificial additives and preservatives in food, and that nowadays most foods contain residues from chemical sprays and fertilizers. Respondents who purchase SEQ local food and beverage more frequently are more likely to be concerned about food safety. Page 6

11 Health consciousness The majority of respondents agreed that they take responsibility for the state of their health and the health of others for whom they shop in the household, that they are conscious about their health and the health of others for whom they shop in the household, and, to a slightly lesser extent, that they are very involved with their health and the health of others for whom they shop in their household. Local SEQ residents, past visitors and future visitors who purchased or intend to purchase SEQ local food and beverage more frequently were found to be more health conscious. Food involvement and food related lifestyles Respondents who purchase local food and beverage on a more regular basis more strongly agreed that they compare product information labels to decide which brand to try, like buying food products in speciality food stores where they can get expert advice, prefer to buy natural products, are interested in where their food comes from, like to try new food they have never tasted before, like to try out new recipes, look for authentic Australian food and beverages, always buy organically grown food products if they have the opportunity, buy sustainably produced food products if they have the choice, don t mind paying a premium for ecological products, don t buy food products unless they look completely fresh, and prefer to purchase unpacked meat and vegetables rather than pre packed. What and who influences consumption of SEQ local food and beverage? Experiential and personal influences have greater influence over purchase of local food or beverage than commercial sources. With respect to experiential influences, sampling local food and beverage would have the greatest influence on consumption, followed by demonstration on how to use the local food and beverage at the store/market/festival. Personal influences were the second most influential factor including word of mouth communication with a friend, family member or colleague, having a particular recipe they wished to cook, and if they picked up a recipe card using local food and beverage at the store, market or festival. Commercial sources were slightly less influential including a special price promotion at the store, a recommendation by a local food and beverage producer (e.g. farmer, winemaker, and baker), recommendation from a staff member at a local restaurant, recommendation from staff at a speciality store, and recommendation from staff at the supermarket. In terms of media influences, television would appear to be the most effective media. The next most effective media vehicle was seeing a recipe in a magazine, followed by seeing a recipe in the local newspaper, and then finding a recipe on the Internet. What labelling elements for SEQ local food and beverage do consumers consider to be important? Use by date and country of origin are considered to be the most important labelling elements for SEQ local food and beverage. Respondents also considered farmed/caught by date to be important information. Traceability information including local area of origin, region of origin and brand marks that identify the producer was considered to be important by most respondents. Reflecting the consumer s interest in healthy products, a very important labelling element was nutritional information. Information on price per serving was also considered to be important by more than three quarters of the respondents. Educational information on how to store and how to prepare the product was considered to be important. Information related to the method of production and the use of genetically modified ingredients were the next most important Page 7

12 elements. While nutritional information was considered to be very important, the healthy heart tick was rated as of lesser importance, perhaps reflecting some level of mistrust in the accreditation process for that logo. Serving suggestions were of moderate importance. Information on sustainable and ethical practice including sustainability accreditation, humane production, an environmentally friendly logo or organic certification were of lesser importance, as were awards for excellence. Culinary Tourism in SEQ The study found relatively low attendances at local food and beverage events by local SEQ residents in the past 12 months. Of those who did attend a local food and beverage event, satisfaction was reasonably high. Less than one quarter of local SEQ residents reported they are likely to attend a local food and beverage event in the next 12 months. The findings reveal that there is a difference between intentions of future visitors and actual eating out behaviours of past visitors to SEQ. Under half of the past visitors to SEQ reported that they ate out at least daily during their visit, while over half of future visitors reported that they intend to eat out at least daily. The most popular venue for eating out by visitors is the cafe or casual restaurant, with the majority of past visitors reporting that they had eaten at this type of outlet, and the vast majority of future visitors indicating that they intend to eat out at cafes or casual restaurants during their visit to SEQ. The next most popular eating out venue for visitors is the hotel or bistro, followed by the take away shop or fast food store. While just less than half of future visitors indicated that they intend to eat at a fine dining restaurant, only about one third of past visitors reported having done so during their visit to SEQ. The most popular food and beverage outlet for local SEQ residents is the farmer s market, followed by the farm shop or road side stall. Over two thirds of local SEQ residents indicated that they are likely to visit a farmer s market in the next 12 months, while about half intend to visit a farm shop or road side stall. Future visitors to SEQ indicated that they are more likely than local SEQ residents to visit SEQ food and beverage outlets. The findings reveal that farmer s markets are most likely to be visited by future visitors to SEQ, followed by farm shops or road side stalls, and then outlets selling direct from the manufacturer, cheese factories, pick your own farms, cellar doors and breweries. Levels of satisfaction with the customer service provided by local food and beverage outlets in the SEQ are only satisfactory with just less than two thirds of local SEQ residents and almost threequarters of past visitors being at least somewhat satisfied with the customer service they received. What information sources could be used to promote local SEQ food and beverage and events? Past visitors to SEQ reported that their primary source of information on SEQ local food and beverage and events was through word of mouth, followed by visitor information centres, the Queensland tourism website, newspaper advertisements or editorials, and regional tourism websites. Word of mouth or information provided by family friends was considered by the majority of respondents to be the most useful source of information on local food and beverage and food and beverage events, followed by visitor information centres, television and newspaper, and information provided on regional tourism websites. Just under half of the respondents considered the Queensland tourism website to be a useful source of information, followed by food related magazines, and local company websites. Page 8

