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Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing

ISSN: 0897-4438 (Print) 1528-6983 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wifa20

Agricultural Show Awards: A Brief Exploration of


Their Role Marketing Food Products

Joanna Henryks, Saan Ecker, Bethaney Turner, Bonnie Denness & Halina
Zobel-Zubrzycka

To cite this article: Joanna Henryks, Saan Ecker, Bethaney Turner, Bonnie Denness & Halina
Zobel-Zubrzycka (2016) Agricultural Show Awards: A Brief Exploration of Their Role Marketing
Food Products, Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing, 28:4, 315-329, DOI:
10.1080/08974438.2015.1110547

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08974438.2015.1110547

Published online: 26 May 2016.

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Download by: [b-on: Biblioteca do conhecimento online UP] Date: 04 October 2016, At: 04:24
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING
2016, VOL. 28, NO. 4, 315329
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08974438.2015.1110547

Agricultural Show Awards: A Brief Exploration of Their


Role Marketing Food Products
Joanna Henryksa, Saan Eckera, Bethaney Turnera, Bonnie Dennessb, and Halina
Zobel-Zubrzyckab
a
University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia; bAustralian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
and Sciences, Canberra, Australia

ABSTRACT KEYWORDS
Drawing on interviews with 12 agriculture show winners across Agricultural shows; awards;
a range of different food industries, this report provides a branding; food marketing
preliminary analysis of the role that agricultural show awards
play in branding and marketing food products for commercial
sale. In keeping with findings from previous studies, show
awards were found to be regarded by producers as prestigious,
signifying product excellence. Further, the assessment of the
quality of products, the opportunity to receive expert feedback
on new products, and a comparative, competitive effect of the
show system was found to provide a mechanism to improve
quality, helping to support industry standards and foster a
culture of innovation. Show awards were identified as especially
important in supporting small-scale entrepreneurial endeavors
that depend on niche marketing strategies. However, winning
awards was shown to contribute more to perceived brand
equity of products rather than actual economic gain. To
strengthen the impact of show success, participants indicated
the need for increased consumer awareness of the meaning of
the awards. The authors identify key future directions research
could take to maximize the impact of agricultural award
systems on the businesses of competitors.

Agricultural shows
Agricultural shows are public events showcasing animals, food, equipment,
skills, and recreation associated with agriculture. They provide a venue for
producers to enter their goods in competitions to be assessed for their quality,
enabling benchmarks to be set for particular industries and products. Variants
of these agricultural shows appear in the numerous settler societies with links
to colonial Britain (Anderson, 2003, p. 17), and they are similar to the county
or state fairs held in the United States. Since their beginnings in Australia in
the 1820s, agricultural shows have been found to provide significant economic
and social benefits for local communities, particularly in relation to building
social capital, educating nonrural residents about agricultural practices, and

CONTACT Bethaney Turner bethaney.turner@canberra.edu.au Faculty of Arts and Design, University of


Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
316 J. HENRYKS ET AL.

encouraging best practice in agricultural endeavors (Australian Council of


Agricultural Societies, 2000; Darian-Smith & Wills, 1999; Meyer & Edwards,
2007; Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies Inc., 2012; Scott &
Laurie, 2010). Further, the 587 shows held around Australia each year are
attended by 5.9 million people and are estimated to generate an economic
impact nationwide of $965 million AUD per annum (Queensland Chamber
of Agricultural Societies Inc., 2012).
Since their inception, show competitions have played a key role in setting
quality and production benchmarks for a wide range of rural produce and
skills, from livestock to dairy produce, fruit, vegetables, and fresh and
value-added goods. These competitions lead to recognition of best practice
through the award of medals, certificates, and monetary prizes. Such awards
have been shown to play a key role in identifying superior livestock for breed-
ing leading to a direct increase in their value (Darian-Smith, 2011; Yarwood,
Tonts, & Jones, 2010). Research also exists into ways that medals awarded at
wine showsproduct-specific events aiming to promote and benchmark
quality in winehave been used a marketing vehicle both from the producer
perspective (Allen & Germov, 2010; Dunphy & Lockshin, 1998; Sims &
Demediuk, 2003) and from the consumer side to help make product choices
in a crowded market (see, for example, Allen & Germov, 2010; Bianchi, 2015;
Lockshin & Hall, 2003; Lockshin, Mueller, Louviere, Francis, & Osidacz, 2009;
Mueller, Lockshin, Louviere, Francis, & Osidacz, 2009).
While medals at competitive shows have been shown to have a positive
effect on some businesses in some product areas, such as wine, there is a sig-
nificant gap in our understanding of the specific role agricultural show awards
may have on winning producers in nonlivestock categories of competition.
This research begins to address this gap by exploring the role of show success
from the perspective of those in the food-producing industries currently using
awards as part of their marketing. The report provides a preliminary investi-
gation of the field with the aim of identifying key themes and concepts to be
developed in future research projects.

