The Australian New Crops Newsletter

Issue No 10, July 1998.

NOTICE: Hard copies of the Australian New Crops Newsletter are available from the publisher, Dr Rob Fletcher. Details of availability are included in the Advice on Publications Available.

5. Do Our Own Marketing Research for new crops

5.1 DOOR marketing information booklet

The First edition of the DOOR Marketing Manual has been released and can be obtained from the following sources:

Ms Sammy Ringer
Australian Bushfoods Magazine
38 Mountain View Road
Maleny Qld 4552
Telephone: 07 5494 3812
Facsimile: 07 5494 3506
International facsimile: 61 7 5494 3506
Web Site:

Mrs Kim Fletcher
Focus on Herbs Consultancy
PO Box 80
Launceston Tas 7250
Telephone: 03 6330 1493
Facsimile: 03 6330 1498
International facsimile: 61 3 6330 1493
Web site:

David Noel
Granny Smith's Bookshop
PO Box 27 Subiaco WA 6008
Telephone: 08 9388 1965
Facsimile: 08 9388 1852
International facsimile: 618 9388 1852
Web Site:

Price: AUD30 plus AUD6.50 postage and handling within Australia

Australian Bushfoods Magazine will also be offering the DOOR Marketing Manual for AUD62 including postage and handling as part of a Bushfood Kit.

Preface to the first edition

The major difficulty faced by any new crops researcher or developer, any public agency distributing funds or any government instrumentality responsible for new crops R&D lies in determining which new crop has the most potential. The question most needing an answer is:

Which new crop warrants investment of research and development funding?

Attempts in the past have been made to identify 'best bets' so that attention can be directed to 'promising' new crop industries, in preference to others. Unfortunately, the numbers of issues which need consideration in such analyses are almost endless and the available information is scant and unreliable.

The outcomes from analyses of 'best bets' can so easily be prejudiced by issues unrelated to the long-term viability of a particular industry. Such issues have included the minimisation of income tax liabilities, the publicising of regional development or the curiosity of the public.

As a result, relatively unimportant issues have attracted the attention of entrepreneurs, members of the media, politicians, funding agencies and the public. At the same time, crucial matters, such as the marketability of a new crop product or the existence of a threatening disease which can render a new crop unprofitable are paid little or no attention as the hype around a new crop builds.

Even if an otherwise comprehensive analysis of a new crop's potential were able to be carried out, the results can often be rendered invalid by seemingly innocuous events, such as:

These difficulties have prompted the recommendations for the commercialisation of new crops included in the DOOR marketing information booklet. Using this process, the commercialisation process commences under a stringent set of guidelines and responsibilities.

This approach requires members of the new crops industry to identify those crops they wish to develop and charges the research agencies with the responsibility of facilitating the process of commercialisation.

The determination of the marketability of the new crops product and the economic viability of the associated industry needs to be determined in collaboration with all stakeholders, prior to widespread field evaluation.

Initially, the choice of new crops of interest should be made by members of the new crops industry who are willing to invest time and money in these crops. The decision of the crop itself can be assisted by such initiatives as the New Crops Options/Emerging Opportunities in Agriculture events, the Australian New Crops Newsletter, the Australian New Crops Web Page, the Australian New Crops Workers Directory, etc.

After appreciating the high risk and long term nature of any new crops project and establishing the ownership of intellectual property, those commercialising a new crop product need to carry out marketing research, which is the reason for establishing the DOOR-Marketing course.

Marketing research for new crop industries should be viewed as an opportunity to:

The DOOR-Marketing course has been developed to assist with these objectives and has come to fruition following requests from the new crops industry, made during the Business Meeting at the First Australian New Crops Conference in July 1996 and from many of the enquirers contacting the New Crops Group at the University of Queensland Gatton College.

The Do Our Own Research (DOOR) concept was initiated by Dr Mal Hunter, formerly the Horticulture Centre Co-ordinator, Redlands Research Station, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Cleveland.

The DOOR approach demonstrated how a vast array of individual problems in the nursery industry could be addressed by individual nursery operators carrying out their own research, in association with trained facilitators.

The New Crops Group at Gatton publicised the DOOR concept to members of the new crop industry through the Australian New Crops Newsletter in 1995 (Issue #4: 5). It was apparent at the time that DOOR principles could provide an approach for carrying out preliminary marketing research in the vast array of potential new crop industries.

Merely growing a new crop, without knowing how its product will be sold, is a hobby and not a business.

The DOOR Marketing Information Booklet has been developed to accompany the DOOR-Marketing course yet has also been designed as a stand-alone primer in the principles of new crops marketing. However, the benefits to individuals of considering these principles in a mutually supportive environment of like-minded people should not be under-estimated.

DOOR-Marketing is not intended to replace the need for a full marketing or business plan for the new crop industry. However, it is intended to assist new crop developers in determining whether their selected new crop product warrants investment in such plans.

