MLA research has found consumer sampling to be a successful marketing technique, as well as introducing customers to Australian red meat and showing them how to cook it.
More than 75% of consumers purchase beef or lamb immediately after sampling.
In all of our export markets, Australian beef and lamb competes not only with the locally produced protein, but red meat products from the likes of NZ, the US, India and Brazil. In the face of this tough competition for consumer attention, it's important to influence purchasing decisions where they matter most- at the meat cabinet.
"The combined impact of tasting the product and hearing a local talk about its safe, healthy and delicious attributes is a powerful way of convincing customers to buy Australian," says MLA General Manager Global Marketing, Michael Edmonds.
"We are careful to tailor each sampling program to the local market,- from the messages the samplers spruik, to the flavours they use with the product, to what the samplers wear. It all helps ensure it is our product, not a competitors', the customer takes home."
Europe and Russia
With very limited Australian product at retail in Europe and Russia, there is limited value in boosting awareness and creating consumer pull via consumer sampling programs in this market.
Instead, MLA focuses its efforts on the trade, building and supporting supply chains in targeted activities.
Sampling of grainfed beef is being explored as an option in specific outlets of some of the newer developing supply chains as it is not a commonly known product in the EU.
Consumer sampling is the most effective method to communicate the nutritional and health benefits of Aussie red meat to Japanese consumers, as well as teach them how to cook it.
Understanding consumers' eating requirements is essential and the feedback from in-store sampling helps MLA to shape product information and promote Australian red meat for the Japanese market in the most effective way, with demonstrators trained regularly to improve performance.
Consumer sampling is an important and effective part of MLA Korea's marketing efforts with more than 1,000 Aussie beef sampling events held in retail outlets every month, given the increased competition Australia faces as the US increase its beef marketing effort, ongoing sampling support is vital to defend consumer loyalty to Australian beef in Korea.
Experienced in-store promoters educate customers about the range of Australian products and their 'clean and safe' attributes, with surveys revealing that 78% of consumers go on to purchase Australian beef immediately after sampling in this market.
Middle East/North Africa (MENA)
In the past two years, MLA has collaborated with importers, exporters and retailers in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Lebanon to undertake nearly 500 hours of in-store sampling programs.
Results indicate consumer sampling is responsible for driving significant sales increases during the sampling programs, and also maintaining double digit growth in the following months.
More retailers across the region are starting to recognise the positive impact of the in-store theatre the goes with consumer sampling programs - once the domain of the dairy and beverage categories but now increasingly important for the positioning and trial of red meat.
As meat competition in the United States is high, with chicken and pork inexpensive compared to beef and lamb, sampling to help drive purchase is a worthwhile investment.
MLA supports in-store sampling of lamb and organic beef with two exporters and their retail accounts.
In the US, sampling is an effective method to educate consumers about Australian lamb's mild flavour and the taste and tenderness of organic beef compared to US grainfed beef at the point of purchase.
South-East Asia/Greater China
In-store sampling is big in Asia. Shoppers are even known to skip a meal cultural experience of sampling while shopping.
In the emerging markets of this region, the best opportunity to showcase Australian product is at the point of purchase.
Providing a compelling reason for the consumer to buy a more expensive product and one not part of their normal diet is essential.
In surveys, more than 80% of consumers have said promotion increase their knowledge of beef nutrition and entices them to but more beef. during a cooking demonstration, sales usually increase by 15%.
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