Student Research FAQ
Beerenberg Farm has proved a popular research topic for students from schools, TAFE and Universities. Until now, we have tried to reply individually to each request for information. However, the number of such requests has increased to the point that unfortunately, we can no longer do this. As an alternative we have developed this FAQ section which contains answers that may be helpful in your project. As time permits, we will update this section with answers to newly posted questions.
HOW DOES BEERENBERG MARKET ITS PRODUCTS?
Beerenberg has adopted a 'brand position' for its products. Our position is 'Up-market value for money'. From this position statement we can then make day to day marketing decisions on issues such as advertising, promotion, packaging, pricing and so on which will have a consistent theme and will hopefully reflect where we see ourselves in the market place.
WHAT MARKETING ENVIRONMENTS DOES BEERENBERG OPERATE IN?
We operate in an extremely competitive environment, both within Australia and overseas. In Australia, we have strong competition from the foreign owned multinationals who 'pour money into the supermarket chains' to buy shelf space and promote their products. As a small business we cannot hope to compete with this activity. Even if we could, it would be counter productive to maintaining our previously stated market position. Beerenberg does not aim at becoming 'mass-market'. Rather, we will continue with our objective of making good value for money products, which may cost a bit more, but will give the consumer a taste treat.
We also operate in an environment significantly influenced by legislation and regulations. Some examples are labelling laws and food manufacturing regulations.
Food trends and eating habits also impact on our markets. We need to adapt to the way people have their meals and to what is considered 'healthy'.
Terrorism and health epidemics eg SARS would also impact on Beerenberg, because many of our products are tourism related.
HAS AUSTRALIA'S CHANGING MIGRATION PATTERNS INFLUENCED BEERENBERG?
Beerenberg could not exist without taking into account the influences of Australian consumers. Most of our products reflect and cater to traditional Anglo-Saxon eating habits. While more recent migration is influencing eating patterns generally, changes tend to be gradual and can generally be worked into our product development program.
HOW DOES BEERENBERG HANDLE CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS?
Fortunately, we have very few complaints, but when someone does have a concern we take it very seriously. As much as possible we try and deal with it face to face. That is, wherever possible we visit the customer and we follow a standard procedure to ensure we deal with the issue thoroughly. It is also a priority to retrieve the product concerned, as it may provide a clue(s) that we can learn from.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TOURISM TO BEERENBERG?
Beerenberg's origins are closely linked with those of the adjacent village of Hahndorf. The farm was settled by one of the 50 German families that first came to Hahndorf in 1839. Hahndorf has evolved as one of South Australia's most popular tourist towns and Beerenberg has been significant in this outcome. Each jar of Beerenberg product makes reference to its Hahndorf origins and the larger ones give some historical background. We see our position as unique in Australian food marketing. We are a significant food processing operation, based on a working farm that has remained in the same family for 170 years. Our products are sold all over the world and present our history to our customers. We want people to see this concept for themselves, because to have an appreciation of what we are about helps people to understand why Beerenberg products are better. Thus, we promote ourselves as a tourist destination.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE EXPORT SALES?
The short answer is 'very'. Since we started exporting our products in 1987, export sales have grown to 35% of our total turnover. We put a lot of effort into ensuring our products are suitable for end users in our overseas markets. Sometimes special labelling is required and we have made special formulations/labels etc for some customers. The value of the Australian dollar also impacts on our export sales. When our dollar increases in value, it makes our products more expensive in some overseas markets.
SE Asia, China and Japan are our main export markets and we are currently putting a lot of effort into developing sales in China, as our single serve packs are well suited to their tourism market.
BEERENBERG - THE NAME?
We adopted the name because it celebrates the German heritage of the Paech family who settled in Hahndorf, South Australia, in 1839. The name is German and means "Berry Hill". This name was registered as a trademark in 1974. Our Managing Director is Anthony Paech who is one of the sixth generation of the Paech family at Hahndorf.
WHERE CAN I BUY BEERENBERG PRODUCTS?
Please refer to the Where to Buy page on this website. This covers Australia. Overseas enquiries are dealt with on an individual basis.
ABOUT BEERENBERG FARM?
Most of our products are made in our own factory on Beerenberg Farm. The farm is 100HA adjacent to the small rural town of Hahndorf, which is 25km from Adelaide. Hahndorf is located in the Adelaide Hills and enjoys a high rainfall and cooler climate most suitable for growing fruit and vegetables. Hahndorf is one of the most popular day tourist destinations in South Australia.
WHAT FRUIT IS GROWN ON BEERENBERG FARM?
Strawberries have been grown on Beerenberg Farm since 1969. Beerenberg is a supplier to the retail market in South Australia and a major supplier of "Pick your Own" strawberries as well as for our jam production. We also grow Satsuma Plums for jam and sauce as well as quinces for jelly. Cherries are grown for the fresh market. We also grow gherkins, chillies, rose petals, dill and sweetcorn.
WHO DO WE SELL TO?
We have a big range of products that we sell to leading supermarkets and gourmet stores throughout Australia. An important percentage of our production is supplied in portion control packages in glass, aluminium foil and plastic packages for distribution to hotels, airlines and cruise lines throughout Australia and overseas. They are used in over 300 four and five star hotels throughout the Asia Pacific region.
WHAT COUNTRIES DOES BEERENBERG EXPORT TO?
About 30% of our production is exported. We sell to importers and distributors in Malaysia, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Korea, Fiji, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, Nederlands, Mauritius, India, Vanuatu, Maldives and Brunei. We seem to be gaining new customers frequently.
THE SHELF LIFE OF JAMS?
All our products have a best before date printed on the label. We use two years in advance of the production date of jam, even though jam will remain in perfect condition for many years beyond that.
Jam is made from fruit and sugar. Pectin is added where there is insufficient pectin in the fruit to set the product. Pectin is natural vegetable gum that is extracted from fruit. The other additive is food acid (citric acid usually) to balance the acidity of product. We do not use artificial colours and preservatives in our jam.
Beerenberg is a family business with all of our family working together. Grant and Carol Paech are the founders of the business. Grant is Chairman of Directors and Carol is a Director and Financial Controller. Son Anthony is Managing Director of Beerenberg Pty Ltd. He also manages export sales. Robert is Farm Manager. He runs all the fruit and vegetables on Beerenberg Farm and also looks after our herd of beef cattle. Daughter Sally is the Marketing Manager.
Most of our 50 employees live locally in the Adelaide Hills. They are people with an appreciation for country life and are very supportive of our rural enterprise and most become long term employees. We have a distribution warehouse in Adelaide and employ Adelaide people for our sales team.
WHERE DO WE OBTAIN FRUIT THAT WE DO NOT GROW?
There are fruit and vegetables that we do not grow on Beerenberg Farm because our climate is too cool for optimum quality. Citrus fruit, apricots, tomatoes and onions are sourced from the warm climate Riverland where they are grown under irrigation from the Murray River. Blackberries and raspberries are grown in cooler mountain valleys in Victoria. We purchase the best quality light amber honey from Australian beekeepers. Check out our Provencance Pathway to find out where we source all our main ingredients from for each product.
WHAT OTHER PRODUCTS ARE MADE BY BEERENBERG?
We also make a range of pickled products, sauces, mustards, chutneys and mint jelly, marinades, honey, salad dressings, seafood sauce, and extra virgin olive oil.