30/07/2008 - 22:00

IGA takes regional focus

30/07/2008 - 22:00

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Western Australia's regional food producers will get improved access to the state's supermarket network as a trial promoting regional produce is rolled out across Perth IGA stores.

IGA takes regional focus

Western Australia's regional food producers will get improved access to the state's supermarket network as a trial promoting regional produce is rolled out across Perth IGA stores.

The concept, originally trialled at the Canning Vale IGA, involves the creation of a dedicated regional food section featuring a number of grocery and refrigerated items made in regional WA.

The regional sections will be located in high-traffic areas of the stores, with individual store managers able to decide what brands and product ranges to stock.

Many of the estimated 150 regional food manufacturers across the state face difficulties accessing the supermarket network.

Canning Vale IGA owner Pat Rock, who came up with the idea, integrated a Margaret River region food section into his store when it opened in November last year.

Mr Rock engaged the Department of Agriculture and Food to help him market the project.

"Part of the reason behind doing it is that it's something the chains can't do," he said.

"It also gives that association that we're local and loyal to local producers."

The store's Margaret River section hosts about 17 brands based in the region, including Margaret River Dairy Company, Margaret River Beverages, Yahava Koffeeworks, Berry Farm, Margaret River Nuts & Cereals, and Agonis Ridge Organic Olives.

Now, almost nine months later, the department is looking to expand the trial to between five and 10 large IGA stores in the Perth metro area, with each able to choose its regional focus.

Market Strategy managing director Paul Graham, who is coordinating the roll-out, said the aim was to create a regional food platform working with IGA supermarkets within the Perth metro area.

"Regional WA food industry incorporates about 150 businesses across the state. You can count on one hand the bigger producers...who generally have their own distribution and sales systems and can access those stores easily," he said.

"But below that are companies that would like to grow...but struggle to find market opportunities for their products. You could say they're teetering on the verge of success and are in need of that sales platform that allows them to do that.

"Some are able to get in [to supermarkets] but a vast majority have not been able to get in for one reason or another."

Among the regional food manufacturers that took part in the initial trial, Mr Graham said, many averaged a 50-60 per cent rise in sales, with some reporting upwards of 300 per cent increases in sales.

"It drew a lot of attention to producers and increased rate of sales that producers would normally expect to get with IGA," he said.

The trial is expected to be eventually rolled-out to about 20-25 IGA stores.

"It's our objective to have them there permanently and it's IGA's objective as well," Mr Graham said.

Mr Graham said the first group of stores would come online by the end of September.

IGA has more than 250 stores in WA and holds roughly a third of the total market share.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options