13 Key Recommendations Based on the findings a number of recommendations are made to assist local producers and processor to grow the market for SEQ local food and beverage. Embrace the opportunity There is ample opportunity to increase consumption of SEQ local food and beverage both for athome consumption and when eating out. However, greater price sensitivity due to the current economic climate and people eating out less frequently may mean that the best opportunity for short term growth in consumption of local food and beverage will be associated with at home consumption rather than out of home consumption. Focus on the most attractive target markets People aged 55 years and older and people with higher levels of education (tertiary level or technically trained) appear to be the most attractive target markets as reflected by past consumption and future purchasing intentions. While all demographic groups hold favourable attitudes toward local SEQ food and beverage, potentially the most attractive target market among both local SEQ residents and future visitors to SEQ is older females. More regular purchasers of local food and beverage are more likely consider themselves to ethical consumers, are more likely to identify with, be attached to and committed to their local area, are more health conscious, are more concerned about food safety, and have higher levels of food involvement ( foodies ) with food comprising a relatively important part of their lifestyle. Improve marketing of local SEQ food and beverage A lack of clear marketing and branding of local food and beverage in South East Queensland is evident. Developing stronger marketing and branding strategies for SEQ local food and beverage is a key priority for increasing awareness and consumption of SEQ local food and beverage. Building awareness and demand for SEQ local food and beverage will require a concerted marketing and communications effort. Strategies for doing so include: Create strong, favourable and unique secondary associations between SEQ local food and beverage and more mainstream SEQ associations such as the beach and the sun. Imagery portraying local residents and visitors enjoying local food and beverage while enjoying the sun and sea will serve to build stronger associations between SEQ and local food and beverage. Develop clear branding and labelling indicating that the product is local. Ensure branding is easily recognisable and labels can be read by older consumers at the point of sale. Clearly identify the origin of SEQ local food and beverage on menus at eating out places in South East Queensland. Provide information on where, when and how local residents and visitors can find local SEQ food and beverage. Provide provenance information ( stories ) on where and how the product has been grown or produced. Page 9