Method
Exploratory qualitative research was undertaken in 2012 by the Australian
Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) in
conjunction with the University of Canberra to understand the role of agricul-
tural show awards in the branding and promotion of food products among
producers who currently make use of awards in their marketing. This study
sought to better understand the contribution of shows in promoting pro-
duction and sale of food products, to the overall improvement of quality stan-
dards of products in food industries, and in supporting excellence in
Australian agriculture.
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 317

Food producers were identified through information on winners listed on


the major Australian agricultural show websites (the Sydney Royal Agricul-
tural Show and the Melbourne Royal Agricultural Show). Once awardees
were identified, their websites were located and those producers using the
agricultural show medals to market their products were added to the list
of potential study participants. The final list included 148 producers who
advertised their agricultural show awards either online (on their websites)
or on their product packaging. Participant selection was based on evidence
of use of awards in branding or marketing. They were also selected to rep-
resent a range of products, with the final list falling into the following 12
categories: bakery products (e.g., cakes, pies, or bread); nuts and dried fruit;
olive oil; coffee; teas and other beverages; dairy; processed and fresh meat;
aquaculture products; confectionary; preserves (e.g., jams, relishes chutneys,
pickles and vinegars); cereal (e.g., pasta) products; and combined products
(more than one of the products listed previously). Producers were selected
from each category for whom contact details were available, taking into con-
sideration a geographical spread, and invited to participate in a brief tele-
phone survey. The aim was to have representation from all states. Where
participants were not available for interview, another was selected from
the category. Because the aim of this project was exploration rather than
representativeness, a purposive sample was taken, limited to one participant
from each category (Matthews & Ross, 2010). The category sample covers a
range of products both commonly judged at agricultural shows and for
which awards had proved useful in marketing.
The 12 businesses that participated in the telephone survey are shown in
Table 1. The majority of the participants (10) produced value-added goods
(e.g., olive oil, preserves, a range of pasta, cakes, honey, coffee blends, delica-
tessen meats) and two sold fresh products (seafood and meat). Producers were
located in five Australian states: New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania,
South Australia, and Western Australia. While participants were drawn from
Sydney and Melbourne show awards results, interviews showed that they also
entered a number of capital and regional shows, including the Royal Hobart
Show, the Royal Queensland Show in Brisbane, and the Mudgee Show. With
one exception, every participant entered their products into the Royal Sydney
Agricultural Show.
A structured interview was used to ensure that all participants answered the
same range of questions to facilitate comparison (outlined in Appendix 1).
These covered interviewee business profile, including the type of products,
whether sales were domestic or international, experience in exhibiting at agri-
cultural shows, use of agriculture show awards in marketing, and perceived
advantages and drawbacks of agricultural shows. Interviews took approxi-
mately 30 minutes to complete. At the end of the interview, participants were
thanked and no follow-up interviews were undertaken.
318 J. HENRYKS ET AL.

Table 1. Characteristics of the final sample.


Years
No. of exhibiting at Average no. of
product Domestic and/or agricultural shows entered
Respondent Category lines international trade shows each year Income
1 Baked goods 100 Domestic 5 1 >$100,000
2 Nuts 25 Domestic 4 2 $40,000
$100,000
3 Olive oil 1 Domestic 7 2 <$40,000
4 Baked goods and No Domestic No comment 2 No
preserves comment comment
5 Pasta and sauces and 35 Domestic 1 1 <$40,000
baked goods
6 Preserves and baked 20 Domestic 5 2 >$100,000
goods/pasta, meals
7 Coffee 6 No comment 13 1 >$100,000
8 Preserves 22 Domestic 4 4 >$100,000
9 Processed meat 100 Domestic 10 3 >$100,000
10 Beverages including 19 Domestic and 8 1 >$100,000
tea, coffee blends, international
and other syrups (Southeast Asia)
11 Aquaculture: range of 30 Domestic and 4 2 >$100,000
seafood international (U.S.,
Japan, and Southeast
Asia)
12 Meat: lamb 1 Domestic 3 1 >$100,000

