The Australian almond domestic marketing program has taken a step up with the introduction of our partnership with the AFL Players Association which is supported by our social media programs on Facebook and Instagram and PR activities across both mainstream and online media.
An important feature of our promotional campaign with our AFL player ambassadors has been our ‘Australian Almond Hard Nut Award’ promotion inviting consumers to nominate their favourite ‘Hard Nut’. This could be a sports person or a person that has demonstrated the strength to work through adversity. Among our winners so far, we have had a husband nominate his wife for her tireless effort in developing local women’s football and a daughter nominate her father as a Gulf War veteran who is fighting through Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Our PR Communications agency (Mango PR) has amplified our content around the partnership and the ‘Hard Nut Awards’ as well as negotiating with prominent social media influencers in the ‘fitness and food’ space to post and share about the health benefits of Australian almonds.
The interim program results (February to April) are that 20 pieces of media coverage have appeared, including publications such as the Herald Sun and online news platforms, with a total reach of 19.1 million people.
Our Facebook and Instagram communities have grown significantly during this period with our Facebook channel now exceeding 30,000 likers, which is more than double the number of followers at the start of this financial year.
Over the past twelve months, three Rotary Clubs (Brighton North, Albert Park and Melbourne) have developed a project to help improve the nutrition of Aboriginal children and their families in remote communities called ‘Footy Nuts’.
The first ‘Footy Nuts’ product is a 30gm pack of dry roasted Australian almonds and Dr Sara Grafenauer, Accredited Practising Dietitian, is giving her time to help us develop a Healthy Snacking program for Aboriginal children.
In order to create interest in eating healthy Australian almonds, the Footy Nuts team is in the process of recruiting some AFL footballers and NRL players to act as Ambassadors and role models for healthy eating with Kevin Sheedy agreeing to help the team.
The Almond Board of Australia’s marketing program has agreed to Sponsor the Footy Nuts project for one tonne of almonds. This means that when the AFL and NRL players are wearing the Footy Nuts apparel, the Australian Almonds logo will also be featured. It is anticipated that there will be high value content developed through this sponsorship that will be featured in the Australian Almonds’ PR and social media programs.
Over the past three months, “Australian Almonds” have exhibited at four major international food fairs: Gulfoods Dubai, February 26 – March 3; Foodex Tokyo, March 7 – 10; Food & Hotel Indonesia, Jakarta, April 5 – 8; and Sial China, Shanghai, May 17-19.
Our export development plan is based on a two-pronged growth strategy:
- Continue to grow our Established Markets of India-Middle East and Europe; and
- Develop our emerging markets of North-East and South-East Asia.
Gulfoods, held in Dubai in February each year, is a valuable opportunity for our marketers to meet with customers from the Middle East and India. During this year’s exhibition, we again held an ‘Australian Almonds Networking Event’ which included an Industry Update by Ross Skinner on behalf of the Australian almond industry, the event was a success with more than 70 customers attending.
In March ‘Australian Almonds’ exhibited at Foodex, the major food fair in Tokyo. We partnered with the Australian Vegetable Industry to create an “Australia Fresh” stand. Our promotion was augmented by a seminar on the first afternoon of the exhibition which was very well attended and over 40 Japanese nut and almond buyers participating.
In April we exhibited in Jakarta at Food & Hotel Indonesia. This is a biennial trade fair and the third time the Australian almond industry has participated. The ABA has engaged marketing agency Morelink Asia Pacific, in Jakarata who specialise in assisting Australian food industries enter the Indonesian market. Morelink provided a translator for the stand and also organised a number of meetings with potential customers.
The last trade exhibit for this period was Sial China in Shanghai and our stand was situated within the Australian Pavilion which continues to grow in size each year. The FTA between China and Australia is currently 4% and will reduce to zero in 2019 providing us with a tariff advantage over almonds from other origin countries.
The first ever AFL match for premiership points was held in Shanghai on the Sunday prior to Sial China. This match (Port Adelaide v Gold Coast Suns) provided an opportunity for us to promote our Australian Almonds branding throughout the game and also provided the impetus to engage a marketing agency in Shanghai to create an ongoing Weibo social media presence for Australian Almonds in China.