There is currently strong and growing interest in establishing a national brand to underpin the provenance and authenticity of Australian agricultural products, especially in overseas markets. There are various views on the components of a successful brand but, in terms of a national brand (from a supply-side perspective), there are three major components that need to be considered:
1. Positioning – how do you want consumers to perceive the brand and the products? What is the story that the brand is trying to convey?
2. Product assurance – how do we know that all parties of the supply chain have contributed what is needed to deliver the promise the brand is making?
3. Validation – how can we demonstrate that the product is what it is claimed to be?
The positioning is building on Australia’s ‘clean, green’ image of safe and wholesome products produced in rural surroundings. This is all underpinned by regulatory and industry-based systems that ensure products are produced and processed in a safe environment that maintains high standards (assuring quality) and, to some extent, identify what the product is. However, it is currently impossible to validate the authenticity of most agricultural products. This is particularly true for exported products, especially in relation to:
• The region of origin
• The specifications of the primary product
• The supply chain the product has passed through
• The standards of handling and processing