Why Country-of-origin Labelling is an Opportunity Not to be Missed

Friday, January 24, 2014 - 11:07

Guest post by Ian Harrison

Australia’s reputation for high quality, health and safety standards and its clean, green environment have helped create a strong nation brand for our businesses to leverage. In markets everywhere, it is generally a plus for products to be recognised as Aussie.

As a result, country-of-origin (CoO) branding represents a significant opportunity for businesses making and growing things right here – and employing Australians in the process.

There are a number of ways business can identify their products as locally made or grown, but the only registered certification trade mark for country-of-origin claims is the Australian Made, Australian Grown (AMAG) logo. Recognised by more than 98% of Australians and trusted by 88% as a true identifier of genuine Aussie products and produce, it is by far the most effective – and it has been for more than 28 years.

People don’t just buy Aussie out of a sense of patriotism or to support our growers and manufacturers – although those reasons are valid and do play a part – they buy Aussie products because they very often offer better quality at a competitive price.

As we approach Australia Day for 2014, when there will again be an outpouring of national spirit and patriotism, the Australian Made Campaign is encouraging consumers, businesses and government to ‘Make Every Day Australia Day’. This initiative celebrates Australia’s delicious, nutritious food and high quality products, and is aimed at tying great Aussie traditions, like the backyard barbie, together with Aussie-made and Aussie-grown products.

According to recently released research conducted by Roy Morgan, buying Australian-made matters more to us now than it did a year ago, and we regularly buy local, even if it comes at a small extra cost. More than half of the respondents surveyed (55%) said that buying Australian-made had become more important to them in the last 12 months. Just one tenth of the respondents (12%) said that they would not buy Australian products if they were more expensive.

However, according to the research into corporate purchase behaviours businesses are not following suit. Very few businesses (20%) have a firm buy local policy in place and a significant percentage (34%) have neither a policy nor a preference for buying local. The hope is that greater awareness of the benefits of buying local will encourage businesses to revisit their procurement policies. In the context of corporate social responsibility messaging, there is a ready connection with local sourcing and this would suit many businesses.

Australian Made recognises the pressure that many Aussie businesses are under in the marketplace from cheap imports and the need therefore to keep costs down, but we urge them to consider local sourcing wherever possible.

Ian Harrison is the Chief Executive of the Australian Made Campaign.