Thematic analysis (Boyatzis, 1998) of the open-ended interview data was


used to build a conceptual map of the marketing activities used by the agri-
cultural show award winners as well as the perceived attributes, benefits,
and concerns of participation. A combination of inductive and deductive
approaches was used (Bernard & Ryan, 2010). The deductive aspect consisted
of examining themes under the broad categories of the phenomena being
studied (i.e., attributes, benefits, and challenges of the producers using agri-
cultural show awards in their marketing of their products), whereas the induc-
tive aspect identifies themes from these categories such as the marketing tools
used by these award winners. The following analysis provides a preliminary
snapshot of the use of awards in marketing across a wide range of product
categories to identify key themes and issues that warrant further exploration
to better understand the role and value of agricultural awards in the market-
ing of food products. Quotes have been deidentified and are presented anony-
mously in italics.

Results and discussion


The analysis identified key themes and concepts participants used to
describe the practical outcomes of agricultural show awards for their busi-
nesses. Agricultural show awards were used to promote food products
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 319

through the use of the awards in marketing products for commercial sale
such as in market stall displays, websites, product labeling, and publicity.
These awards were perceived as being useful marketing tools due to parti-
cipants identification of the attributes of agricultural show awards as revolv-
ing around quality assurance, excellence, and credibility. These are
represented in Figure 1 below.

Attributes of agricultural show awards


In keeping with results from previous studies (Fader, 2006; Scott & Laurie,
2010), agricultural show awards were regarded by producers as prestigious
and as signifying the quality and excellence of products and providing third
party recognition of high standards. Participants referred to the credibility
and prestige of awards, noting that they were awarded by well-established
shows, some of which had been going for 100 years. They referred to the
credibility of a unique quality show system not stained by marketing inten-
tions and vested interests but based on the professional assessment of a pro-
ducts quality and on the independence of agricultural show societies. The
Sydney show is prestigious. Not tainted by marketing companies, all upfront,
conducted by industry leaders, judges have no vested interest.
The judging process contributed to these views. The selection of judges is a
key task undertaken by agricultural show societies to promote the legitimacy
and authenticity of winners. Judgment of award categories at agricultural
shows occurs through a point system and is overseen by a chief steward.
Judges were generally considered to be tough, and thus the validity of the
awards was valued by the participants in this sample.

Figure 1. Exploratory conceptual framework.


320 J. HENRYKS ET AL.

Benefits of participation in agricultural show awards


Reasons cited for entering products into agricultural show awards revolved
around several key themes: benchmarking, independent evaluation of product
offering, product improvement, and use as a marketing tool. Some parti-
cipants explicitly stated that they were motivated by the belief that tangible
positive economic outcomes such as achieving an increase in sales and greater
returns, maintaining their position in the market, or promoting their product
would ensue. They said that they hoped that winning an award would allow
them to get in [to the market] and for my product to stay relevant on the shelf
as awards tend to sell products and medals on jars sell. Just under half of part-
icipants entered agricultural show awards with the express purpose of using
any wins in the marketing of their product.

Benchmarking and independent evaluation


All participants referred to the importance of receiving an independent assess-
ment of the quality of their product as a key motivator for participation in
competitions. Thus agricultural show competitions provided producers with
an opportunity to see how they stack up against their competitors, functioning
as form of benchmarking for their products. Two producers considered these
outcomes to be more important than the benefits of using their show awards
in marketing.
Awards were seen to set quality benchmarks in the market place and pro-
vided a valuable third-party endorsement and confirmation of quality. Show
awards were generally viewed as a goal and a badge of external recognitionan
independent arbitrator of quality in the market due to the perceived rigorous
nature of all aspects of the judging process.

