ADOPTION of the 'True Aussie' brand for all agricultural produce would be “a little perplexing”, says Australian Made campaign marketing manager Ben Lazzaro.
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) plan to build standards for MLA's True Aussie brand – developed last year for red meat - which can then be applied to all Australian agricultural products in domestic and global markets.
While the existing government-backed Australian Made label covers a broad range of products including electronics, furniture and clothing as well as food, True Aussie would be "all about agriculture", an NFF spokeswoman said.
The industry-driven True Aussie initiative will be broader than country of origin and export focused, she said.
However, Mr Lazzaro said Australian Made counsels stakeholders against “reinventing the wheel”.
“NFF are a foundation member of the Australian Made campaign, and we are currently in discussion with them as to how the logo fits in with that (new) direction,” he said.
“The Australian Made campaign is a big advocate for consistency in country of origin branding, it makes sense for business to have some consistency.”
We brand poorly: NFF
NFF chief executive Simon Talbot said a gold kangaroo in a green triangle was not necessarily the best representation for ag produce and Australian producers needed to lift their game in the branding market.
“We brand very poorly, we do not do ourselves any favours in Asian markets,” he said.
Mr Talbot said there were currently 17 versions of ‘Brand Australia’ in key markets.
“100% NZ Pure spends one third of our total spend, but has 400 per cent better Asian consumer recognition.
“Ultimately we don’t need fragmentation, we need to work together – (and) we believe the swing tag can sit nicely alongside True Aussie, and dominate market position.
“It is very difficult to put a kangaroo on certain products, we don’t want to confuse consumers,” he said.
Horticulture was likely to lead the growth in agricultural production and exports, according to Mr Talbot.
A united front
MLA international business manager in Japan, Andrew Cox, said expanding the True Aussie brand across Australian agricultural commodities had great benefits for all Australian farmers.
“There will be one recognisable logo and positioning that tells Australia’s story to our global consumers about Australian products,” he said.
“This is early days of collaborative efforts with the True Aussie logo, but in my view the benefits of presenting a united front on Australian food outweigh the costs. It makes sense to share investment in areas where we are positioning Australian food to take advantage of overseas opportunities.”
He said Australia's strong reputation extended to other food products as well.
“From where I sit in Tokyo, it is of great benefit to present a united front when it comes to Brand Australia.
“From a beef and lamb perspective, we already have this logo on packs and restaurant menus and to see it extended to other Australian produce would only be beneficial for Australian red meat producers.”
NFF president Brent Finlay said consumers need surety that what they are getting is truly Australian.
“We mean to get this right, so that the brand can apply for all agricultural commodities exported from Australia; and be accepted everywhere as an announcement of the highest quality produce,” he said.
During the 12-month pilot project, the NFF and key industry representatives will develop and examine the relevant standards underpinning True Aussie quality to further extend the brand’s product reach.
- with Katie McRobert