Collaboration was a key ingredient at the 10th anniversary of the Buy West Eat Best program in Perth recently.
Founding member and innovator of Buy West Eat Best Jim Trandos from Trandos Farms said the program is in a unique and necessary position to bridge the needs of industry and policy makers.
“Buy West Eat Best brings together organisations in the interests of food integrity and promotion through Regional Development Commissions and Regional Food Councils; growers and producers with retailers and restaurants. It is a vitally important label that ultimately reflects the needs of the most important stakeholder of all, the consumer,” he said.
Since formally launching as a program under the then Department of Agriculture and Food in 2008, Buy West Eat Best has provided West Australians and visitors to the state with a trusted food and beverage brand mark.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Director of Food Deborah Pett said the program has only gone from strength to strength over the years.
“The success of the Buy West Eat Best program pays tribute to the hard work of those involved and highlights that food provenance remains a vital consideration for WA consumers.”
Recent independent market research demonstrated strong Buy West Eat Best brand awareness amongst consumers, with 71 per cent of survey respondents recognising the brand, and 90 per cent of respondents more likely to consider buying a product with the logo.
“When retailers applied the Buy West Eat Best logo to a shelf sticker in store, research showed a sales increase of 10 per cent, with one-in-four consumers actively looking for the logo when grocery shopping,” Ms Pett said.
“It must be acknowledged that the non-competitive involvement from all major retailers has changed the way consumers see this program. Buy West Eat Best is now an essential value of being a West Australian. This has allowed membership to grow from 38 founding partners to more than 175, including major retailers, small growers, artisan producers, large-scale processors, restaurant and food service providers.”
Visiting Australian demographer and social researcher Mark McCrindle noted at the anniversary presentation that in conducting the Woolworths Trolley Trends Report and other notable reports for the food industry, a counter trend has also emerged. As well as a shift to purchase more local products, Australians are also looking for something that’s wholesome.
“Australians are on the hunt for value, when they discuss value it is broader than just price. It’s value in terms of what they value, so it is about sustainable supply chain, it is about nutrition and the quality of the food. They want real food, not just empty food.
“That’s where the source of the food comes in. There is a premium that they place on local. There is a trust factor and indeed a premium they place around certain regions and an expectation of a certain quality,” he said.
“So, that’s where there are great opportunities for foods from WA.”
Buy West Eat Best has developed excellent working relationships with all major WA retailers, as well as influential chefs and food producers.
Doriana Mangili from Sweeter Banana Co-Operative based in Carnarvon said the program has played a significant part in the success of their business.
“We value the opportunities for all producers, big or small, to network, gain access to markets, attend events and engage in cross-collaboration. The Buy West Eat Best program has been a large part of the success of Sweeter Banana over the past 10 years.”
Strict criteria and compliance requirements behind the distinctive trademarked logo ensures credibility and assurance across the industry. In order to use the logo, the product must be grown, farmed or fished in Western Australia and processed and packaged right here as well.
Through continued collaboration across the WA food industry and ongoing support from consumers, the benefits of the innovative program will be here to stay. Through Buy West Eat Best, local suppliers have discovered new opportunities to expand their business, and at the same time the WA community enjoys a quality, fresh and trusted source of food.
For more information on the program, visit www.buywesteatbest.org.au