Product development and test marketing


Agricultural shows were also viewed as a place where new products could be
tested. Feedback from judges, considered to be experts in the field, was useful
in terms of product development and often could help determine if a product
was marketable and to see if we are on the right track particularly noted by
participants with tea and coffee beverage lines.

Marketing use of agricultural show awards


Agricultural show awards were perceived, across all the product categories, to
carry high brand awareness and credibility among both industry and consu-
mers. Consequently, it made sense for producers to use these attributes in the
marketing of award-winning products. Producers suggested that consumers
make a link between agricultural show awards and a quality product. Further,
they were confident that from the consumers perspective, awards stand for
quality. For some, this was viewed as stemming from the market success of
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 321

agricultural shows. As one participant put it, producers are leveraging off the
branding of the agricultural show. Associated with the belief that consumers
respect show awards were also comments that show societies could be doing
more to promote the value of agricultural shows to consumers, as will be
discussed later.
When asked whether they had noticed a change in sales since using awards
in their marketing, five of the 12 participants (value-added nuts and honey;
coffee blends; preserves; preserves and baked goods/pasta, meals; and teas
and beverages) explicitly stated that the awards sell more products, although
attribution to increased sales was difficult and participants generally lacked
evidence (such as sales data) that awards had exclusively increased sales.
One respondent believed the awards to be one of the key reasons for the suc-
cess of their branded meat, saying that he had observed a growth in sales in
connection with marketing using agriculture show awards. Another partici-
pant did not believe that the medals impacted on consumers, citing his
own market research as evidence. He alleged that medals were important
solely to the industry. However, not surprisingly, given that the sample con-
sisted of producers using awards in their marketing, participants generally
acknowledged that agricultural show awards were a useful tool to promote
their products, helping to influence consumer perceptions in a crowded mar-
ketplace, and thus aiding brand differentiation at the point-of-purchase. The
main advantage is perceived to be that the award provides validation of quality
of products, thereby providing consumers with an assurance that your
products have some standards.
As well as picturing awards on their websites, participants also promoted
awards: on product packaging, in shops, through word of mouth, in brochures
and business cards, and even on company documents. However, they also
indicated that not all of their agriculture show awards were used in all mar-
keting. Use depended on the attributes of the product (whether it was easy to
use the award on the packaging), the methods of sales, and the distribution
channels used. For instance, those selling through farm gate or market stalls
found awards useful in establishing product credibility.
In contrast, one participant, who has been successful at winning awards
over a 6-year period, questioned the relevance of awards once a reputation
was established, stating:
We sold our olive oil without sticker (as in, no medals). It is not worth the money.
We sold our oil anyway. Next year we will be thinking very hard whether we will
continue entering the shows in future since we won awards in last 6 years. We
believe that we demonstrated that we are consistently making a good product.

He added:
some people are drawn to stickers, but experts will know the difference. People who
know what good oil is, they can tell. Educated consumers know what is good.
322 J. HENRYKS ET AL.

To reinforce his point, he added that using recommendations from best


chefs was more important than awards in establishing sales to a number of
wineries and restaurants.
This was supported by another participant who suggested that the useful-
ness of awards depended on which market segment was being pursued, noting
that while for the wholesale market awards did not hold much weight, it had
impact on gourmet retailers, who had a different perspective because they
are selling products on the shelf and medals look good on products. He also
commented that cafes were more interested in the consistency of supply
and quality of the product rather than medals.

Personal selling. Several larger producers in this study had agents selling their
products into retail outlets, whereas other participants acted as their own sales
force. Regardless of the sales method, award-winning products were seen to
be easier to get onto retail shelves as awards provided a key selling point: pro-
ducts that were independently and externally judged to be superior. Some
participants attributed the increase in the number of wholesalers and retailers
stocking their product to their awards. This was particularly true for produ-
cers that expanded their geographic reach. For example, two producers
(one located in South Australia and one in Western Australia) were able to
expand into other regions (Sydney, New South Wales) and grow the market
for their products.
One participant expressed a view that the significance of medals and
awards was limited to distributors or gatekeepers, such as Coles and
Woolworths,1 who are more likely to stock your product if you have a medal,
but as far as the consumer is concerned that does not make any difference.
One participant (a lamb producer) believed that consumers may not recognize
awards because of lack of promotion from the Royal Agricultural Society, the
main body overseeing Australian agricultural shows. In his view, agricultural
shows are fundamentally an industry event targeted at the producer and awards
have a meaning only to industry. Accordingly, he used awards to market his
products only to a gatekeeper to assist getting them onto supermarket shelves.

