The aims of this Thesis were: firstly, to analyse and evaluate the size, structure and probable future influences affecting the domestic and export marketing activities of the Australian Prepared Stockfeed Industry; and secondly, to analyse the domestic and export marketing practices of firms within the Industry in terms of industrial and export marketing theory.
It was found that output of the Industry has averaged 1875000 tonnes annually, valued at approximately $200 million since 1974/75, and that less than 1% of output is exported. Industry ownership is concentrated, the largest twenty firms together producing more than 60% of the total value of output, while the number of firms in the Industry declined by over 20% between 1968 and 1977. Because overall demand is almost static, it is considered that further supplier concentration is almost inevitable, as major firms seek growth by takeover to increase market share. The larger firms have generally diversified concentrically to more effectively combine stockfeed manufacture with related primary and secondary industrial production and distribution.
Annual exports have declined since 1973/74, from 1.2% to 0.7% of Industry output. For reasons of price competition and import replacement on most current and prospective markets, there seems little likelihood of exports from Australia increasing either in quantity or significance during the foreseeable future.
Within Australia, most sales of prepared stockfeeds are direct from factory to intensive piggeries or poultry units operated for profit. The pricing policy of major firms is oligopolistic, with emphasis on cost containment. Firms within the Industry seek expansion by product modification, superior client servicing and takeover, as opportunities arise. Australian stockfeed manufacturers do not appear to be following systematic export strategies. Rather, foreign marketing is supplementary and ad hoc. The main processed animal foodstuffs exported, are pig and poultry concentrates. This contrasts with the dominant position of balanced rations within Australia, Freight minimisation is a major export cost consideration. Prices are quoted to foreign buyers on the basis of desired margin on factory cost, rather than according to what the relevant market will bear. Most Australian exporters appoint agents as their exclusive distributors within designated 'sole merchant districts'. Expenditure on promotion constitutes but a minor proportion of total marketing costs.
Firms contemplating export expansion need to adopt a flexible foreign marketing strategy capable of exploiting occasional opportunities in non-traditional markets. Essentials for successful entry, to any market segment by individual firms, are, access to direct shipping links, the ability to price competitively, and the capacity to ensure reliable delivery of known and consistent quality products.