Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the onion marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption of onions on behalf of all levy-paying growers, under the Hort Innovation Onion Fund. Read on for a snapshot of activities and results from 2020/21, the last year of a three-year marketing strategy.
The Australian Onions marketing program continued to encourage Australian families to consume onions for their great taste, ease of use, and health benefits. In 2020/21, the marketing levy was invested to encourage demand through a range of channels and projects, including public relations, social media, website management, participation in The Good Mood Food campaign and retailer initiatives.
The campaign aimed to increase the frequency of purchase of Australian onions in families with parents aged between 25 and 54 years of age, with children under 17 in the household. The strategic pillars to achieve this were:
- Inspire: Inspiring content which encourages families to use onions more frequently and/or in greater amounts.
- Remind: Reminders to keep Australian Onions top of mind, by reaching the target audience frequently through social media, earned media and influencers.
- Educate: Ensure the target audience know the true benefits of Australian onions (including health benefits) and best ways to prepare and store them at home.
Seventeen onion recipes and video recipes were developed under themes which bring to life the unique selling points of onions. This included recipes that are on-trend (i.e. plant-based), healthy, are family favourites, quick (under 15 minutes), use pantry staples and are budget-friendly.
The recipes were featured across the campaign and resonated with families, with consumers visiting the Australian Onions website (australianonions.com.au) for recipe favourites such as onion shakshuka and onion, pumpkin and cannellini pie.
Australian onion recipe inspiration was shared through Instagram (www.instagram.com/aussieonions) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/australianonions) channels, supported by paid advertising. Social media users were further engaged through a competition to win a Ninja Food Multi Cooker by creating dishes with Australian onions, to reward fans and drive love of Australian onions.
By posting twice a week and boosting the social media posts on both Instagram and Facebook, the channels achieved an average engagement rate of 16 per cent and 7 per cent, and 1.4 million and 553K impressions, respectively. With a focus on community management (responding to comments and questions on the platform) the Australian Onions messaging effectively reached consumers through Instagram (most reached was the 25-44 years age group) and Facebook (most reached was the 34-54 age group).
The social media competition received 115 entries across the two social platforms, resulting in more user-generated content and online discussion about onions. This activity also provided insights into the types of most-loved onion dishes (e.g., onion tarts, onions on burgers, crispy onion rings, sausage sizzle with onion, onion soup).
Australian Onions collaborated with popular, relatable, and trusted cooks to increase media appeal, as well as appeal to families. The influencers delivered both Australian Onions messaging and exciting new takes on onion recipes.
The influencers secured were Simon Toohey (MasterChef grand finalist and vegetable advocate, (@simon.toohey), Helen Tzouganatos (Gluten free cookbook author and television presenter, @helentzouganatos), and Cherie Tu (Plant-based recipe developer, @thrivingonplants). With a combined following of 500,000 followers, the influencer activity resulted in 1.6 million opportunities to see.
The influencers promoted their onion recipes through their social media channels, directing them to the Australian Onions website. Two of the influencer recipes, roast onion dal with tempered onion and cumin, and double vegan “beef” burger with spicy onion rings, were particularly successful, being two of the top traffic drivers to the website.
To amplify Australian Onions messaging, media pitching began by reaching out to top-tier media and key food influencers with Australian Onion hampers. These hampers aimed to surprise and delight media influencers and included premade Australian Onions relish, fresh bread, all the ingredients to make their own relish, and a media kit with Australian Onions new recipes.
The media hamper outreach delivered a total opportunities to see of 5,609,946, from the resulting social media activity and media articles. For example, off the back of the hamper send out, an article posted in the Daily Mail Australia.
Media Relations Results
Leveraging the new recipe content (owned and influencer-led) and media hampers, delivered high-impact, earned media coverage. The two bursts of media outreach resulted in 37 pieces of coverage across traditional and social media, resulting in a total of 11.5 million opportunities to see Australian onions key messages.
The key messages that were picked up and amplified by media were taste, followed by versatility, and lastly health. The media KPI of reaching at least 70 per cent coverage in top-tier media was achieved, with 82 per cent of coverage reached in top-tier media such as Daily Mail Australia, Westfield Online and Kidspot Australia.
The Good Mood Food (TGMF) participation
The Good Mood Food was a new cross-horticulture behaviour change campaign promoting the mood boosting benefits of Aussie fruit, vegetables, and nuts. This was achieved by repositioning the category as not only being beneficial for physical well-being, but also for mental well-being – a message which resonated with the country at a time when they needed it most.
The Good Mood Food provided an enduring platform for the sector to utilise immediately and well into the future. As a direct-to-consumer marketing initiative, it was supported nationally by a range of channels, including TV, OOH, print, radio, digital and social media.
Australian Onions invested levy-funding in the Good Mood Food campaign in 2020/21, to leverage the efficiencies of the campaign to reach more Australians. Australian Onions were featured in their own animated videos (15 and 6 second videos), advertised through YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and catch-up TV channels. The catch-up TV channels included 7Plus and 10Play.
Achievements of the Good Mood Food campaign include:
- The overall campaign reached 20.3M Australians (96 per cent of the population) at least 13 times
- The campaign drove more than 79,000 users to The Good Mood Food website
- The campaign delivered $18.6M media value (632 per cent ROI)
- Two in three consumers claim they want to buy more Australian fruit, vegetables and/or nuts after seeing the Good Mood Food campaign (vs industry norm of 52 per cent. Source: FiftyFive5 consumer and brand tracking research, 2020).
Australian onions also now have dedicated webpages on The Good Mood Food website, providing nutritional substantiation of why brown, red and white onions are Good Mood Foods. See more at www.thegoodmoodfood.com.au/food/brown/onion.
Australian Onions featured a full-page advertisement in the May edition of Coles Magazine. The printed and online magazine was an effective way to reach consumers across Australia, with the magazine reaching 4.4 million readers each month. The advertisement featured an onion breakfast recipe, to communicate the versatility of onions across meal occasions, coupled with the health benefits. The magazine advertisement can be viewed on the online Coles Magazine for May 2021, page 65.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Onion Fund