14 Provide opportunities for consumers to interact and connect with local producers. This may be achieved through farmer s markets, farm shops and road side stalls, food and beverage festivals or tours, and local cooking schools. Take the product to the consumer. Provide opportunities for sampling, as well as demonstration on how to use the product in retail outlets, and at food and beverage events Explore the possibility of establishing dedicated retail outlets for SEQ local food and beverage (i.e. Icons of South Australia) in areas that will reach the target market such as major shopping malls, the Eumundi market, close to major local farmer s markets, popular tourist destinations (e.g. the Big Pineapple), visitor information centres, and airports. Explore the possibility of developing a mobile unit for showcasing SEQ local food and beverage at major food and beverage events (e.g. Noosa Food and Wine Festival, The Maleny Real Food Festival) and/or rotating among popular retail centres. Different product categories could be showcased on a rotating basis to generate and maintain interest. Use effective promotional strategies to clearly communicate valued benefits and features of local SEQ food and beverage and build strong, favourable and unique associations as indicated by key drivers to develop a strong and clear position within the market. Key drivers are local support, freshness, good taste, in season, quality and good appearance, connection with local producers, knowing where local food and beverage comes from, nutrition, healthy, wholesome and natural, as well as trust, reputation, being the best available and good value for money. Develop a tiered branding strategy Above all, local SEQ residents identify with, and are attached and committed to Australia. Residents level of identification, attachment and commitment to their local area is no stronger than for the wider SEQ region, with the exception of Sunshine Coast residents who reported a higher level of identity with their local area. Therefore, if local food and beverage is clearly marketed, branded and labelled as being of Australian origin, the food will gain acceptance and market share across a broad market. Hence, a cost effective strategy for stimulating consumption of SEQ local food and beverage may be to invest in the highly recognised and trusted Australian Grown logo. However, local residents who purchase SEQ local food and beverage on a more frequent basis identify with and are more attached to their local area or region. Attachment to a local area is particularly the case for residents of the Sunshine Coast, although less so for residents of the Gold Coast and Bayside/Redland regions who indicate equal attachment to the SEQ region. Hence, given the high cost of localised branding strategies, it may be more cost effective to investigate the efficacy of a regional SEQ branding strategy rather than local area branding strategies (with the exception of the Sunshine Coast which would also benefit from local branding). A regional branding strategy would allow differentiation and build brand equity for local food and beverage from the SEQ region. Provide valued labelling information Provide clear labelling in line with customer demand. The findings reveal that the most important labelling elements on packaging for local food and beverage are, in order of relative importance: use by date Page 10

15 country of origin local area of origin (local residents) farmed/caught by date region of origin brand marks that identify the producer nutritional information price per serving how to store how to prepare method of production genetically modified ingredients. Use effective media channels The perceived usefulness of media channels for providing information on local food and beverage differs across target markets. However, media strategies that would be most effective include channels which are more credible and trusted including: word of mouth stimulate positive word of mouth communication (e.g. referrals, recommendations and generally create conversation around local food and beverage generate the buzz ) information at visitor information centres and/or dedicated food information centres which showcase and promote local food and beverage and events information on regional SEQ and Queensland tourism websites ensure information on local food and beverage outlets, tours, festivals and cooking schools is highlighted on these websites. In terms of media vehicles, television is considered to be the most useful and effective, followed by newspaper advertisements. Make the product more affordable Encouraging greater consumption of SEQ local food and beverage will rely upon consumers perceiving it to be affordable. Making products affordable does not necessarily mean cheaper products or price reductions but rather delivering greater perceived value for money. Strategies for making products more acceptable to price sensitive consumers include smaller portion sizes and price per portion labelling. Reducing production and distribution costs will make local food and beverage more affordable. This will require a careful analysis of production and distribution costs and reduction of costs without sacrificing quality, freshness or appearance. One way to reduce costs in line with customer demand would be to reduce unnecessary packaging. Reducing unnecessary packaging, while still delivering important product information, will assist in gaining consumer acceptance, driving down distribution costs, and making local food and beverage more affordable. Page 11

