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Nassim covers the accounting and tax rounds for BRW, as well as general business news. She previously worked for The Age newspaper covering general news, state politics and economics.

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Food groups must work to win shelf space from Coles and Woolies’ private label brands, says Sabrands boss Dan Presser

Published 25 September 2013 11:38, Updated 27 September 2013 08:21

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Food groups must work to win shelf space from Coles and Woolies’ private label brands, says Sabrands boss Dan Presser

Supermarkets expect a return on their shelf space, food manufacturer Dan Presser says. Photo: Louie Douvis

Supermarket retailers Woolworths and Coles don’t need to give products they compete with better shelf space than their own private label brands, says Sabrands chairman Dan Presser.

He says the onus is on food companies to successfully market their own brands to entice consumers to buy it, and thereby convince the supermarkets to give them more prominent shelf space.

But the man who in April bought the iconic Rosella tomato sauce brand, says when it comes to local brands competing against foreign brands, the supermarkets need to play fair.

Presser says he wants to make Rosella a top brand again. Apart from sourcing ingredients for Rosella products from local farmers, and using local manufacturing plants, he’s also working to get the major supermarkets on board.

Rosella sauces, soups, chutneys and relishes are returning to supermarkets across Australia, as major retailers including Woolworths, Coles and IGA supermarkets now stock the product.

“We need the same shelf prominence in supermarkets that is given to foreign-owned brands,” Presser says. “I have started talking to the supermarkets about that already, and am happy to say that Coles, Woolworths and IGA are totally supportive of what we’re trying to do.”

Presser has been in the food business for decades. Sabrands, his private family company, was founded in 1977 and markets premium fast-moving consumer goods. Aside from Rosella, his other key companies include the Sunraysia fruit juice brand, Devondale juice brand and O-Cedar cleaning products.

“A lot of people believe that you put a product on the shelf in the supermarket and that’s it,” he says. “First of all it’s their [the supermaket’s] space, not your space.

“I was told when I first started out in this business by a supermarket guy that, ‘if we give you the shelf space, it’s not our job to sell your product for you or create your brand for you. We’ve given you shelf space on which we expect a return. It’s your responsibility to create your brand and ensure the consumers come into our supermarkets and ask for your brand so we can maximise the shelf space we give you’.”

He says Sabrands spends much time and money marketing its brands on television, radio and social media. It’s about to spend millions on marketing Rosella to Australian consumers again.

Rosella, which began in 1895 when founders H R McCracken and T J Press started making jams and preserving fruits in a Carlton back yard, has changed hands six times in the past decade.

Sabrands purchased Rosella in April for an undisclosed sum after its former owner, Gourmet Food Holdings, went into receivership late last year. The demise of its previous owner meant the Sydney factory in Seven Hills shut down last year with 120 job losses.

Presser’s now working on a business and marketing strategy to make Rosella a profitable company again.

READ MORE ABOUT ROSELLA IN NEXT WEEK’S BRW

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