Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Consumers Care More about Price Than They Do about Provenance?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Do Consumers Care More about Price Than They Do about Provenance?

Article excerpt

Warburtons has axed plans to launch its first loaf produced using only British wheat after it conducted research that it claims revealed consumers were put off by the concept

NO- Andrew Hawkins, Managing director, DCH

Not when provenance is both relevant and differentiating. Or, put simply, adds value.

The advertising battlefield is littered with the carcasses of campaigns that grasped at provenance as a platform, only to find it collapse Budweiser, for example, famously failed at launch in the UK, precisely because there was no value in being American. Similarly, for a long time, Alfa Romeo failed to reach beyond the Alfisti because all that beautiful Italian style couldn't quite disguise the Italian electrics and lack of quality control beneath. Skoda, meanwhile, began to turn the corner only when the Germans made it like a Golf.

The world of food and drink successfully relies on provenance to add value in terms of freshness, quality and taste, so we have Jamie Oliver eating a sausage made of 100% British Pork in a field where it, er, grew up.

So what made Warburtons change its mind? I'd hazard a guess it wasn't about price or value, but rather that Hovis got there first - and did it rather well.

MAYBE - Bart Michels, Managing director, Added Value

Bread and milk; staples in our daily diet. For many, bought without much thought as to where they're from.

Yet provenance is now part of our weekly grocery shop. Brands such as Waitrose promise traceability across many ranges, and have carved out competitive advantage in doing so.

On the shelves, we're offered choices such as Yeo Valley, Dorset Cereals and Buxton water, where provenance is not only visible, but also the crux of their proposition. This influences our purchase decision by showing at least some interest in the region's welfare.

Arguably, many guises of provenance have been lost in the emphasis on ingredients over process and tradition, as with the rich expertise passed down through generations of bakers in the Warburton family However, unless there is a noticeable difference in quality, or product characteristics inextricably linked to home-grown ingredients, such as wholesome taste or fluffy softness, for a staple such as mass-manufactured sliced bread, price and product performance will win out.

NO - Vanessa Cohen, Partner, Prophet

Warburtons' decision to scrap plans for a 100% British wheat loaf clearly comes after detailed research into whether such a product would succeed. …

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