Point-of-purchase communication. Awards were used at the point-of-


purchase through product labeling, posters, and brochures. One of the most
common uses of awards was on the product label itself. Successful producers
used awards on product labels either on the product label itself or as an
attached sticker on the product. Most producers also felt that only recently
awarded gold and silver medals were worth displaying and left lesser awards
and old awards (e.g., older than 1 or 2 years) for their websites.
Three of the producers had their own shop front including farm gate retail
outlets and used these outlets to display their awards. Such displays were
viewed as reinforcing the quality of the products and providing tangible
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 323

independent evidence of product superiority. Two of the producers sold their


products directly to consumers through farmers markets. In both these cases,
agricultural show awards were prominently displayed in the form of labels,
posters, and occasionally brochures and were used to signal product quality.

Publicity. Some participants viewed winning awards as a chance for publicity


they took the opportunity to write and disseminate press releases, particularly to
the local press. The awards were seen as a credible news story that local press
was often keen to support and promote, thereby providing free advertising.
Awards were also viewed as stimulating word of mouth. A number of parti-
cipants referred to getting our name out there through their success in the
awards or as support provided to word of mouth advertising. Agricultural shows
were an opportunity for producers to showcase their products in a public
platform. Those with farm gate outlets claimed that awards resulted in an
increase in the number of people walking into the outlet.

Producer concerns
Despite the overwhelming positive view of agricultural show awards and their
value in marketing within this study, participants also voiced their concerns.
They suggested that more work could be done on the part of the agricultural
show societies to promote the awards to end users, consumers, to capitalize on
the interest in awards some consumers are showing. Participants inferred that
if more consumers could be reached by promotion of agricultural shows, the
importance of awards in purchasing decisions could spread to a greater con-
sumer population. As mentioned previously, a number of participants
believed that shows are more focused on industry and, as a consequence, their
significance is not always communicated to consumers.
A further perceived challenge is the cost of producer entry for competition
categories. Costs to enter products into agricultural shows vary from $0 to
around $100, and entry costs were cited as a barrier to submitting numerous
products to be judged. Negative implications of not winning were also men-
tioned by a few. One participant voiced a concern that judgment may be
subjective and down to individual taste and that this subjectivity of assessment
may depreciate awards. This is in contrast to the perceived rigorous standards
enforced in the judging process discussed earlier and thus highlights a diver-
gence in participant views. In this context, it was important for participants to
receive quality feedback from judges that would enable them to understand
why they did not win and draw on feedback to potentially improve their
products.
A final producer concern pertained to the participation of major supermar-
kets in agricultural show awards. Some participants suggested that show
entries from the major supermarket chains in Australia, namely Coles and
324 J. HENRYKS ET AL.

Woolworths, had the potential to decrease the credibility of awards, a concern


echoed in the Australian press (Howden, 2012). In particular, concerns were
raised that these entrants were not using local produce in the products they
entered (for example, breads) despite the terms and conditions set by the
Royal Agricultural Show Society.

Economic benefits of agricultural show awards


Given that the use of the agricultural show awards is only one component of
marketing a product, it is not surprising that all but one participant was unable
to attribute a direct relationship between the branding and marketing use of
awards won and increased sales figures. There was no mention of specific sales
data analysis to better understand the impacts of awards; however, participants
did note that the awards had attracted customers. Some participants indicated
that wholesalers and retailers responded positively to products that had won
awards and thus this may have influenced their decisions to stock (or carry)
the products, although it was not a factor that could easily be measured.
The lack of an explicit relationship between awards and increased sales
volume did not necessarily mean that awards did not create other positive
benefits for participants businesses. The results revealed that producers were
benefiting from winning at agricultural shows by gaining and/or maintaining
their niche position in the market and enhancing the brand image of their
product range.

