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New wave consumers & their great expectations

19 July 2010

LIKE Billy Connolly’s famous stand-up bit, tomorrow’s consumers will want ‘more of this, less of that, most of the other and a shipload more of that’. But they will also be more discerning. Emerging trends see consumers increasingly invested in the production values of the things they buy.

An independent survey by NetBalance, released at the Australian Food and Grocery Council conference in May, found 80% of Australians consider sustainability issues when putting products in their shopping trolleys. Around 85% of shoppers are worried about the impact of food and groceries on the environment, yet 78% were reluctant to pay more for those sustainable products.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell concluded that manufacturing and stocking more sustainable food and grocery products was a “whole of supply chain” responsibility in Australia, including farmers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers.

“I agree, but it’s a double-edged sword,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President David Crombie explained. “Farmers and others in the supply chain need to be responsive to changing consumer demands, but are these new consumer expectations realistic?”

“If there is to be a brave new world then we all have to ‘go in with our eyes open’. If we’re to invest more time, labour and new technologies in achieving even greater food and fibre sustainability, then it stands to reason that consumers must expect to pay a premium.”

At the NFF’s upcoming 2010 National Congress, a session dedicated to New Wave Consumerism will put these issues and more under the microscope. The discussion will feature:

  • Tomorrow’s consumers today – Mr Nick Stace, CEO, CHOICE. As Australia’s premier consumer advocate organisation, CHOICE is well placed to track and analysis changing consumer preferences and emerging trends.
  • Retail response to new demands – Mr John Durkan, Merchandise Director, Coles. A retail giant in Australia, Coles must respond to these changes as part of its business planning and seek produce for suppliers to meet the new demands.
  • Farmers at the cutting-edge – Ms Felicity Robson, Corporate Marketing, OneHarvest. A leader and innovator in value-adding farm produce, OneHarvest will look at the advantages and pitfalls new and ever-changing consumer expectations pose for farm production.

“As these issues take greater prominence in consumer psyches, they will place new and greater demands on farm production,” Mr Crombie added. “Those desires are often reasonable and Australia’s low-emission and highly innovative farm systems are eminently equipped to deliver.

“But farmers already get the rough end of the pineapple on prices. The disparity between what we get at the farm-gate compared to what shoppers pay at the checkout is well documented. Cleaner, greener and safer naturally-produced food, fresh to your local store, will cost more.”

The NFF’s 2010 National Congress runs over 6-7 September at The Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. Visit the Congress website for all details, including the full Congress Program, or download the 2010 National Congress - Registration & Information Brochure below.

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Related files:

« Please explain ‘sustainable population’? says NFF


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