A day within the life …

By Catherine Sayer, CEO of Food South Australia.

Catherine Sayer, CEO of Food South Australia.Catherine Sayer, CEO of Food South Australia.

There are two things I hear say almost every week in the Food South Australia office: “There's always something new” from the team and “You do a lot of different things” from members and industry representatives. Both statements are very true.

The Food SA team handles dozens of requests for help every month and there really is always something new. Our industry seems to have more than its usual share of visionaries and entrepreneurs and of course the challenge of keeping up with dynamic consumer demands is a constant.

We are really satisfied when the feedback comes in, that is, products on the shelf and profits in the pockets for the companies we support. Dumpling 100, for example, which made its first foray into the world of trade fairs at the SA Food-Bev-Tech Trade Show earlier this year, recently came up with a progress report.

In the seven months since that show, they have built relationships which means their dumplings are now spread across South Australia. I think we are just as enthusiastic about this result as you are.

Terry Rimmer, Dumpling 100 Business Manager, told us, "The show launched our products for the first time and helped secure exposure to over 250 stores in South Australia."

The Food SA team stayed on site after the show to provide Dumpling 100 with additional industry information and guidance as they prepared to fulfill their new customers' orders.

Relish the Barossa specializes in products inspired by the Barossa Valley, including sauces, marinades, soups, condiments, pastes and rubs. They reached out to us because, as company founder Andrew McAlister said, there were concerns that the brand was stagnating. As Andrew said, "Covid has brought us total uncertainty about our future, but it was also a time of great demand for food production and the odds were good."

A combination of completing our online Sales Growth Navigator tool and business coaching funded through our Business Growth program helped Relish the Barossa set and evaluate what growth and sales goals are for the next five years they need to do to build their brand, including understanding the needs of their employees in order to engage them and build critical relationships with their sales partners.

We all know that pet care is a huge and rapidly growing market. When Bobbies Petcare joined the Food SA community and founder Jennifer Kelly told us about their innovative range of preservative-free and additive-free healthy ice cream treats for dogs, we were fascinated.

At that time, Jennifer had two main challenges – firstly, to develop her product range and then to be able to bring it to market. Jennifer now says her aha moment came when she realized that she didn't have to do everything on her own.

Food SA brought Jennifer together with experts in a number of fields including food technology, food supply chain and product distribution, packaging and cost accounting. This broader support team helped her clarify her goals and find the right partners to bring her product to market. With her products now successfully offered in Foodland, Jennifer highlights the key results of working with Food SA by adding people to her industry network to talk to and feel supported to, building her belief in her evolved business strategy and her gives the confidence to start the market launch.

In the meantime, we have been working with all of the major retailers in South Australia for the past year to enable in-store campaigns with verified information on SA-made products from South Australian companies. Through this database created and owned by SA, and as custodian of the I Choose SA branding for retail activations in the food and beverage sector, our goal was to make it easier for retailers to leverage consumer demand to support the local population. We know South Australians love to support South Australian businesses and in these times of Covid, I Choose SA has been a great tool for getting the local message across to consumers.

As you can see, the inquiries we receive range from specific operational challenges to "whimsical" questions that can spark industry innovation. The eternal question for the Food SA team is, "What will the next question be?"

About Catherine Sayer

Catherine has headed Food South Australia since its inception in 2010 and is passionate about leading the development of the industry's top board with a focus on industry growth and advocacy. She is also a member and chairman of several committees.

About food South Australia

Food South Australia is the leading government organization for the food and beverage industry with the aim of supporting and sustaining the industry in South Australia and helping companies of all sizes develop their markets, capabilities and industry connections. Food South Australia is independent, industry leader and membership based.

Eating South Australia.

A Day in the Life … first appeared in Retail World Magazine.

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