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Webinar

The consumer market environment for horticulture growers during COVID-19

Publication date: 11 May 2020

What are the implications and opportunities of changing consumer behaviours and attitudes for Australian horticulture growers as we evolve through COVID-19?

Past event (Thursday 28 May, 2020)

Watch the webinar recording

Q&A

Questions were submitted prior to the webinar and during the webinar. For questions and responses, see below.

Question 1

Recently there has been information identifying an increase in the consumer moving towards shopping at local independent grocers. How is Nielsen responding to this move and attaining data from these retailers who are small and not necessarily part of the current pool of incoming data? This is becoming more important as growers need to understand more about this with the shutting down of food service channels demand.

Response: Through the Nielsen Homescan Panel, all fresh produce that is consumed in the home will have a recorded retail place of purchase. This included greengrocers and independent supermarkets and is captured in the ‘share of trade splits’. See www.harvesttohome.net.au for more information.

Question 2

Can you see from the data if the 'shop local at four or five places' is continuing into April/May now that are back to normal?

Response: Data released for April has shown that major supermarket share of trade continues to be lower. See the Covid-19 Fresh Produce Update April by Nielsen for more information.

Question 3

Do you see an opportunity for different categories to work together with a combined marketing approach such papaya and mango as 'tropical twins'?

Response: Hort Innovation has developed an initiative called The Good Mood Food to support the horticulture sector through the effects of recent times, which are being felt in consumer spending and purchasing behaviour. The bold new marketing campaign is driving demand for consumptiion of fruit, vegetables and nuts more often, with the message that when you eat better, you feel better.

The initial activity is expected to run from May until the end of September this year. However there is also potential for The Good Mood Food to be extended to continue to educate and inspire Australians of all ages about how fruit, vegetables and nuts can be used to promote health and wellbeing. Here, the campaign would be able to focus on seasonality or new ‘moments’ where consumers are looking for increased health and wellbeing or eating options. There is also the opportunity for individual industry marketing programs, which are funded through industry marketing levies, to tap into the overarching themes and messages of The Good Mood Food.

Read more on the Good Mood Food initiative here.

Question 4

Is the new consumer behaviour towards purchasing ‘more for a longer time’ swaying behaviour trends to bulk purchases rather than loose options?

Response: ‘Hard vegetables’ including, onion, and pumpkin have driven the majority of the volume increase. The average weight of purchase for vegetables has increased from 1.6kg per occasion to 1.8kg per occasion from January to April. There is no discernible trend evident for fruit. See the Covid-19 Fresh Produce Update April by Nielsen for more information.

Question 5

How do you think growers could work with health promotion campaigners who have the same objective of people eating more fruit and vegetables and nuts?

Response: Hort Innovation’s The Good Mood Food initiative is delivering an immediate and enduring behaviour-change message to motivate more Australians to eat more fruit, vegetables and nuts, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a direct-to-consumer marketing initiative playing out across the country using a range of channels, including TV, newspapers, radio, online, social media and retail partnerships.

The Good Mood Food’s central message is that fresh Aussie fruit, vegetables and nuts are natural mood boosters. The campaign is encouraging people to “eat on the bright side” – eating a wide variety of fresh and vibrant horticultural produce to look after themselves mentally, as well as physically.

Read more on the Good Mood Food initiative here.

Question 6

Is there any research currently being undertaken on price elasticity of demand (own price, cross-price) within fruit and vegetable commodities? I believe in order to make any decent forecasting in consumer demand, we need to model it considering those economic factors (prices), too.

Response: Price elasticity of demand research is currently being considered by some industries, and isolated examples can be found in overseas settings.

Question 7

Has there been an increase in the preferred size of pre-packaged foods?

Response: A wide range of pre-packed foods to address the needs of the different household sizes continues to remain relevant.

Question 8

If some consumers are under financial pressure do you think smaller sizes might be useful?

Response: As above, a wide range of pre-packed foods to address the needs of the different household sizes continues to remain relevant.

Question 9

I am somewhat concerned the amount of imported product that we are competing against during this difficult time. What has happened to the ‘Australian Made’ campaign?

