Monday, February 10, 2014

SPC Sunday and other matters

I have not been to Kenya or, indeed, anywhere in Africa. Nairobi For that reason, The Resident Judge of Port Phillip's trip to Kenya interested me. She has started a special trip blog, The Land of Increasing Sunshine, to record her experiences. I, for one, will read with interest.

Ramana has been to see Philomena and very much enjoyed it. I went to see it with some reluctance; I am a little over-burdened now with this type of tale. As always, Judi Dench was marvelous. Is it possible for her to be otherwise?, and she really drew me into the movie. Segueing, I also find that Ramana and I have a shared love for The Jaguar. The post includes an embedded ad that I enjoyed. Very British. The segue link is, of course, Judi Dench in her roll as M.

Over on Facebook, Caroline Chapman decided top take part in SPC Sunday. This campaign to support Australian canning company SPC apparently began in Newcastle (SPC Sunday campaign began in Merewether) and then went viral. The idea was to use some of SPC's canned fruits in a dish.

Save SPC Caroline's experience is instructive. On the left, you will see the only SPC products stocked by Woolworths in Armidale. Not a fruit can in sight. Clearly, Caroline bought the products anyway.

In the discussion on the future of SPC, discussion focused on things like union negotiated pay and conditions (that's bad) and the dangers of industry assistance (that's bad too).

In considering these issues, it helps to dig down.

A long time ago now, I complained in a blog post about the way in which the supermarket chain brand products were reducing my choices as a consumer. I said at the time that I was refusing to buy store brands.

I have tried to stick to that, but its very hard. A week or so back, I went into my local Woolworth's store. Among other things, I wanted to buy some bottled or canned fruit for breakfast. Golden Circle was still there, but this time I didn't want pineapple. There was nothing else on the shelves except store brands. I came out without buying anything.

The idea of an SPC Sunday may sound a bit silly. But in the end, when you are dealing with a partial monopsony, the only way to force change lies in consumer choice. Once you get to full monopsony, change is impossible because you don't have choice. So this week, I will try to buy SPC even if I have to travel.    


I went down to Coles at Eastgardens and they had SPC! A lot in fact. I bought some. 

Postscript 2

I quote from the Sydney Morning Herald:

The federal government may have denied SPC Ardmona a $25 million assistance package but shoppers have pulled out their wallets to support the fruit-packing company.

Managing director Peter Kelly said sales over the past week had increased by "more than 50 per cent", helped in part by a social media campaign that encouraged Australians to buy the company's products and share pictures of them online.

“The Shepparton community and our workers have been overwhelmed by this amazing support and have expressed their heartfelt thanks to everyone who has been involved,” Mr Kelly said.

“This has been an incredible example of the power of social media in giving people the opportunity to rally behind something in which they believe.”

The rise began before Sunday's campaign. SPC Sunday seems part of a broader consumer reaction. Quite remarkable, really, and very heartening. SPC needs to build on this. If I were Coca Cola Amatil I would roll out an advertising campaign next week thanking people with lots of shots of fruit and grateful farmers. 



Rummuser said...

I am thinking of risking seeing Saving Mr. Banks this week.

Jim Belshaw said...

I haven't seen it yet, Ramana, but I believe that its very good.

Anonymous said...

Idle thoughts on the SPC saga, as I read your post:

1 $25M - why don't they crowd-source the funds; it's only a dollar each.

2. The government won't help because it's a sort of wedge into further assistance. Can you make baked beans or tomatos into wedge shapes?

3. If it's non-touristy that differentiates, what about SPC starting a cannery tour? One could compare the process of canning with watching brown coloured goop become a "glass and a half". Also, they need to copyright the red of their labels; I seem to remember this was important to Cadbury.

4. Good thing, Jim, that you were able to buy at Eastlakes - otherwise your reputation as a locavore would be shredded.

5. Must see if my local IGA has cans of monopsony. (And actually, that sounds like an old Japanese record player - mine used to have a switch on it for mono and stereo.

6. What would chocolate flavoured baked beans taste like?


Anonymous said...

Also, SPC should give thought to gaining recognition as being located in a "Food Desert":

USDA, Treasury and HHS have defined a food desert as a census tract with a substantial share of residents who live in low-income areas that have low levels of access to a grocery store or healthy, affordable food retail outlet

And then there's reducing government regulatory burdens. Try this exercise:

Get your can of SPC baked beans out of the cupboard, and try to estimate the number of regulations involved in getting that can onto your table - from the manufacture of the can itself to the allowable farming practices (insecticides and such) to transport, to labelling content, food colouring numbers, gst collection/calculation/exemption, obesity concerns,....

It's a nightmare probably numbering in the '000's.


Jim Belshaw said...

Good morning, kvd. It's good to see you up and about. Now where do I begin in responding?

I am absolutely sure that the regulations that a can of baked been or fruit must surmount to get to the shelves is in the thousands. None of this just make and sell rubbish.

A correction. It was Eastgardens not Eastlakes where I finally got my can. It was Eastlakes that didn't have it! And on crowd funding, without knowing SPC's sales, I suspect that customers have actually delivered that $25 million via extra sales.

Now you wouldn't really want to buy a can of monopsony, although you might have no choice if you live in a food desert. Its likely to be grossly overpriced.