16 Strategic product development Leverage key drivers to consumption of SEQ local food and beverage through strategic product development by focussing on what consumers value and reflecting the needs, preferences and characteristics of regular purchasers of local food and beverage. Based on key drivers, product strategies that will increase consumption of SEQ local food and beverage include producing and delivering: high quality, fresh, great tasting, seasonal products that both look good and are good value for money products with a strong reputation for quality that consumers can trust healthy, nutritious, wholesome and natural products safe, pure and organic products that are free from artificial additives, preservatives and residues from chemical sprays and fertilizers authentic and original products as well as products that are traditional to the region interesting and novel products as well as products that are nostalgic or remind consumers of the past products that enhance hedonic and experiential consumption benefits including delivering satisfying and fun shopping experiences, and allowing consumers to enjoy a treat. However, it is not enough to simply develop such product offerings, it is essential that these benefits and attributes and the value proposition be clearly communicated and delivered to local SEQ residents and SEQ visitors to create awareness, generate a competitive advantage, and build brand equity. Make local SEQ food and beverage more available in retail outlets Increasing opportunities for local SEQ residents and visitors to purchase local product through more strategic and intensive distribution will positively influence consumption. Strategies include making local food and beverage more readily available for both local residents and visitors, as well as making it easier and more convenient for both local residents and SEQ visitors to access local food and beverage. To meet latent demand, availability of SEQ local food and beverage should be increased in large supermarkets, local specialty stores, farmer s markets, local cooperatives, roadside stalls, farm gates, small supermarkets, restaurants and cafes. Cater to a range of purchasing occasions Develop and deliver SEQ local food and beverage for a range of purchasing occasions, and in particular, for when eating out, as part of their regular grocery shop, for a treat, and when visiting relatives. Intentions by visitors to purchase SEQ local food and beverage for less typical occasions such as for a gift, when attending cooking schools, for special occasions, or at food festivals or food events are not translating into actual purchase. This indicates latent demand for SEQ local food and beverage for these types of purchase occasions and the need for greater focus by the SEQ local food and beverage industry to develop and promote local food and beverage in ways that provide greater opportunities for visitors to SEQ to purchase across a broader range of purchase occasions. Page 12

17 Monitor consumers attitudes toward sustainability Being more concerned about the environment does not influence purchase frequency of local food and beverage. However, the majority of respondents indicated concern for the environment, and this concern is expected to grow over time. Therefore, while sustainability and environmentally friendly claims may not impact on purchase frequency at this point of time, as people become more concerned with these issues they may have some impact on future consumption, and thus ongoing monitoring of consumers attitudes toward sustainability is important. Focus on ethical production and practices People who purchase local food and beverage more frequently are more likely to identify as someone who is more concerned about ethical issues and ethical consumption. Hence, local food and beverage producers and processors should use ethical practices in the production, distribution and marketing of local food and beverage, and include information on their ethical approach in promotional messages and on labelling. Improve customer service There is room for improvement in the delivery of customer service across SEQ food and beverage outlets. About one quarter of past visitors, and in particular those under 35 years of age, as well as, more than one third of local SEQ residents are less than satisfied with the customer service they have received at SEQ local food and beverage outlets. Explore opportunities for growing culinary tourism The findings reveal relatively low levels of attendances at food and beverage festivals, food and beverage tours, and local cooking schools. Moreover there is a relatively low level of interest in local food and beverage events among local SEQ residents. However, for visitors to SEQ there is a reasonable level of interest in local food and beverage festivals, and food and beverage tours, with a lesser level of interest in attending cooking schools. In line with consumer demand, there is a need to provide greater availability of SEQ local food and beverage on menus at local cafes and casual restaurants, followed by take away shop/fast food shops, hotels and bistros, and to a lesser extent, fine dining restaurants and clubs. Moreover, greater availability and a wider range of SEQ local food and beverage at popular food and beverage outlets and in particular farmer s markets, farm shops and road side stalls will encourage consumption. Page 13

18 1.0 Introduction This report presents the findings of an online survey of 853 Australian consumers including 307 local consumers from the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Bayside Brisbane/Redland regions, and 546 visitors to South East Queensland (SEQ) in the past/next 12 months. The survey was conducted in May 2012 on behalf of the Queensland Government Regional Services. The main aims of the survey were to: investigate consumers perceptions of their current consumption of SEQ local food and beverage explore consumers attitudes toward SEQ local food and beverage uncover key drivers and barriers to the consumption of SEQ local food and beverage identify key market segments for SEQ local food and beverage. 2.0 Background to the Study The Queensland Government s Food for a Growing Economy Policy has identified strategic actions around four key themes: Reputation and the Consumer Innovation, Productivity and Skills Resources, Sustainability and the Environment Health, Safety and Food Information. Budget allocated to the implementation of this policy in the 2011/2012 financial year was used to fund the SEQ Short Supply Chain Initiative. This initiative was a coordinated set of regional and sub regional projects with the following aims: to increase the economic value of the contribution from local food producers, processors and retailers to the region to analyse and develop strategies to support the increase of local distribution networks and increase food based tourism. The initiative was progressed through a continuous improvement and innovation framework involving five phases: (1) situation analysis; (2) value chain engagement; (3) action design; (4) value chain improvement; and (5) implementation. This consumer research focused on the first theme of the Queensland Government s Food for a Growing Economy Policy Reputation and the Consumer and provided input to the situation analysis phase of the continuous improvement and innovation framework. The research was undertaken to provide a rich understanding of consumer needs, preferences and characteristics across local and visitor segments with respect to SEQ local food and beverage, as means of stimulating consumption. Page 14

