AU Christopher Villani Foodlands

Foodland's marketing manager Christopher Villani

The battle for market share in the South Australian grocery market is about to heat up with the impending arrival of Aldi in February 2016, with 18 store sites and a distribution centre already confirmed, and plans for a further 32 stores.

But independent chain Foodland, which has 118 stores and controls about a third of the South Australian grocery market, appears to be is well positioned for this forthcoming battle. Foodland is unlikely to give an inch. In fact, it wants to increase its market share.

The Foodland board is preparing for battle through a new positioning strategy and an expanded executive team with the appointment of Christopher Villani as marketing manager and Sarah Armstrong as merchandising manager.

In preparing the new positioning and branding campaign, Foodland has engaged Adelaide agency Kwp! which already has an impressive record in helping clients such as Coopers take market share from global beer brands. The agency has also created high-profile and award-winning tourism advertisements for the Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island.

According to Villani, Foodland sees the five pillars that define what it stands for as trust, community, lifestyle, great food and everyday low price.

“From this, Foodland is developing a positioning statement of where it wants to be which is not necessarily where Aldi is,” he said. “Rather, Foodland wants to be the best supermarket with the best food in South Australia.”

Foodland’s policy is to buy South Australian produce first, then Australian and then overseas imports. Some stores will source 90 per cent of their fresh produce locally depending on the season.

“Foodland and Kwp! will launch the new positioning and branding campaign at Foodland’s 20/20 conference and it will be rolled out from 29 November 2015 with a mix of TV, radio, print and outdoor ads,” said Villani. “Communication with consumers will be different. The branding campaign will have the tagline of great food lives here.”

The Kwp! team has been meeting with Foodland suppliers across the state to identify talent for the campaign.

“Apart from the Kwp! campaign, Foodland has engaged Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science at UniSA to identify how to better promote local produce,” Villani said. “This project will involve talking with Foodland suppliers and customers.”

Foodland stores are individually and independently owned by South Australian families, which provides an opportunity for the owners to customise their offering to the local community. In contrast to some of their competitors which are narrowing their offering, Foodland aims to give customers what they want to buy. In the Norwood store alone there are more than 35,000 different products.

Preparations are well advanced. Let the battle begin on the supermarket football field.

The full article on Foodland's new campaign is available in the summer edition of Produce Plus