By Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer.
There are two things I hear said just about every week in the Food South Australia office: “there’s always something new,” from the team, and “you guys do a heck of a lot of different things,” from members and industry stakeholders. Both statements are very true.
The Food SA team deals with dozens of requests for assistance every month, and there really is always something new. Our sector seems to have more than the usual share of visionaries and entrepreneurs, and of course the challenge to keep up with dynamic consumer demands is a constant.
We get a real sense of satisfaction when the feedback comes in that means products on shelf and profits in pockets for the businesses we assist. For example, Dumpling 100, who made their first foray into the world of trade shows at the SA Food-Bev-Tech Trade Show earlier this year, recently got in touch with a progress report.
In the seven months since that show, they have established relationships which mean their dumplings are now ranged across South Australia. I think we are excited as they are with this result.
Dumpling 100’s Business Manager Terry Rimmer told us: “The trade show exposed our products to the market for the first time and contributed to securing commitment covering over 250 stores in South Australia.”
The Food SA team remained on hand after the show to support Dumpling 100 with additional industry information and guidance as they geared up to meet orders from their new customers.
Relish the Barossa specialises in products inspired by the Barossa Valley, including sauces, marinades, soups, spices, pastes, and rubs. They reached out to us because, as business founder Andrew McAlister said, there were concerns that the brand was stagnating. As Andrew said: “Covid brought us complete uncertainty about our future, but it was also a time of great demand for food manufacturing and the opportunities were good.”
A combination of completing our online Sales Growth Navigator tool and the business coaching funded through our Business Growth Program helped Relish the Barossa set growth and revenue targets for the next five years and assess what they need to do to build their brand, including understanding the needs of their employees to keep them engaged and developing critical relationships with their distributors.
We all know pet care is a huge, and rapidly growing, market so when Bobbies Petcare joined the Food SA community and founder Jennifer Kelly told us about her innovative range of preservative and additive free healthy ice treats for dogs, we were intrigued.
Jennifer had two key challenges at the time – firstly being able to develop her product range, and then getting it to market. Jennifer now says her ‘aha’ moment came when she realised she didn’t need to do it all on her own.
Food SA connected Jennifer with experts in a range of areas including food technology, the food supply chain and product distribution, packaging, and cost of goods accounting. This broader support team helped her clarify her objectives and find the right partners to get her product to market. With her products now successfully ranged in Foodland, Jennifer highlights the key outcomes from working with Food SA as growing her industry network with people she can talk to and feel supported by, building her belief in her evolved business strategy and giving her the confidence to launch.
Meanwhile over the last year we have been working with all the major retailers in South Australia to facilitate in-store campaigns with verified information about products made in SA by South Australian owned businesses. Through this SA made and owned database, and as custodians of the I Choose SA branding for retail activations in food and beverage, our goal has been to make it simpler for retailers to leverage consumer demand to support local. We know that South Australians love supporting South Australian businesses and through these Covid times I Choose SA has been a great tool to communicate the local message to consumers.
As you can see, the queries we receive range from specific operational challenges all the way to the ‘wondering’ questions that can spark an industry innovation. The eternal question for the Food SA team is, “what will the next question be?”
About Catherine Sayer
Catherine has led Food South Australia since it was established in 2010, passionately guiding the development of the industry’s peak body with a focus on industry growth and advocacy. She also is a member of, and chairs, several boards.
About Food South Australia
Food South Australia is the state’s peak body for the food and beverage industry, with a mission to support and sustain the industry in South Australia, helping businesses of all sizes to grow their markets, capability and industry connections. Food South Australia is independent, industry led, and membership based.