Miss Rachel Malcolmson (Ulster)
The Northern Ireland (NI) agri-food industry faces significant challenges in re-building consumer confidence in the quality and authenticity of food/drink products. However, increasing demand for authentic, high quality produce, paired with a renewed sense of food patriotism, presents new growth opportunities for local and artisan food/drink products to be promoted for their unique quality and provenance credentials. This presentation focuses on how to effectively raise the profile of local NI food/drink produce. Specifically it provides evidence-based recommendations for policy makers arising from research regarding the use of quality to market local produce. The recommendations for policy arise from a robust three stage, mixed methods, Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) funded PhD study. Preliminary findings indicate that packaging has a significant effect on consumer food quality perceptions and purchase decisions while shopping. The presentation therefore discusses how this evidence can be implemented by local producers as marketing strategy to engage the consumer. This research could importantly contribute to understanding about consumer perceptions regarding the marketing cues used to promote product quality, and to assist the NI agri-food industry in its promotion of local food/drink products. This presentation also has particular relevance to the implementation of the Executive’s ‘Going for Growth Strategy’ and the development of the Agri-food Strategy Board’s emerging marketing body for the creation of a single NI brand.