Case of Thomas Farms’ Ready-to-Cook Meals

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Assessment Type

Written Report

Word Count

2000 words


Marketing Plan


3 Days

Assignment Criteria

Goal:  Building on Task 1 and Task 2, the purpose of this task is for you to develop a food marketing strategy driven by a coherent knowledge of consumer decision making
Product:  Written report.
Format: This is an individual assessment. 2,000 words See Blackboard for further details.
Criteria Notes Mark
Communication and professional presentation of report
  • Report format
  • Use summers and smith as style guide
  • No letter of transmittal required
  • Watch referencing
  • Check for expression, spelling and grammar
Application of knowledge of consumer decision making to food context
  • Who is target market?
  • What type of decision is it (routine, limited, extensive)?
  • Consider the stages of the decision process
Development of appealing offer
  • Consider marketing mix
    • Product
    • Price
    • Promotion
    • place
Development of an effective branding strategy
  • What is the current branding strategy, how could it be improved?
  • If there is not currently a branding strategy, recommend one.
Incorporation of appropriate strategies to interrupt routine behaviour at point of sale
  • Packaging and labelling
  • Other POP strategies 
TOTAL /100

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Assignment Solution

1. Introduction

The primary aim of the marketing function of a business enterprise is to manage a long-term relationship with customers. The business-to-consumer relationships are noncontractual, and customers do not undergo any switching cost when terminating their relationship with a business (Reinartz & Kumar, 2000). Marketing acts as an instrument to attract and retain customers in this setting. Communication enables the promotion of products and highlights different varieties available in-store. The job of a marketing manager is to choose and utilise the best marketing tools depending on the customers’ point of reference. This report details the food marketing strategy of Thomas Farms, a retail wing of Thomas Foods International selling ready-to-cook meals to customers. It offers insight into the target customers and the decision process of customers. It also explains the marketing mix, the existing branding strategy and required improvements.  The point of sale strategies adopted in ready-to-cook food marketing is also given.

2. Company Background

Launched in 2008, Thomas Farms is the retail wing of Thomas Food International (TFI), Australia's largest and family-owned meat-processor (Beef Australia, 2015). The mission of the company is to become the most preferred quality accredited supplier of meat and processed co-products in Australia and 80 countries across the globe. The consumer division of TFI, Thomas Farms, was created as a value-addition to meet its customers’ requirements. Thomas Farms assures that its products are fresh and flavourful in suitable packages that offer a better eating experience to its customer whenever they have a meal (ThomasFarms, 2013). Apart from its own outlets, its products are carried by Woolworths, Coles, Drakes, Aldi, CRG and Foodland (ThomasFarms, 2013). This marketing plan focuses on the branding strategy of Thomas Farms.

3. Internal and External Environment

 The internal organisational environment of TFI and Thomas Farms is favourable for the marketing function in the organisation.  This is evident from the 2013 overhauling of its brand and logo from T&R Pastoral to Thomas Foods International (ThomasFoods, 2013). The company gives significance to family values as part of its growth strategy. Its brand is developed to showcase uniformity and consistency across its global operations and offer a holistic approach to its marketing and branding strategy. It uses the Australian-grown and Australian-owned slogan for marketing its products to Australian consumers and uses the same to portray its meat quality to international customers.

The external market environment acts favourably to the ready meal products of Thomas Farms. A shift in the macroeconomic scenario in Australia is expected to boost the sales of ready meals products (Australian Government, 2012). From the political standpoint, food regulations and guidelines related to safety and nutrition have an impact on consumers’ food purchase decisions. Changes in consumer spending patterns with a preference for low-cost and homemade meals act as an influence. The changes in household structures and increasing income levels drive the demand for easy to cook food items. In the technological front, the growth in social media and internet and mobile services assists consumers in making informed decisions. Apart from these factors, the growing concern towards healthy eating habits and product packaging with nutritional values act as promoters for locally sourced fresh produce ready meal products.

4. Consumer Buying Decision Process

According to Australian government statistics, consumer spending on food products has increased by 13% over the last 20 years, whereas the income level has increased 36% over the same period (Ting, 2013). As Thomas Farms' customers include wholesalers, retailers and direct c, this section focuses on the buying process of grocery shoppers and food consumers.

It is observed by industry researchers that around 68% of Australian grocery shoppers adopt a fixed routine (B&T, 2014). It is identified that the grocery buyers are segmented as meal-to-meal shoppers who buy products on a daily basis, shoppers who prefer in-store experiences and ardent online shoppers. Despite the modernisation of society, Australians are reported to value family ideals in terms of food as around 60% prefer to cooking food at home with 69% preferring to have a family dinner. Based on the cooking preference of consumers, Zappits consider cooking from scratch as time-consuming and choose ready meals as an option for home cooking (RoyMorganResearch, 2016). Also, higher-income group individuals and families, as well as budgeting families, have an increasing preference towards ready meals (Australian Government, 2012).

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