5.2 The aims of DOOR marketing

The purpose of the DOOR-Marketing course is to provide members of new crop industries with a procedure to follow in determining whether a potential new crop product is marketable.

Once the course has been completed, it should be obvious whether a new crop product warrants full marketing and business plans or should be viewed as uncommercial.

The course is designed to encourage participants to formulate their own understanding of possible answers for the following questions:

5.3 The learning approach behind DOOR marketing

The learning approach adopted during the DOOR-Marketing course is not the conventional teacher/student approach, which is based on the assumption that the teacher is an expert and therefore has knowledge which needs to be imparted to the student.

Instead with DOOR marketing:

5.4 Contents of the DOOR marketing information booklet


Aims of DOOR-Marketing



The Learning Approach






What is a New Crop?



Planning for New Crops



Choosing New Crops



New Crops as a Component of our Farming System



What Marketing Information do we need?



The Thirteen Steps for Commercialising New Crops



Sources of Information



Theory of Marketing New Crops

Customers' Needs
The Marketing Chain
The Product Life Cycle
Industry Analysis
Market Growth


Analysing New Crops Marketing

Market analysis
Strategic options


SWOT analysis



Market Analysis Case Histories

Echinacea angustifolia



Seeking Information
Internet Search Engines
Internet Marketing Links
Reference Books
Marketing Clippings
Bushfood Readings
Do Our Own Marketing

5.5 Personal Responses to the DOOR Workshops

Four years ago I planted out my bushfood orchard. I had researched information on what to grow, orchard design and plant availability. I watched my plants grow from tiny seedlings to quite respectable looking trees and shrubs that are now about to bear their first commercial crop.

My species list was based on 'expert' advice from orchard consultants and nurseries on what would grow and what would sell.

At the time of planting I also had a rough idea of what I was going to do with my harvested fruit - sell it direct to a processor and/or find my own niche markets. Allowing for a 50% reduction in the then current price, I had a viable business.

My intuition was my guiding force and my approach was first to grow the plants and then to find a buyer for my produce, whom I had no doubt would be waiting for me out there somewhere.

The two day DOOR (Do Our Own Research) Marketing Workshop has drastically changed my view.

The DOOR Marketing system has been developed to overcome the difficulties in conducting an objective and analytical assessment of a new product's market potential. The system uses strategic training, education and research systems.

Up to this point, I had not regarded bushtucker as a new crop, but after the first day of the workshop I was in no doubt that the bushfood industry was very much a new industry. The way I had to view my trees and their market potential had to be very different: my way of thinking had to change. Existing systems for marketing do not apply: establishing and marketing a new crop requires a different approach.

We worked through the two day workshop answering several questions and we were then able to reach a conclusion as to the economic viability of growing and marketing one particular product.

I am still going through each of the crops I am growing, answering the questions learnt from the workshop. The past four years have answered the question regarding whether a plant will grow well at my site.

However had the DOOR workshop been available at the time of my original planting, my selection of plants would have been very different from what is now growing in my orchard.

Stanley Jackson
Workshop Coordinator
Australian Rainforest Bushfood Industry Association
PO Box 21
Tyalgum NSW 2484
Telephone: 02 6679 3666
Facsimile: 02 6679 3019

Another personal response to the DOOR workshops

Thank you so much for a very inspirational and fun weekend. I learned a lot and I am still digesting the food for thought placed on my intellectual palate.

...I have found that all strategic leaps - introducing novel products and gaining a profitable market for them, are peppered with extreme high risk and costs. Statistics tell us that of all successful innovations, only 10% are in the strategic leaps category; while 90% are due to improved practices of existing products and processes.

Therefore in those years of learning, I suggest that risk focus is one important strategy in the minimisation of potential disaster. Too often in the past I have found myself catching up on one crisis after another, chasing my dreams. Now I define a dream and design my worst disaster and plan what I would do about it.

The reality is often in between the two. When disaster strikes, I have resources that fall into place without emotions and stress distorting the options. It could be called anticipated new crops quality management...or surviving the unknown odds!

So far this is working for me.

Sibylla Hess-Buschmann,
Australian Rainforest Bushfood Industry Association
PO Box 189, Nimbin NSW 2480
Telephone: 02 6689 7433
Facsimile: 02 6689 7565

5.6 DOOR marketing: priorities as viewed by the participants

Marketing comprises a number of elements, often referred to as the 'P' words, e.g. product, place, promotion, price, people, profit etc.

A major brainstorming session conducted during the first morning of the two day DOOR Marketing course asks the question: What marketing information do we need?

Answers which focus attention on marketing and economic aspects of successful commercialisation are then grouped according to their common themes and voted on by the group to determine their importance to the participants.

