The Australian food industry is constantly evolving with many factors influencing how we eat, including immigration, generational shifts, and lifestyles. These factors are leading to a strong push from many consumers to understand where the food they are eating is from, a move towards Australian grown and made food, and a growing social conscience.
Following these trends is important for foodservice operators to understand so they can respond to what their customers may be seeking including the type of information they’ll require.
Diners are demanding greater transparency about where food is from
Increasingly, consumers are seeking information around how their food is produced, proof of where it comes from, and assurance that it is safe.
Rather than see this trend as a hinderance or annoyance it’s an opportunity for savvy foodservice operators to extol the virtues of the food they offer. For example, buying an Australian-made whole egg mayonnaise like Steric’s Plate & Platter means you can confidently tell customers that your mayonnaise is manufactured in Australia.
By providing customers with the transparency they seek, the industry as a whole can build trust with consumers. The changes are also being driven by regulatory changes and the increasing complexity and globalisation of food supply chains.
Consumers have become more educated when doing their shopping and are putting that knowledge to use to make careful and informed purchasing decisions. Over the last decade, shoppers have become increasingly health-conscious and concerned about the presence of additives, artificial and genetically modified ingredients.
The spotlight on food safety issues in the past has created a heightened awareness of the potential safety risks behind what we are consuming and is driving increased demand for transparency.
The growing popularity of Australian-made
Alongside the need for greater supply chain transparency, Australians are seeking more Australian grown and manufactured foods. The COVID pandemic has shone a stronger spotlight on this trend but even before the pandemic, research showed that Australians preferred Australian grown and produced food.
Consumer research conducted by Roy Morgan Research in 2019 showed that Australians prefer Australian-made products across a wide range of product categories. The research found that 80 per cent of Australians prefer Australian-made food and beverages, and that the most important reasons for buying Australian-made products were better quality, support for local businesses/communities, and local job creation.
Consulting firm McKinsey also looked at the growing desire for Australian products and concluded that Australian consumers are expressing a deeper need to exercise control in day-to-day life decisions, and this is in part shown by an increased interest in local brands. They are also increasingly making purchase decisions that align with their values.
They also concluded that many Australians are also expressing an increase in emotional needs that go beyond price. The survey McKinsey conducted found that consumers are continuing the move towards local by supporting their local neighbourhood businesses and increasingly choosing Australian brands—which could symbolise trust and security in a time of global flux.
This is once again an opportunity for the foodservice industry to step up and promote its Australian food products, and an opportunity for food outlets to tell their customers about the great Australian food products they are serving.
“The COVID pandemic has shone a stronger spotlight on this trend but even before the pandemic, research showed that Australians had a preference for Australian grown and produced food.”
Change driven by the millennial generation
Research has shown that the millennial generation which includes those who were born from the early 1980s to early 2000s are motivated by causes in both their work and in their personal lives.
According to a report released by research company the NPD Group, millennials are now the largest ‘healthy-eating’ consumer group in Australia at an unprecedented 32 per cent claiming to be focused on healthy food.
Of course, millennials are not the only customers demanding change in the food industry in Australia. There are consumers of all ages who have become socially conscious about the food they put in their mouths, but also the impact the food production has on the environment, and on society as a whole.
According to Canadian Dietician Cara Rosenbloom, millennials value the planet more than older generations so they are more interested in how the food was sourced and grown, and how that affects their carbon footprint. Sustainability is a priority for them when buying food at supermarkets or restaurants. Millennials’ awareness of environmental issues has influenced food manufacturers to institute better earth-friendly practices.
Buy Australian made Sunshine and Plate & Platter from Steric
While most Australians have not heard the Steric name there’s a good chance that most have consumed our products, with a foodservice range of 50 key products that are supplied to the foodservice and hospitality industry. This includes restaurants, cafes, hotels and more with a wide range of essential food products, including sauces, toppings, cordials, dry ingredients and even beverages.
Steric also produces private label food products for the biggest customers across Australia and New Zealand.