Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the onion marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Onion Fund. Here’s a quick look at some of the activities and achievements of 2019/20, for both the domestic and export marketing campaigns.
The Australian Onions marketing program continues to encourage Australian families to discover the many layers of onions, including their ease of use, health benefits and great flavour – in turn encouraging increased purchase and consumption. In the second year of a three-year marketing strategy, the 2019/20 campaign encouraged demand for onions through a range of channels and projects, including recipe development, website updates, social media, public relations and in-store sampling.
To inspire home cooking with onions, 12 delicious new recipes were created showcasing brown, red and white onions. These recipes were suitable for the whole family to enjoy, easy to make, and most importantly, featured onion as the hero ingredient. The recipes illustrated the versatility of onions, showing they are even more than a reliable base ingredient.
The recipes were showcased through many channels to encourage Australians to enjoy onions more frequently, including through a promotional recipe booklet, provided to the participants of the Australian Onions 2019 Health and Nutrition Report launch event.
The Australian Onions website was refreshed to celebrate the versatility, flavour, and health benefits of onions (www.australianonions.com.au). Consumers can easily navigate the new website to find all onion recipes, onion preparation tips, and health messaging, including the latest health report. This improved user experience was reflected in the 77 per cent increase in people visiting the site, 45 per cent increase in pages viewed, and 76 per cent increase in average time spent on the website, compared to the year before the refresh.
The website update marked the final move away from the previous Secret Serve campaign and towards a contemporary look at onions, as was presented at the Onions Australia AGM conference in October 2019. Instead of being hidden, onions are highlighted for the nutritional powerhouse and flavour boosters that they are. This is now reflected in the website, consumer communications, and through promotion of the 2019 Health and Nutrition Report.
As per previous years, Australian Onions had ‘always-on’ social media activity across Instagram (@aussieonions) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/australianonions) channels. Social media consistently reminded and inspired Australians to buy more onions, more often, through three content pillars: showcasing onion-specific crowd pleasers for the family; education on the health benefits of onions; and providing convenient recipes and tips.
In addition to the ‘always on’ posting of onion content, Australian Onions achieved great engagement with a social media competition and through a partnership with Jacqueline Alwill, Australian health influencer, nutritionist, and mum.
Jacqueline, also known as Brown Paper Nutrition, created five fantastic recipes showcasing brown, red and white onions as a key ingredient. In addition to this newsworthy content, Jacqueline promoted her recipes and the health benefits of onions to her 84,000 followers.
Overall, the Australian Onions social media activity performance was strong, with results surpassing targets. Facebook performed exceptionally well with a reach of over 2.6 million people and an engagement rate of 12 per cent. Instagram also delivered strong results with a reach of over 770,000 and a high engagement rate of 19 per cent.
Public relations (PR)
Australian Onions provided newsworthy information through new recipe creation, the partnership with influencer Jacqueline Alwill, and a launch event for the 2019 Health and Nutrition Report.
In November 2019, Australian Onions hosted the event at Arthur Restaurant in Surry Hills, New South Wales. It aimed to inspire media and health influencers with the latest onion nutrition science, onion recipe ideas, and storage and preparation tips. During the lunch, guests were treated to an entrée, main, side and dessert featuring onions, celebrating the versatility and taste of onions. During the event, the key findings of the Australian Onions Health and Nutrition Report were discussed, and an onion cutting demonstration was held by Arthur Restaurant’s head chef, Tristan Rosier.
The event and subsequent pitching of the health report achieved increased social media activity our influencers, and coverage in influential, wide-reaching publications such as that’s life!, New Idea, and Woman’s Day.
Overall, the Australian Onions 2019/20 campaign delivered great results, achieving a reach of over 15 million Australians. Specifically, this was achieved through 21 pieces of earned media with a potential reach of 10.8 million people and 30 pieces of social media coverage with a reach of 4.4 million people.
In addition to the PR and social media activities, Australian Onions undertook in-store sampling nationwide in major supermarkets. The sampling activity took place in 164 Woolworths and Coles stores during October and November 2019.
In each store, sampling stands were set up near the onion shelves. The objective of the sampling was to demonstrate to shoppers the ease, versatility, and taste of onions. This was done through sampling of a delicious Spinach and Caramelised Onion Dip, made with a mix of brown and red onions. At the stand, shoppers could sample the dip on a cracker and take a recipe card away to further inspire onion creations at home.
An estimated 15,524 samples were given out, leading to positive brand exposure. In addition to sampling, the Australian Onions brand ambassadors gathered insights about onion quality, favourite onion dishes and onion demand drivers, to name a few.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Onion Fund