This year has been very positive for Aussie Apples and Australian Pears, but new strategic marketing plans are on the horizon that offer exciting new opportunities.
This time of year is a busy one in the Apples and Pears marketing department at HAL. As you saw at the annual levy payers’ meeting, we are now preparing reports on the results of the current season and its activities, but also looking forward to new challenges, opportunities and objectives we set to grow the consumption and value of both Aussie Apples and Australian Pears.
New Aussie Apple strategy
We are currently setting the new five year strategic marketing plan and seeking feedback from the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) and its Marketing Subcommittee, chaired by Scott Montague. This will be finalised towards the end of October and will be communicated to levy payers and industry stakeholders before Christmas to allow for sufficient planning into the 2015 season. The challenges we face moving forward are not new, but certainly have a renewed focus off the foundation of the strengthening consumer-facing Aussie Apples brand. A move to behaving less like a fruit and more like a snack product in our communications and activities is certainly at the forefront of this plan as well as addressing issues around convenience and distribution, and addressing why consumers choose an Aussie Apple and how we can increase their top of mind awareness giving Aussie Apples a greater share of stomach.
Australian Pears plan
The Australian Pears plan sees the final year of the strategic plan, and the ingredients strategy, continuing off a base of its success in recent years. Consumers are craving inspiration and ideas on how to use Australian Pears and we’re delivering them a range of options in a range of ways though a variety of channels, but certainly focussed on the path to purchase and driving a greater volume and value sale. Maggie Beer returns as our friend in the kitchen and we’ll be announcing an exciting new event in partnership with her.
Spring means Royal Show time in Australia and we’ve had some excellent activities managed by the State Associations. Kicking off with Growcom’s fantastic efforts at Ekka, Adelaide, under the stewardship of Susie Green was again a staple as it has been for over 70 years, and growing in popularity with visitors. Melbourne and Perth, while still in their infancy are building a real fan following, with the refreshing, healthy, great value Aussie Apples slinkies. Consumers love it when our growers are involved in these stands, and special acknowledgement to Michael Russo who grabbed hold of the Melbourne stand for Fruit Growers Victoria and made it the success it was – thank you Michael.
Australian Cider Awards
For the first time, Aussie Apples are the principal sponsor of the Australian Cider Awards and Australian Cider Festival, being held in Melbourne in early October. This is an opportunity to further strengthen the relationship with the processing and juicing sector and encourage the use of 100% Aussie Apples in cider and 100% Australian Pears in perry and respond to consumer demand for Australian grown and made cider and perry. Cider is a growing market in Australia, with outstanding growth in recent years, and Aussie Apples looks forward to continuing this relationship with Cider Australia, on both a trade and consumer-facing strategy.
On 14 and 15 August, I attended the Prevar future breeding workshop in Melbourne. I see any opportunity to bring together marketing insights with the work being undertaken in R&D and varietal development as a positive one. While from a marketing perspective, I recognise the importance of increased pest resistance and better storage capabilities of new varieties. However, I aim to champion the voice of the consumer to ensure we are developing varieties for the future that meet the needs of our customers as we know them and as we predict they will behave. I’m looking forward to continuing this relationship of shared knowledge to ensure we are breeding the best possible varieties that give us every chance of maximising profitable and sustainable plantings into the future.