Coles new world? The age of the foodie

Recent data is showing that Coles sales figures are on the rise. The latest figures indicate that Coles saw an average growth in sales of 5.6 per cent to $945 million in the second half of 2016, well above that of its main competitor Woolworths according to The Sydney Morning Herald 2016. While one reason for the increasing figures can be attributed to Coles’ price cuts on key products to rival those of its key competitor Woolworths and global discount supermarket chain Aldi – not everyone seems to be choosing Coles for price alone. Coles has also played an involved role in influencing consumer behaviour and feeding interest in the gourmet home cooking trend.

According to Blackwell et al (2001), consumer behaviour can be described as the activities people undertake when attaining, consuming and disposing of products and services. Since its key partnerships with grossly popular Australian cooking shows My Kitchen Rules and MasterChef, Coles has seen its sales increase. Coles marketing and store development director, Simon McDowell told B&T Magazine in April 2015 that since MasterChef began screening in Australia with Coles as its main food sponsor, the partnership has “been inspiring and influencing Australians to feed their loved ones delicious and extraordinary food” with many choosing to shop for these ingredients at the supermarket chain. Why? Because they know they will find the ingredients they need to replicate these dishes.

These shows have encouraged everyday Australians to realise that they can cook extraordinary meals at home, especially if fellow Australian home cooks appearing on these shows are able to do so. They have managed to inspire us which has changed our shopping and cooking habits. Who remembers Adriano Zumbo’s Croquembouce challenge? Or what about Curtis Stones regular appearances on the show?

Source: 2014

Curtis Stone on MasterChef

We all seem to be clamouring to replicate the dishes that well renowned chefs are challenging contestants to make and we want to get involved too. IBISWorld General Manager Robert Bryant told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2010 that Coles has seen a 1400 per cent spike in the sale of “unusual” or “gourmet” ingredients being purchased from their stores. Coles are clearly meeting the demands of consumers’ newfound desires to cook.

Further to this, Coles has embraced our response to celebrity chefs hand has even included two brand ambassadors in its clever marketing campaigns to further associate our love of food and chefs with its brand by signing the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Australian Curtis Stone to feature in the majority of its marketing campaigns. While Woolworths has followed suit with the recruiting of Jamie Oliver, Coles has done one thing differently. With over forty percent of all groceries purchased at Coles, an IBISWorld report documented in the Sydney Morning Herald (2013) that the key difference is that Coles has combined our new found passion for home cooking, celebrity chefs and cooking competitions and associated all three under its brand and it is reaping the rewards.





Coles have managed to use the three stages of the consumer purchase process to their advantage. According to Iacobucci (2013) the three stages of purchase are as outlined in the diagram below:

Source: Adapted from Iacobucci (2014)

Source: Adapted from Iacobucci (2014)

Coles’ partnerships with both Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, and their use of celebrity chefs have ensured that when home cooks see recipes being cooked on their favourite shows they chose to replicate them. As Coles supplies the shows with ingredients they know that they will find what they are after at their local supermarket, make the decision to shop there to purchase their ingredients and tell their friends and family about it. This new generation of home foodies is even driving product demand as soon as an item is shown on TV. According to Smart Company (2010) the consumer demand for items after they appear on My Kitchen Rules or MasterChef can increase significantly such as fillet steak (up 56%) and red cabbage up (89%).

The new age foodie is driving sales for fresh produce up, and clearly Coles is embracing this new world!

By egrigori85



Author unknown (2013) Coles and Woolworths go head to head with top chefs, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 December.

Author unknown (2014) Is Christy Tania MasterChef’s meanest Dessert chef since Adriano Zumbo?, 26 May.

Author unknown (2015) Ten announces details and sponsorship of new MasterChef series, B&T Magazine, 28 April.

Blackwell, R, Miniard, P. W and Engel, J. F (2001) Consumer Behaviour, Ninth Edition, Thompson Learning.

Hunter, T (2010) The MasterChef effect, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 22.

Iacobucci, D (2014) Marketing Management (MM4), South-Western, Cengage Learning, Mason.

Low, C (2016) Wesfarmers’ fresh strategy to safeguard Coles’ growth, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February.


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