The presence of harmful chemicals in foodstuffs has raised some concerns throughout the developed world and, the European Union (EU) in particular carried out an assessment of acrylamide levels in food over the period 2007-2009 (EU, 2011). Whilst levels were generally under control the three foodstuffs contributing to high levels of acrylamide were fried potatoes [crisps & French fries], soft bread and cereals.
The remedy for the presence of any suspect chemicals in breakfast cereals would be to introduce a sampling procedure which could be applied to particular products in different years. The results should be reported and particular emphasis given to the successful lowering of harmful products. A typical example of this technique is that adopted by Marks & Spencer in their drive to reduce salt levels in some foodstuff where the reminders are visual and continuous. Again the strategy for this cereal marketing should be to emphasise the purity of the product and where appropriate to provide a breakdown of the composition [in writing] – and in TV and Internet advertising – of the product, highlighting the favourable comparisons with other breakfast cereals.
The likely constraints here are concerned with government legislation in the light of the uncertainties of the possible
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If and when these become crystallised action can be taken. In the meantime representation could be sought on one or more of these bodies so as to be seen to be helping to formulate policy. When this is clear, special deliveries could be made to selected ‘poor’ communities of ‘aid’ in the form of good nourishing food such as GoodHealth. Alternatively, a voucher scheme could be introduced which could be used to purchase the product at discounted prices. These initiatives could also be used to generate favourable publicity in the media.
Cultural A range of cultural constraints affecting global communication strategies are described by Perner (2008), and he suggests that in Australia, as in the US, the wish to outdo the rest of the group is common. Australians are also humorous and, at the same time, prefer the straight-talking honest approach. They are also becoming increasingly health conscious and aware of the constraints on household budgets resulting from global market problems. This means that health claims on the packet as well as advertising in the media and on the internet
are a good selling point, and this fits into the strategy adopted by such cereal producers as Goodness Superfoods (AIFST, 2011). The company has latched on to the fact that high-fibre content is seen as particularly desirable in preventing cancers of the bowel and gut, and therefore are spending considerable resources on promoting the BARLEYmax breakfast cereal. The emphasis on additives is also becoming more prevalent, and additional vitamins are seen to appeal to the healthy male (Haskell, 2009).
Buying habits are also changing across the country, particularly in young people. An increasing number now use the internet, not only for shopping, but also for research on the benefits of different foods. The Australian Government is also engaging in and industry support and promotion programme to extol the benefits of increased consumption of cereals (CSIRO,2005). This translates to emphasis on health, truthful advertising on packets, the press, internet and TV, sponsorship deals with promotion of athletic events. Although there are cultural differences across Australia, they are generally not thought to be so severe as to require market segmentation and, initially at least, a standard product will suffice.
The manufacture and launch of a new breakfast cereal have been discussed in the light of modern marketing theories, and a number of unique and attractive selling points were identified. The strategies required were next considered in the light of the following macro-environmental factors: demographic, economic, natural, technological, political and cultural. While each one imposes its own particular constraints, some overlap, and the same marketing strategies will apply in the main, but with small modifications. In the case of the political constraints to marketing strategies, the outcome is more uncertain and some of the decisions have to be made in the light of changing governmental priorities.
The general conclusion is that emphasis should continually be made on the good – and often unique – points of the product. Where possible too advantage should be taken to promote not only the advantages of the product but also in the philosophical and helpful attitude of the company, particularly towards events and situations which are close to the heart of most Australians: health, poverty sport and national pride.