Agricultural show awards: The bottom line


Despite the various uses of awards and the varied perceptions about their
relevance in the marketing arena, the overarching response was that awards
reinforced industry and consumer quality perceptions rather than seeing a
direct benefit in the form of increased sales. Consequently, perceptions existed
that winning contributed to the brand equity of products, not necessarily the
bottom line. This is in contrast with the branding literature, which argues that
brand equity contributes both directly and indirectly to sales (see, for
example, Ataman, Van Heerde, & Mela, 2010; Keller, 2013; Stahl, Heitmann,
Lehmann, & Neslin, 2012).
Outcomes of the study also demonstrated that the show award system
provided an important quality framework for setting high standards for com-
mercial food producers across a range of food industries and that the desire to
win an award provided an incentive for the producer to improve the quality
standards of their products until they had firmly established their business
and reputation, as can be seen by the olive oil producer who planned to stop
entering shows after winning multiple awards across a 6-year period. The
assessment of the quality of products, and the opportunity to receive expert
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 325

feedback on new products and a comparative competitive effect of the show


system provided a mechanism to improve quality, which helps to support
industry standards and foster a culture of innovation.
The impact of shows on industry standards was indicated in participants
comments on their motivations to enter the shows to get an idea whether
the products measure up against other products in terms of quality and pres-
entation and to get quality assurance that products are of highest standards.
These views and comments from participants confirm findings from earlier
studies (Fader, 2006) that over the years, shows have developed a healthy
competitive culture to measure and encourage the development of agricultural
advancement and the benchmarking of produce.
The quality incentive function of the show system operates via the competi-
tive culture of the show, which continues to provide a quality incentive for the
producer and for the industry as a whole. The desire to win an award influ-
ences food producers endeavors to improve the quality of their products
through new methods and thus fosters a culture of innovation that drives
excellence in the food industry and agriculture.
The marketing function of the show system provides a valuable third-party
endorsement and sets quality benchmarks in the market place, both of which
can be used to promote food produce quality to the consumer and industry.
Winning an award is viewed as means of establishing or enhancing the repu-
tation of a brand. Show success, if properly marketed, can elevate a brands
status and in turn increase company profits when incorporated with other
marketing strategies.
Agricultural show competitions face a number of challenges, including the
affordability of entering shows, the cost of displaying the medals on labels,
limited consumer recognition of the significance of show awards (despite
the contrary view that consumers respect show awards), competition from
alternative forms of acknowledgment of quality of produce, and the need to
implement policies that maintain the integrity of the agricultural shows,
relying on transparency of assessment procedures and objectivity of judges.

Marketing implications
Marketing implications exist for both producers and agricultural show
societies. From a producer perspective, agricultural show awards are a
comparatively inexpensive mechanism for small food producers to add value
to their brands through marketing. Entering products into awards can help to
establish the quality and credibility of a brand and can act as a component of a
long-term product-marketing strategy.
Agricultural shows awards are clearly valuable to various food industries
through their promotion of quality, excellence, and benchmarking. These
shows have potential to educate not only producers about the value of
326 J. HENRYKS ET AL.

entering and winning awards but also consumers in general. In particular,


there appears to be a gap between what producers believe about the contri-
bution of awards to sales and what branding literature states is the case. Agri-
cultural shows could use this as part of an information campaign when
promoting the value of their competitions to potential entrants.
In relation to consumers, who already attend agricultural shows in droves,
campaigns raising awareness about the competitive nature of the judging process
would help further increase the value of awards and ensure that awards used in
marketing were recognized as signifiers of quality among a wider audience.
Care does need to be taken not to oversell the awards, and lessons can be
learned from the wine industry, where Mueller et al. points out that the effects
of medals, stars, and scores will be reduced if they are over used or wrongly
used and lose their credibility (2009, p. 9). However, the agricultural show
competition awards are far from the saturation that exists in the Australian
wine market.

Limitations and further research


This research was intended to provide an exploratory examination of the use
of agricultural show awards in marketing. As such, a clear limitation is
the lack of nonusers (producers who won but do not use awards in their
marketing) in the sample. By including nonusers, further insight into the
value (or nonvalue) of the awards as a marketing tool would be gained.
Further limitations are the sample size and the exclusion of entrants who
did not win. Both of these need to be considered in future research.
Further, this study aimed to provide a preliminary investigation of the issues
to identify key ways in which future research could proceed. Specifically, a
grounded study of the agricultural show winners could be undertaken that
would incorporate both producers who use awards in their marketing and those
who do not. Similarly, another approach would be to broaden this study to
obtain quantitative data of the size and scope of the cohort. Questions we cur-
rently do not have answers to include: What percentage of award-winning pro-
ducers use (and do not use) agricultural show awards in their marketing? What
are the reasons for each? What is the importance of various motivations for use
and barriers to use of the awards in marketing? And what is the estimated value
of the awards? Gaining answers to these questions could aid agricultural shows
in marketing their awards both to potential entrants and to consumers, thus
strengthening and reinforcing the perceived value of the awards.

