Two of South Australia’s supermarkets see supporting local producers as not just their duty as local companies, but also good for business.
Nicole Richards, the Marketing Manager of Foodland Supermarkets, says that their close to 100 stores always see an uplift in sales when they market products as South Australian.
“Supporting local is a big part of what we do and we have regular features of the I Choose SA and the state logo,” Richards says.
“It’s really important for us to support those local businesses in our economy during this time, and consumers are certainly looking to support local during this time as some businesses are struggling.”
Jean-Paul Drake, the Director of Drake’s Supermarkets, agrees that South Australian consumers are looking home-grown and says that local food manufacturers and producers should use this time to attract and keep these shoppers.
He says that as supermarket shelves are depleted and supply chains disrupted, it is a perfect time for locals to step into the void.
“A lot of the stuff that has come in from overseas has been drained and the only stuff we can get to is the local stuff,” Drake says.
Drake says a good example of locals buying local is the Kangaroo Island honey sold at their Kingscote store at a premium price.
“Everyone in that small community registers that that’s supporting local,” Drake says.
Both Drake and Richards offer a solution to the problem of South Australian products being able to compete with the often cheaper international goods.
“We’re happy to talk to people and go through the process and work out what’s best,” Drake says.
“The biggest problem we find is how they get their product to market.”
Richards says that Foodland works with small local companies to help them find a place on the supermarket shelves.
“We support our local producers and I don’t mean just the big ones like FruChocs and Golden North,” says Richards.
“But if you ask some of those big companies, a lot of them actually got their start in a Foodland store.
“If you go to somewhere like the Barossa Foodland in Nuriootpa, you’ll find little local companies that approached the local store to test their product.”
The store and business can decide, for example, if their chocolate product fits best in the chocolate aisle or should be put it in the snack aisle, Richards says.
“It’s a really good testing ground for local businesses to try out packaging, labels, what consumers like and what they don’t like and it’s a really great first step into the market,” Richards says.
Catherine Sayer, the CEO of Food South Australia, says now is the time for consumers to look for South Australian food and beverages, not only on supermarket shelves, but through the many online options..
“Everything gets thrown up in the air when there’s a crisis and it’s how you can adapt and respond quickly that is key,” she says.
Sayer says many businesses have quickly adopted online sales and should adopt “I Choose SA” through the Eat Local SA program while planning for future growth into other markets.
“Small companies in particular who haven’t ever used I Choose SA brand should think about it because it differentiates them from other products from interstate or overseas when they are walking down supermarket aisles,” she says.
“It’s a real benefit to the smaller businesses who have to fight through all the noise.
“If you’ve got a product on the supermarket shelf that’s branded South Australian and something next to it that’s not, we as South Australians are so parochial that like to support South Australian where we can.
“Social media plays a big part this, so support South Australian food and beverages businesses through #IChooseSA.”