MLC Centre gets a new IGA supermarket

Co-owners, The GPT Group and QIC, have announced that the MLC Centre will open an IGA Romeo’s Food Hall, which will complete Stage One of the MLC development and mark another milestone in the centre’s ongoing transformation.

 
The 1000 sqm boutique supermarket will open beneath the MLC Centre’s transformed food court, creating a convenient shopping option on Martin Place, in the heart of the CBD.
 
GPT’s Head of Investment Management for Office, David Burgess said the introduction of IGA Romeo’s Food Hall continued to build on the quality retail offer at the MLC Centre.
 
“We are just putting the finishing touches on the ‘new look’ MLC Centre food court and now we can announce the arrival of IGA Romeo’s Food Hall, within the MLC Centre and linked to Martin Place train station,” Mr Burgess said.
 
“It will deliver a tailored and highly convenient supermarket for CBD commuters and further build on the MLC Centre’s position as a focal point for eating, shopping and socialising in the city.
 
“This will round out Stage One of the development works for the MLC Centre and paves the way for the Stage Two retail development, which is due to begin in 2016, subject to approvals.”
   
Marked for completion in late 2015, the Romeo Group will tailor its supermarket offer to inner city consumers, with a focus on fresh meal solutions and healthy produce, all at competitive prices.
 
Joseph Romeo, storeowner of IGA’s Romeo’s Food Hall said the store has been designed to accommodate the changing demographic of the city – city workers, commuters, shoppers and residents living and socialising in the city.
 
“As a successful independent retailer we have been providing service, quality and fresh produce to Sydney shoppers for many years and IGA’s Romeo’s Food Hall is the next step up in retailing for the Group.”

Sunpork launches new BBQ pork range

Sunpork Fresh Foods Chinese BBQ style pork roast is set to hit shelves in Victoria and South Australia on September 1, followed by launches into NSW and Queensland in the following weeks.

Made from 100 per cent Australian pork, the roast is marinated in a delicious and fragrant Chinese BBQ sauce and then slow cooked, SunPork Fresh Foods Marketing Manager Mary-Jane Knudsen said consumers now have the opportunity to cook this classic and versatile favourite at home.

“The pork only takes about 30 minutes in the oven (depending on the weight), and the result is a fantastic, full flavoured take on this traditional favourite that usually requires hours of preparation and slow cooking,” Ms Knudsen said.

“This is sure to become a family favourite for many households as Chinese BBQ Pork Roast is loved by most of us. It’s so good to be able to prepare a dish like this at home and enjoy without the effort of dining out.”

The Pork Roast in Chinese BBQ Sauce joins the Pork Schnitzel with Peri Peri Crumb, which was launched last month.

Sold through Woolworths, SunPork is continuing to add to its popular range of pre-prepared pork products, making it easy to serve fast and tasty meals at home.

Other products include a shredded meat range, Slow Cooked BBQ pork ribs and Slow Cooked pork belly.

Woolworths’ poor results hide long-term success

As Wesfarmers and Woolworths continue to battle for leadership across different retail categories in Australia, Julia Illera from Euromonitor International assesses how successful they’ve been in their attempts to gain market share – as well as the hearts and minds of Australian consumers.

 “Although competition has been almost head-to-head in most of retail categories in recent years, including grocery retailing (supermarket, forecourt retailing, food/drink/tobacco specialist) and mass merchandisers (discount department stores), Wesfarmers has managed to step ahead in the competition thanks to its position in mass merchandisers and home improvement and gardening stores with its Kmart, Target and Bunnings brands,” said Ms Illera.

“Furthermore,” she noted, “Wesfarmers also has a strong presence in stationers/office supply stores with the Officeworks brand, a category in which Woolworths Ltd does not have a presence”

“Despite Woolworths’ poor FY15 results, out of these two competitors Woolworths seems to have a better strategy for the long term, with its online channel better prioritised and experiencing stronger growth. For FY14, the group reported a 50% increase in its online sales, exceeding $AUD1.2 billion. In FY15, it reported a 15.6% increase in online sales to $AUD1.42 billion.”
 
“Up until now the battle has been limited to the physical world, but it seems we will soon see the fight move increasingly online,” Illera concluded.

Beston Global Food secures routes to Chinese markets

Beston Global Food Company (BFC) – which is set to float on the Australian Stock Exchange this month – has secured distribution for its premium Australian dairy, meat, seafood and health food products in 150 cities across China.

The company has signed the distribution deal with Chinese retail giant Dashang Group, which also has agreed to subscribe to 14.9 per cent of Beston’s stock as part of the $AUD130 million Initial Public Offering. Institutional investors committed $AUD100 million to BFC within four days of the offer being released earlier this month.