Note
1. Australia has one of the highest concentrations of supermarkets in the developed world.
Coles and Woolworths are the two main supermarket chains in the Australian marketplace.
JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 327

Between them they control almost 80% of the market [Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission. Report of the ACCC Inquiry into the Competitiveness of Retail
Prices for Standard Groceries Canberra (Australia): Commonwealth of Australia; 2008
Available from: http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index].

Acknowledgments
Our thanks go to the interviewees in this study and Bill Binks from ABARES for his work in
the early stages of this project. This paper is based on an earlier version Agricultural Show
Awards and their Use in the Marketing of Food Products: A Review of the Literature presented
at the Institute of Food Products Marketing Conference, Philadelphia, USA, June 2122, 2012.
Our thanks also go to the conference participants for their thoughtful feedback.

Contributors
Joanna Henryks, PhD, is a Professional Associate, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of
Canberra. She is currently working as a consultant in the non-profit sector focusing on mar-
keting, communication and strategic planning. Her current research into food includes food in
remote Australian Indigenous communities.
Saan Ecker, PhD, is a consultant social and environmental researcher drawing on a multidis-
ciplinary background including human ecology, anthropology, psychology and ecology. From
2008 to 2014, Saan worked in the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
and Sciences (ABARES) Social Sciences research team and was team leader from 2010. In this
role she led projects considering uptake of sustainable agriculture, attitudes to environmental
stewardship and diversification options for farmers in regional Australia.
Bethaney Turner, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the
University of Canberra. Her current research explores how more sustainable urban living
behaviors can be developed and fostered in a time of human-induced climate change.
Her interdisciplinary research draws on many fields including human geography, political
ecology and cultural theory and, in practice, focuses on the food system from production
to waste.
Bonnie Denness was the UVEP Summer Scholar at Australian Bureau of Agricultural and
Resource Economics and Sciences. She currently works in policy for the Australian
Government.
Halina Zobel-Zubrzycka, PhD, has multidisciplinary background in economics, political and
social sciences. She has more than 15 years experience in Commonwealth government
agencies developing and implementing government policies in partnership with industry sta-
keholders, including the preparation of significant legislative changes, and identification and
accommodation of stakeholder priorities by developing consultative processes.

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JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD & AGRIBUSINESS MARKETING 329

Appendix A: Interview questions


Interviewee Profile
What do you produce?
How many products do you produce?
Do you sell to a domestic or international market? Or both?
[if yes to international]: What countries?
Exhibiting at Agriculture Shows
How many years have you been exhibiting at Australian Agriculture
Shows?
Which Agriculture Shows did you enter last year?
Why do you exhibit at Australian Agriculture Shows?
When you started exhibiting, did you have any initial marketing intentions?
Do you exhibit all of your products?
Use of Agriculture Show Awards in marketing at a business level
How do you market your Agriculture Show Awards? (e.g., product labeling,
website, market stalls, etc.)
What do you take into consideration when using your Agriculture Show
Awards in marketing? (e.g., brand positioning, consumer perceptions)
Do you use all of your Agriculture Show Awards in your marketing/
branding?
[if no]: Why not?
In your view, what attributes and values do Agriculture Show Awards
signify?
How do you think consumers perceive businesses or products that have
received Agriculture Show Awards?
In your industry, what role do you believe Agriculture Show Awards play?
Since you started using your Agriculture Show Award(s) in marketing, have
you noticed a change in sales?
[if yes]: To what extent can you attribute the change to the marketing of
your award(s)?
What is the annual turnover of your business?
Less than $40,000
$40,000$100,000
Greater than $100,000
What do you regard as the main advantages of using your Agriculture
Show Awards as a marketing tool?
Are there any drawbacks of using your Agriculture Show awards as a
marketing tool?