The Australian red meat industry is adopting a stronger marketing and promotion emphasis on women as key meal decision-makers in the Japanese market.
Most food purchasing decisions are made by women in Japan, even when they are dining out, research has shown. Many Japanese women are working professionally, as well as looking after families, and are more health conscious than their menfolk.
In response, Meat & Livestock Australia has this month launched a new component to its marketing activity focussed specifically at females.
Marketing messages aim to provide female consumers with relevant information regarding the health and nutritional benefits of beef, particularly iron. Similar campaigns ran in the Australian domestic market some years ago.
“Japanese women, as a general rule, are very much lacking in iron and we hope to show how they can improve that deficiency by purchasing and consuming more Australian beef,” MLA Japan regional manager Melanie Brock said.
In the first phase of the campaign MLA organised an ‘Iron-Beauty’ study tour to Australia, bringing seven key female industry influencers (representatives included food advisors, delicatessen buyers, internal company campaign planners and sales advisors) earlier this month.
The key objective was to learn more about Australia’s ‘paddock to plate’ beef production and safety system, and gain understanding of the importance of iron in beef for busy working women who are also the key grocery purchasers for families, Ms Brock said.
“We focussed on women in the industry who are not direct meat buyers (therefore they normally wouldn’t have chance to travel to Australia), but who occupy important positions in terms of being a contact point for consumers/end-users,” she said.
The group received an industry presentation at the MLA Sydney office on arrival, followed by a guided retail market inspection. Over the next two days they visited three beef farms in Tasmania and completed their tour with a blind Australian beef tasting session back in Sydney.
“Feedback from the participants and their managers has been extremely positive, and MLA will be holding follow-up meetings to incorporate their experience/suggestions (both as food professionals as well as female consumers) into future marketing activities,” Ms Brock said.
The same week, MLA held a series of seminars in Tokyo and regional centres with up to 150 in attendance, highlighting the nutrition messages with women.
“The strategy is to better communicate the healthy attributes of Australian beef among this critically important segment. We want to give them reasons to choose beef, other than price-related reasons,” Ms Brock said.
Meanwhile, major Japanese importer/distributor Nippon Meat Packers is also adopting a stronger women's perspective in its in-store meat promotion. The company thinks the strategy can increase sales volumes by 5pc a year through providing support for sales floor layout and other activity.
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