BFC’s Chairman, Dr Roger Sexton AM, said BFC had been invited to be the preferred supplier to Dashang for all Australian food and beverages. BFC also has the opportunity to create and stock a Beston Pure Foods section in the up-market stores operated by Dashang.

“BFC has formed a close working relationship with Dashang following on from the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between China and Australia,” Dr Sexton said. “Our two companies share a common objective of taking lean, green and safe products from high quality producers in Australia into the discerning consumer markets in China.”

Dr Sexton said BFC had also established a wholly owned subsidiary in China through the acquisition of the Dalian Australian Food Expo Company. The company – which consolidates about 7,000 distribution outlets across China – will manage the import, customs clearance and distribution of BFC’s food and beverage products.

In addition, BFC has a customer relationship with on-line supermarket product distributor Yihaodian – 51% owned by Walmart and with 57 million registered users at the end of 2013.

“Beston Global Food Company will operate as a branded food company which, through its stable of quality food investments, will aim to provide high quality, safe, clean (natural and/or organic) food and beverage products to consumers,” 

Dr Sexton said. "Our goal is to be recognised as a reliable, high quality and consistent provider to burgeoning global consumer markets which are becoming increasingly concerned about issues of food safety.

“With ingredient integrity and a secure supply chain consumers will be assured of an authentic, genuine, healthy food experience.”
"This approach not only recognises our responsibilities to the environment, but also maximises returns to shareholders through the ability to achieve higher "price maker" margins from health conscious consumers."

Tyrells Crisps buyout of Yarra Valley Snack Foods is a crafty move

UK premium snack brand Tyrrells Crisps has just acquired the Melbourne-based Yarra Valley Snack Foods in a move that will facilitate any attempts by the company to establish a manufacturing base in Australia.

In 2014, Lay’s (37%), Red Rock Deli (16%) and Kettle (15%) were the Top 3 players in chips in Australia, according to Euromonitor data.

Tyrrells, one of the largest producers of premium chips/crisps, reached an exclusive supply agreement with Coles and launched in Australia in 2014, so the company is not entirely new to the Australian market.

The chips/crisps category is worth over A$652 million, and represents 35% of the total value of the sweet and savoury snacks category, up from 31% five years ago despite the many advances in other (and healthier) snacking types.

The crisps/chips category has experienced 12% value growth during 2009-14, or 2% compound annual growth. In actual terms, its value growth for the period was only surpassed by extruded snacks, which are processed / reconstituted / shaped potato or cereal based snacks, such as rice cracker snacks, Pringles and Cheetos.

Tyrrells Hand Cooked English Crisps is perhaps the most well-known brand in Europe but there are many more out there, increasingly emphasising their hand-cooked potatoes and the place of origin the salt or vinegar is sourced from (eg Anglesey Sea Salt). Recently, PepsiCo has expanded into gourmet snacks through the launch of Market Deli – premium priced thick-cut crisps made from selected potato varieties bearing no sign of the company logo on the pack bar a small statement reading “from the Makers of Walkers”.

So is this emerging craft movement a fad or likely to be the next big thing in savoury snacks?

Tyrrells has grown at a 15% CAGR over 2009-2014 in the UK significantly outpacing the overall crisps’ CAGR of 5%. In Australia, Red Rock Deli from PepsiCo has outperformed the company’s flagship brand Lay’s over 2009-2014 in CAGR terms (5% vs 1%), though over the last two years sales have been falling.

The rapidly expanding craft beer movement is starting to exert an influence on the development of gourmet snacks, which are typically consumed with beer.

Borrowing from the craft beer market, crisps are becoming more sophisticated, with premium ingredients that emphasise heritage and provinciality.

Particularly in the US and the UK but also in Mexico and Russia, a growing number of beer companies are craft-branding their current line or coming up with new craft lines by acquiring small-batch brewers.

The definition of craft beer remains debated, but regardless, they are tapping in the same trend drivers. Some of the most recent examples include Immortal IPA from Elysian Brewing in the US which was acquired by A-B InBev earlier this year and Guinness Dublin Porter from Diageo which capitalises on Dublin’s brewing heritage in order to impart a sense of tradition and authenticity.  This has an obvious impact on retail sales.

Over 2009-2014, dark beer and premium lager, where craft beer is typically found, have outperformed beer overall globally, and particularly so in Latin America, North America and Australasia.  In Western Europe, growth in dark beer was undermined due to a strong decline in mass-market brands, which dominate the category.

The craft movement in beer has in turn facilitated a similar movement in crisps, particularly in the UK, where on-trade establishments have been switching from serving mainstream brands like Carlsberg beer and Walkers crisps to serving small-batch products like Brooklyn Lager with Tyrrells.

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