The case for country of origin branding

Provenance is increasingly important to consumers in Australia – more and more they are becoming interested in where the food they are buying has come from.

This reflects a growing awareness of health and safety issues surrounding what we eat and also the positive consequences of ‘buying local’; and driven by concerns about health and safety, the issue of provenance is even more pronounced amongst the bourgeoning Asian middle class.

This is all good news for Australia’s farmers, manufacturers and food processors because there is no question being Aussie is an advantage in the marketplace. Our clean, green image, coupled with the recognition of our high health and safety standards for growing and processing food, gives the ‘Australian brand’ a flying start in the marketplace.

Research shows that country of origin branding has a direct impact on purchasing behaviours – both here and overseas. While many Aussie businesses are competing against cheaper products, particularly in the Asian marketplaces, those selling genuine Aussie products have a card up their sleeve that can help them get ahead – and that is country of origin branding. There is very often a premium that consumers will pay for genuine Aussie products and getting this can be crucial for our exporters and import competitors alike.

Aggressive country of origin branding can also reinforce corporate philosophies – boosting staff morale and demonstrating corporate social responsibility. It can open up new business opportunities when tendering for government contracts and major projects.

The green-and-gold Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo is the only registered, certification trade mark in Australia across all 34 classes of goods. It instantly establishes the connection of the product carrying it with Australia; and this happens both here and overseas.

According to Roy Morgan Research, over 98 percent of Australians recognise the logo, and 89 percent trust it to identify genuine locally made and grown goods. Research by YSC Online also found that products carrying the logo in export markets were more likely to have increased sales than those which did not.

Today more than 2,000 Australian businesses are registered to use the logo on over 15,000 products sold here and around the world. Indeed for many small businesses involved in export, the logo, with its proven, established links to Australia, becomes their strongest brand in the marketplace.

The same can also be said for state, territory and local government branding activities overseas, where the AMAG logo creates the overarching connection to Australia and therefore the framework for their ‘sub-brand’.

The Australian Made Campaign has welcomed the private industry initiative being championed by Andrew Forrest of Fortescue Metals Group – the Australian Sino Hundred Year Agricultural and Food Safety Partnership (ASA 100), to position Australia as a primary food and fibre supplier to China. The ASA 100 proposal, with its emphasis on a collaborative, cohesive approach to export marketing incorporating a single brand and a single logo, is a fantastic opportunity for consistency in labelling and a global approach for our food exporters.

The idea of the public and private sectors working together to build the global impact of ‘brand Australia’ is an exciting one. The power of consistent branding, both here and overseas, cannot be overstated. There is definitely a pivotal role for the Australian Made, Australian Grown logo in that strategy.

It is also important to be aware of the legal requirements. All country of origin claims must meet the following criteria:

• Australian Made: The product has been substantially transformed (made) in Australia and at least 50 percent of the production cost has been incurred in Australia.
• Australian Grown: All significant ingredients are grown in Australia and all significant (if any) processing has been carried out in Australia.
• Product of Australia: All significant ingredients come from Australia and all or almost all of the manufacturing/processing has been carried out in Australia.
• Australian Seafood: All significant ingredients are grown/harvested in Australia and all significant (if any) processing has been carried out in Australia.

It is also important to note that, for food products, the rules for using the AMAG logo with an ‘Australian Made’ claim are more stringent than those applying under the government’s Australian Consumer Law. A stricter set of criteria about what actually constitutes ‘substantial transformation’ was introduced several years ago to reduce any confusion about a food product’s true country of origin.

It is for this reason that consumers look for the AMAG logo when they shop so they can be sure that they are buying genuine Aussie products and produce.

 

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