An accumulated list of answers received in several DOOR Marketing courses follows:

Priorities (from DOOR marketing participants)

Accuracy of available information
advantages of our product over competitors and substitutes
advice available
agronomic information available
agronomic understanding available
alternative uses of crop
availability of capital
availability of finance
availability of plants
availability of processing facilities

Broadacre mechanised production at all stages to reduce costs
business plan

Can the funds be lost?
choosing the right idea
competition from too many growers
competition on price
complementary industries
consumer preferences/demand
continuity of supply
cooperation for use of facilities
cost and effort to process the crop
cost of marketing
cost to produce the crop
critical volume required for an industry

cultural/social requirements

current growers
customer service

Define what the business is
delivery of product
develop information resources
distance to market
distribution chain

Economic and demographic factors
environmental aspects
estimated returns: are they realistic?
existing markets

Factors affecting demand
failure of market segments
feasibility study of the market
financial projections/returns
focus on the main customers
funds being risked
future demand

Grower reluctance to develop crops before the market commits to a price and quantity
guarantee quality

How and where will the product be processed
how do costs compare with returns
how much information is available

Identification of niche markets
identification of substitutes
identify buyers
identify existing markets
import/export price
improving the product
industry intelligence
industry regulations on production
is it addictive?

Keeping ability of crop

Latent demand
legal/environmental/planning barriers
length of production life
likely profitability
limitations faced by grower
limitations imposed by the market
location relative to markets
long term or short term industry

Maintaining regular supply
market (public awareness)
market price
market projections
market size
market's reluctance to accept the product before supply and quality can be guaranteed
mechanisation costs/labour/quality
monitoring and controlling finance


Optimum growing conditions
other growers
our personal capabilities
overseas or niche market in Australia

perception and robustness (adverse publicity)
plant breeding
plant breeding available
plant cultural/history/heritage
political environment
portability of skills
postharvest handling
potential domestic/international markets
precise product in demand
prediction of market trends
presentation of product
previous research
price competition
price of substitutes
price sensitivity
producing a regular supply of product
producing quality products
production time to produce crop
production/establishment costs
production/health/environmental hazards
promotional strategies

quality assurance programs
quality control
quality of products
quality specifications of market

Rapid identification of problems
regularity of demand
reliability of the market
risks in growing this crop

Scale-up/lead-time financing
sharing information
size and sustainability of the market
skill level needed
skills available
sources of support/assistance
special production equipment or structures

Target market
technology transfer
time available for the business

Uncertainty of returns

What are the similar or competing products?
what is the market price?
what is the market size or share?
what is the product used for?
what is the target product?
when is the market window?
where are potential clients?
where do you get your initial stock?
who are competitors?
who are involved in the industry?
who are potential clients?
who is going to buy it?
who is the end-user?
work input

Rankings for three groups of participants in the DOOR Marketing course have been as follows:

Group A:

1. Price: supply/demand
2. Product description
3. Promotion/advertising
Market/size/growth potential/trends
4. Product development/complementary industries/quality control
5. Market segmentation: demo-graphics/culture/trends
Extent of value-adding
6. Packaging/processing
Industry development
Substitution of products/market share

Group B:

1. Market size and segmentation
2. Promotion and advertising
3. Product
4. Price
5. Distribution

Group C:

1. Market size, current and future demand
Prices/quality (equal rank)
2. Who will buy the crop?
3. Competitive advantage
4. Consumer awareness
5. Use
6. Market access
7. Processing
8. Existing market information
9. Benefit perceived
10. Potential for cooperation

A survey conducted among 130 potential participants in the DOOR Marketing course ranked 12 potential topics as follows, with the average ranks in brackets:

1. Identifying the target market (2.85)
2. Identifying a product's potential use(s) (3.50)
3. Measuring existing and future demand (4.60)
4. Identifying existing and potential prices (4.76)
5. Identifying substitute and competing products (5.78)
6. Identifying the market entry strategy (5.84)
7. Identifying the distribution strategy (7.14)
8. Measuring the impact of future supplies (7.42)
9. Identifying key industry contacts (7.56)
10. Identifying potential collaborators (7.95)
11. Organising a promotional plan (8.11)
12. Monitoring supermarket shelves in the US (11.71)

Any claims made by authors in the Australian New Crops Newsletter are presented by the Editors in good faith. Readers would be wise to critically examine the circumstances associated with any claims to determine the applicability of such claims to their specific set of circumstances. This material can be reproduced, with the provision that the source and the author (or editors, if applicable) are acknowledged and the use is for information or educational purposes. Contact with the original author is probably wise since the material may require updating or amendment if used in other publications. Material sourced from the Australian New Crops Newsletter cannot be used out of context or for commercial purposes not related to its original purpose in the newsletter

Contact: Dr Rob Fletcher, School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland Gatton College, 4345; Telephone: 07 5460 1311 or 07 5460 1301; Facsimile: 07 5460 1112; International facsimile: 61 7 5460 1112; Email:

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originally created by: GK; latest update 6 June 1999 by: RF