How do small local food producers build and maintain brand loyalty? /
The objective of this particular study is to investigate how small local food producers build and maintain brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is extremely important for producers to gain market share. It is imperative that they spend time and resources developing the brand and gaining brand equity. Consumers buying habits change over time and therefore it is essential that the small local producers follow suit and change the way they promote their brand. Evidence suggests that consumers are more aware of the food they consume, they are more interested in the origins of the food and the journey that it takes to market. For small local producers to build brand loyalty they need to highlight the benefits of using their products over international brands. The study is exploratory in nature. The research techniques include semi-structured in-depth interviews with ten small local food producers. These participants are suppliers to the Supervalu initiative the “Food Academy”. The questions posed are open-ended and allows for probing questions by the facilitator. The interviews were conducted face to face or by telephone, depending on the availability of the respondents. In addition three focus groups were undertaken with Supervalu clients in order to investigate their perceptions of the small local food producer’s brands. The findings from the research found that the small local food producers gained brand loyalty by building brand awareness. This was achieved by promoting the brand at store level by way of food tastings, social media forums, by gaining recognition from peers. They maintained brand loyalty by delivering a convenient, consistent and quality product. This research concludes that the small local food producer needs to continue to develop their brands by producing a unique quality product and offering a convenient option for the consumer. Also they need to develop new offering, as innovation is important for the brand development. The producer needs to take more control at store level and to make sure their products are labelled and merchandised correctly.
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