Food manufacturers, supermarket chains and even the fast food giants like McDonalds have all tried the ‘where did my product come from’ tactic to either expel myths about overseas production, an overdose of preservatives, or to create a level of authenticity. The ‘fresh market updates’ we are all now seeing on TV are a prime example of Woolworths trying to break down the ‘national supermarket giant’ perception. I’d like to introduce you to one wholly Australian owned company implementing the grass roots concept so well that we could all learn from them, Woolworths and McDonalds included.

The company is called Beerenberg, and they produce a variety of jams, sauces, dressings, seasonings and other condiments. It is a family owned company based in a small farming town called Hahndorf in South Australia. The company first began their jam business through a bumper strawberry crop in the 1970’s, and ever year since it has been a success. Now the product is distributed all over the world.

The ‘grass roots’ initiative I am talking about is a concept called Provenance PathwayTM. Once you purchase a Beerenberg product, you can visit their website and type in your bar code and use by date for a complete product development history. It tells you the date your product was made, who made your product (with photos), the process they used, full product specifications, nutritional information and a Google Earth map of where the ingredients originated from. It even tells you the dimensions of the cartons the products are packaged in. You can test the Provenance PathwayTM by visiting here.

Not only is this initiative unique, but it’s real and truly authentic. It’s creating a human link to a product in a way that FCMG producers, or certainly Australian ones, have never done before.

The company has also embraced the need to maintain a strong online presence, with a blog, a flicker photo gallery, a facebook page and a series of videos on YouTube. This is much further than a lot of other FMCG producers have taken their online presence.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for FCMG producers to have a transparent online presence and to embrace their ‘grass roots’. Grocery buyers are always searching for Australian made products, and are turning to the internet more and more for product research and even grocery shopping. So it’s time that all companies take a leaf out of Beerenberg‘s book and embrace this trend.