Researchers from The University of Adelaide teamed up with Griffith University to conduct a buyer virtual engagement study for Chinese consumers at Macadamias Australia in Bundaberg.
Over 43,000 participants logged in to the ninety-minute live-streaming event to watch Chinese social media and radio personality, Eric Ho, walk through the orchards, the visitor experiences, the on-site café, and the processing facility.
With the help of Macadamias Australia Director, Janelle Gerry, Eric spoke to the audience about Australia’s native nut, the organisation’s value-added range, the macadamia industry, the Steinhardt family’s multi-generational farming history, and how the macadamias go from tree to table in their vertically integrated, carbon-negative business.
Dr Di Zeng and Associate Professor Alec Zuo from The University of Adelaide organised the activity as part of a larger project, awarded under the Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE) scheme through the Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (DAFF).
“The project aims to strengthen small-scale agricultural exports to China by evaluating two innovative marketing channels,” Associate Professor Zuo said.
“At the end of this activity, participants were given a cash incentive to complete a survey. We’ll study how many participants choose to spend the incentive on the advertised product and evaluate the impacts of a virtual agritourism event on stimulating exports to China.
“The project will also assess the feasibility of promoting premium Australian food and beverage products as corporate gifts in the fast-growing gift market in China, helping small exporters enter the Chinese market using an alternative channel.”
Griffith’s agribusiness expert, Associate Professor Robin E Roberts, collaborated with The University of Adelaide on the project.
“China is Australia’s top market for agricultural exports, yet the benefits to small-scale exporters are still limited,” Associate Professor Roberts said.
“Agritourism relies heavily on on-site experiences to engage consumers but given the current travel restrictions we’ve had to find more creative ways to attract the Chinese market.”
The team intend to host a similar activity at a second Australian agritourism site later this year. The project’s findings will be presented to key stakeholders at the end of project workshop in the first half of 2023.