As this year’s winner of the Ask Afrika Orange Index Awards, Woolworths Food has proven itself as a brand that can consistently reinvent itself to keep pace with local and international consumer trends.
Now in its 16th year, the Orange Index has become an important benchmark to measure the highest levels of service delivery among players in specific industries, allowing companies to assess their own service delivery against that of their competitors.
In the changing economic, technological and retail landscape competitor insight is critical to the bottom line. The Orange Index is a credible, scientifically verified resource that allows businesses to identify areas of strength and weakness and to push themselves to next level of customer delight and brand loyalty.
This year, Woolworths Food not only won the Food Retail section of the Awards but was the overall winner, outperforming competitors in its own sector as well as across all private sector customer services industries.
Said Glenda Philp, Head of Brand Communications for Woolworths Food: “Woolworths Food business maintains its food authority credentials by constantly striving to offer customers best-in-class, convenient, high-quality, innovative products.
“Our vision is to be the destination of choice in our customers’ world of food, through having the ‘mind of a supermarket and the soul of a deli’. We are on a journey to become a big food business with a difference, maintaining our leadership positioning in fresh produce, innovation, and quality, while ensuring competitively priced products deliver value to our customers.”
Ask Afrika has recognized the adoption of technology as being a major driver for this year’s high levels of customer satisfaction, something that Woolworths cottoned onto in the late 60s when they took out a lease agreement for their first computer. By the 70s they had computerised their merchandising system.
“We continue to focus on innovation,” said Philp. “This has enabled continued advances with varietals and technology in produce, a reduction in the sugar and salt in our products, and the introduction of innovative cooking techniques and numerous first-to-market products.”
In fact, the company has been at the forefront of consumer trends since it was founded in 1931. The retailer introduced sell-by dates to South African food retail in 1974 and, more recently, Woolworths Food has committed to a Good Business Journey, which aims to make important differences in its key areas of sustainability: energy, water, sustainable farming, ethical sourcing, transformation, social development and health.
This ties in with another trend identified by Ask Afrika’s research ̶ that consumers are looking to business and brands to help to create a sense of meaning in their lives. Consumers are becoming more critical of brands than they are of themselves. They expect the companies to maintain high ethical values and to support their attempts at showcasing their ‘desirable lifestyles’ on social media. Retail brands build trust among consumers by standing for something.”
“As a company, we focus on delivering high-quality, ethically sourced products through our Good Business Journey programme, supplier relationships and the technological innovations implemented throughout our value chain,” said Philp.