Response: Hort Innovation’s The Good Mood Food initiative is delivering an immediate and enduring behaviour-change message driving demand with Australians to eat more fruit, vegetables and nuts, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a direct-to-consumer marketing initiative playing out across the country using a range of channels, including TV, newspapers, radio, online, social media and retail partnerships.

The Good Mood Food’s central message is that fresh Aussie fruit, vegetables and nuts are natural mood boosters. The campaign is encouraging people to “eat on the bright side” – eating a wide variety of fresh and vibrant horticultural produce to look after themselves mentally, as well as physically.

Read more on the Good Mood Food initiative here.

What was the webinar about?

This live webinar made sense of the current consumer market environment for horticulture growers. Using the latest behavioural and attitudinal data collected and funded by Hort Innovation, the session explored how consumers are responding and adapting to the ‘new normal’ created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The session identified and highlighted the implications of the consumer market environment changes for growers, while exploring both the short and long-term opportunities that the situation presents.

Insights

  • Key consumer behavioral changes regarding the purchase of fresh produce at retail
  • Consumer sentiment and attitudes around their priorities for fresh produce and other lifestyle drivers
  • Understanding the difference between short-term impacts and the path to resuming to a ‘new normal’
  • Strategies and opportunities for you to act on at the business level to meet the needs of consumers and market conditions now and into the future.

Agenda

  • Welcome and introductions to the guest presenters
  • Harvest to Home information and Q&A with Mel Norris on key insights and learnings
  • Understanding changing consumer trends and Q&A with Cori Hodge
  • Synthesising the insights and learnings into opportunities for growers to act on
  • Open Q&A
  • Summary and closing – where to find more information and ‘what’s next’

The host and guest presenters

Adam Briggs, Head of Data & Insights, Hort Innovation

Adam drives Hort Innovation’s Data & Insights function. He leads the management of the industry analysis R&D portfolio and the undertaking of investment analysis, and supports the delivery of the Monitoring & Evaluation Framework.

Mel Norris, Associate Director, Nielsen

For more than a decade, Melanie Norris has used Nielsen consumer research to guide the FMCG and fresh industry on the latest consumer trends, and has uncovered real growth opportunities for countless clients. An expert in fusing multiple data sources to provide a holistic view, Mel has delivered her unique perspective to clients across the total fresh space including produce, meat, seafood and bakery. Mel is also passionate about seeing health and wellness trends translate into consumers increasing their fresh food consumption in Australia.

Cori Hodge, Director, Fiftyfive5

Cori is a Director at one of Australia’s leading brand and research consultancies, Fiftyfive5. His role is to help brands and organisations unlock growth through customer-led strategy. Cori has worked on a range of categories with Hort Innovation, including mushrooms, summerfruit, blackberries, raspberries, pears, and onions. Leveraging customer insight, he is a brand and positioning strategy expert and has a strong understanding of consumer trends and challenges.

Act now: View projects and resources related to this event

  • The Harvest to Home platform is a collaboration between Hort Innovation and Nielsen, and is funded by a range of industry levies. COVID-19 updates relating to fresh produce can be found at the top of the Harvest to Home main page here.
  • Read the Harvest to Home Covid-19 Fresh Produce Update April for analysis relating to fresh produce for the four weeks to 19 April, 2020.
  • Read about Hort Innovation’s The Good Mood Food initiative that is delivering an immediate and enduring behaviour-change message to motivate more Australians to eat more fruit, vegetables and nuts, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a direct-to-consumer marketing initiative playing out across the country using a range of channels, including TV, newspapers, radio, online, social media and retail partnerships.

About the Hort Innovation Insights webinar series for growers

The Hort Innovation Insights webinar series connects you with the people closest to the research and investments you want to know more about. Each short online session features subject matter experts, project delivery partners and Hort Innovation staff discussing key topics, opportunities and challenges for horticulture growers.

Grab a cuppa and attend a live session to ask questions and discover essential insights and tools to implement in your business today. Webinar recordings are also be available after each event if you can’t join us live.

See more here