In Marketing by Clyde Mooney

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New research from Roy Morgan cites increasing consumer preference for Australian-made products, and suggests providers would be wise to incorporate this into their message.

The questions of ‘where did it originate’ and ‘who owns the business’ are more relevant than ever in Australian society. The Roy Morgan research found 89.2 per cent of Australian consumers would be more likely to buy products that are locally made, with food products leading the way.

The insight holds great significance for the hospitality and leisure industries, which are on the front line of supplying increasingly discerning consumers with reasons to return.

The modern catchphrase “food miles” is gaining traction in the public’s mind, and encompasses the notions of ‘paddock-to-plate’ and artisan producers of both food and beverage.

Australian beer and wine continues to garner international acclaim, and frequently satisfies the Australian consumers’ preference for “crafted” and ‘approach to market’ as well as place of origin. Boutique suppliers further tap into the mindset, particularly when family-owned and enthusiast brands have the added appeal of dedicated ancestry versus corporate ownership.

“People don’t buy something because it is ‘craft’,” suggests Jaron Mitchell, head of Manly’s 4 Pines beer brand.

4 Pines Tasting Rack_adj_crpdq_LR“Craft is merely a proxy term for a whole bunch of more emotive purchasing reasons.”

Despite the consistent decline in volume seen in beer consumption in recent years, 4 Pines ranks amongst the select group of beer brands that has grown steadily, since its inception in 2008.

Mitchell says the trend of consumers asking about origin and production methodology – ‘crafted’ versus manufactured – fits perfectly with their outlook, and has no doubt contributed to their success.

“At 4 Pines, our philosophy on brewing beer has always centred around these questions being asked more and more by consumers.

“We are sure that who we are and how we go about things is a big contributor for us.”

The trend actually represents a return to tradition for the beer industry; prior to the days of pasteurisation and refrigeration, it was largely considered unsafe to drink beer from a brewery not within walking distance.

But while this is no longer an issue, Australian consumers are reviving the notion as part of a widespread response to the perils of globalisation, and increased awareness of foreign ownership of some of our largest producers – including the two big brewers.

“The love affair between Australians and Aussie-made products shows no sign of fading,” said Michele Levine, chief executive of Roy Morgan Research, in the report.

The beer industry is set to benefit more than most from this insight, as it strives to overcome the middle-of-the-road benchmark of mainstream products.

“Thinking about freshness and beer as food are concepts that have been really missed in this increasingly commoditised and brand-led space over the last 50+ years,” furthered Mitchell.

“We are really trying to bring this thinking back.”