Interview – How Australia’s Fast Food Industry has had a Face Lift

 By Lucy McConnell

In 2004 an American documentary starring Morgan Spurlock shocked the world with the adverse heath effects of fast food on the human body, as well as exposed the overwhelming influence of the fast-food giant McDonalds on American society. Twelve years down the track, Super Size Me has had a huge impact on the food industry, especially within Australia, “and peoples’ attention to what they’re eating and the importance of health and wellness has really increased” according to Alex Jamieson, health coach and chef (Held 2016).

(Forward Media 2004)

Traditionally, fast food retailers competed with each other based on cheap prices and greater value for money, however, the landscape has been transformed by rising consumer concerns for healthier alternatives, and less processed food options. Whilst several well-established chains have added healthier alternatives to their menus, this shift in consumer demand has opened up the space for new entrants, boasting fresh and healthy alternatives.

Sumo Salad is among one of the big names to enter into the Australian market, and has since achieved enormous success, expanding to not only dominate within Australia, but becoming popular in the UK, New Zealand and Dubai. Sumo Salad define themselves as “passionate, creative crusaders who want to help
people make better eating choices” (Sumo Salad 2016) and Co-Founder Luke Baylis states that “Business can’t be about money alone, it’s about making a contribution, having a purpose, and with the issues of diabetes, obesity and cancer, there’s an opportunity for SumoSalad” (Franchise Business 2013).

SumoSalad-Green-Label-MLC-Centre-Sydney-CBD-Food-Court.jpeg

(Sumo Salad 2016)

Enthused by the business model that Sumo Salad have established, I approached the manager of my local Sumo Salad Franchise, eager to hear her thoughts on Sumo Salads place in the market, and the future of the Australian Fast food scene. Liz introduced herself as a “self-professed foodie, gym going mother, with a passion for business and health” perfectly aligning herself with the well-established SumoSalad mantra, it was as if she lived and breathed the brand.

Already well aware of the effectively marketed image of Sumo Salad, I quickly shifted my questions towards the wider food market, and Sumo Salad’s success within it. “Sumo salad has been able to create this remarkable trust surrounding the brand,” she says, “The in-store experience, with fresh produce grown and displayed in-store, assures consumers of the freshness and quality of the product, making them more willing to invest in a healthier alternative to other food court options.” And effective it is, the interior design a key defining feature in the branding of the popular chain.

img_3158-1050x450

(Sumo Salad 2016)

In considering the future of the market, Liz is hopeful that she has made a very smart business decision. “Sumo Salad is still very young, only 13 years old, and already we have lines out the door every lunchtime. We certainly have taken over from where McDonalds was some years ago,” she says. “I can only imagine that this will continue to grow. In Australia we’ve had a big shift, and people are so much more aware of what is going into their body. The market will certainly become more and more saturated with chains like us, you only have to look around us now, Le Wrap next door and Soul Origin downstairs, and sushi…sushi is everywhere.”

The demand for health is certainly dominating food courts of Australia, and we will only see this increase significantly in the next 20 years. We will see a shift towards a very green and clean food court, literally with Sumo Salad leading the way, and I look forward to sampling the next health food giant to burst onto the scene.

REFERENCES

Crossfield, P. 2010, After ‘Super Size Me’: In Conversation with Morgan Spurlock, Civil Eats, 16 November, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://civileats.com/2010/11/16/after-super-size-me-in-conversation-with-morgan-spurlock/>

Dobie, K. 2012, Fast food: Burgers get fried as healthy options bite, Smart company, 18 July, Australia, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.smartcompany.com.au/finance/economy/26911-fast-food-gets-a-healthy-kick/>
Evans. M. 2011, How Fast Food Chains went on a Health Kick –And Won”, Sydney Morning Herald, 1 August, Australia, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.smh.com.au/business/how-fast-food-chains-went-on-a-health-kick-and-won-20110729-1i442.html>

Forward Media, 2004, Supersize Me Trailer, Youtube, Viewed 24 October 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1Lkyb6SU5U&gt;

Franchise Business, 2013, The salad servers: Sumo Salad 10 years on, Franchise Business, 25 March, viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.franchisebusiness.com.au/news/the-salad-servers-sumo-salad-10-years-on>

Held, L.A, 2016, Would You Like Kale With That? Big Healthy Changes Are Coming To The Fast Food Industry, Well and Good, 26 January, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/kale-healthy-changes-fast-food-industry/>

SumoSalad, 2016, SumoSalad, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://sumosalad.com/>

Westcott, B. 2014, Australia’s fast-food market is getting smaller, healthier and more diverse, The Canberra Times, 8 June, Australia, Viewed 24 October 2016, < http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/australias-fastfood-market-is-getting-smaller-healthier-and-more-diverse-20140501-zr2j7.html>

 

 

 

 

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One thought on “Interview – How Australia’s Fast Food Industry has had a Face Lift

  1. This is so accurate, the Australian food industry has shifted drastically in the last years, with multiculturalism being a huge aspect in Australian culture and new cuisines being introduced, food chains will have alot more competition. Specifically the Sushi Hub restaurant outside central, it has lines outside all the time during lunch compared to when I check at KFC just down the road.

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