19 The consumer research for this study focused on local South East Queensland residents (from the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Bayside/Redland regions), as well as, past and future visitors to South East Queensland. An understanding of consumers attitudes toward SEQ local food and beverage has provided a strong platform for growers, producers and processors to strategically develop, market and distribute local food and beverage in ways that closely matches consumer demand and will provide a competitive advantage. Moreover, the study has provided insight into consumers attitudes toward SEQ local food and beverage events and attractive opportunities for culinary tourism in the SEQ region. 3.0 Method An online survey of 853 people was administered in May 2012 via an online consumer panel The Online Research Unit (ORU). Respondents were screened on the following criteria: resident of the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast or Bayside Brisbane/Redland OR a visitor to SEQ in the past or next 12 months (for a period of 2 days or longer) 18 years or older main, joint or occasional food and beverage shopper for their household. To avoid respondent bias, respondents were screened for industry affiliation (Market Research, Advertising, Public Relations, Local Food or Produce Manufacturing) and recent participation in market research related to local food and beverage (within the past 6 months). The questions and statements included in the survey were based on a review of the literature on local and regional beverage, and informed by the findings of previous studies of local food and beverage (e.g. Parker 2010; SERIO, Research & Innovation 2008). A variety of closed and openended questions were used to uncover and measure attitudes. A copy of the online questionnaire is provided in Appendix 1. Once the respondent had identified whether they were a resident of the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Bayside/Redland or whether they were a past or future visitor to SEQ, the name of the area or region was changed in statements as relevant. The findings of the study and recommendations are enhanced and informed by three 1.5 hour focus group discussions with 25 residents from the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Bayside/Redlands regions. A copy of the focus group protocol is provided in Appendix Profile of Respondents In this section, a profile of respondents for the online survey is provided including residential location and food and beverage shopping status. To determine representativeness of the sample, respondents were asked questions about their gender, age, educational level, income, and household set up. Residential Location of Respondents Respondents were screened for either residing on the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast or in Bayside/Redland or for having visited or intending to visit South East Queensland in the past or next 12 months (for a period of two days or longer). Page 15

20 Table 1: Residential Location of Respondents Location Frequency Percentage Sunshine Coast Gold Coast Bayside/Redland Other Queensland Australia (not Queensland) Total The survey included 307 local consumers from the Sunshine Coast (n=105), the Gold Coast (n=104), and Bayside/Redland (n= 98) regions, as well as 546 visitors to South East Queensland including 134 from other areas of Queensland and 412 from interstate (Table 1). Past visitors to SEQ included 90 visitors from other areas of Queensland (24.3%) and 280 visitors from interstate (75.7%). Future visitors included 44 visitors from other areas of Queensland (25.0%) and 132 visitors from interstate (75.0%) (Table 2). Table 2: Residential Location of Visitors Location Past Visitors Future Visitors n % n % Other Queensland Australia TOTAL Food and Beverage Shopping Status of Respondents Respondents were screened for being the main, joint or occasional food and beverage shopper for their household. For visitors to SEQ, the question was framed in terms of their shopping role for food and beverage while on holidays. The screening revealed that the majority of respondents 4.7% (62.3%) of were the main shopper, 33.1% were the joint 33.1% Main Shopper Joint Shopper shopper, and 4.7% were an 62.3% Occasional Shopper occasional shopper of food and beverage for their household (Figure 1). There were no differences with respect to food and beverage shopping status across the five groups of respondents. Figure 1: Food and Beverage Shopping Status of Respondents Page 16

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