Tourism. Food and Wine Festival in Australia


Food has great relevance and importance in history even when related to religion and rituals it has its own distinct significance. The history of food confirms that the first few eatables discovered by man were water and then shell fish or any other kind of fish. Then came eggs and mushrooms, rice and insects were also eaten. The agriculture began and humans grasped the art of agriculture. Food has had a lot of significance because it is the basic mode of survival but it also helped people come together since familiar food types brings people closer in terms of familiarity and also a sense of place.

A sense of place is when people feel they are personally attached to some area and this attachment is based on unique qualities like familiar food or food that one had in their childhood. Food helps to identify areas since every country or city has a specialty in food that pulls tourists to it. This Melbourne food festival is also known for its strong pull of tourists since this festival has unique activities including music, entertainment, unique events like longest lunch etc.

A very interesting finding was of a Japanese lunch box sold at train stations which was a black lacquered bento box and this lunch box later became an inspiration for IBM’s laptops and think pads. Food is the centre point of all human activity. The significance of food in the world has led to a food heritage movement that is supported by food museums that focus on what the world eats. Ethnicity and nationality can be determined by food since every nation has their own specialty in food. The various festivals of religions are also distinguished with food. For e.g. Easter eggs for Easter which is a Christian religious festival.

Eggs had gained a significant importance in relation to religion and rituals. The Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Gauls etc used to give eggs to each other during spring equinox as a customer and this has been taken from early Christianity in relation to the miracle of resurrection. Eggs are considered to be the ancient fertility symbol. In Scotland people used to give each other eggs on 1 May in Beltan rites or bannocks. Easter eggs have always been colored and this is an ancient custom used by the Persians who colored the eggs with the colors of the field and even in Scotland people used to color their eggs. Similarly, Hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday after breaking a fast by Christians (Jango, 2005).

Food and wine festivals are significant and important when it comes to tourist attraction since they are an essential experience for a tourist. Food festivals exhibit a country’s culture, heritage, rituals and celebrations which add to the knowledge of the tourist. These festivals also reflect the changing lifestyles of that place and its communities. These festivals reflect the social status of the people in the area since these festivals serve as a national identity.

Taste triggers the sensory stimulation and gives the tourists a unique experience that they enjoy and remember since this stimulation experience brings these tourists back to the country again and again. Natural tourism or eco tourism’s negative impacts can be diminished with the help of such food festivals that attract positive tourism to the country (Food History, 2009). Thus food and food festivals hold great significance and importance for countries especially when it comes to tourist activity that helps generate revenues and also a good name.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Situation Analysis

Melbourne food and wine festival was launched in 1993 and it has grown in to the largest food festival in not only Australia but also the world. The attendants of the festival keeps on growing with triple figures every year since in 2007 above 300,000 people had attended the festival. This festival is giving fierce competition to other big events such as AFL Grand Final and even Australian Open tennis finals. The event has local and international value since during 2004 this event was nominated as one of the world’s hottest tickets by Chicago Tribune, Canada’s Globe and Mail and also Australian Financial Review. This event was the only one to be selected by these papers in the Southern Hemisphere which is an achievement (Mead, 1997).

Internal factors
    • The appropriate location: Melbourne City but the festival has 200 events all over Australia and it is a 16 day festival.
    • The necessary facilities: Hotel reservations and directions.
    • Enough money: They have big sponsors and a lot of money.
    • The appropriate human resources: Team and sponsors.
    • Skills and knowledge of staff: Excellent and dedicated team with the appropriate sponsors as partners to assist.
    • Only Slow food festival and city in the region.
    • They work with and for the community (social work or corporate social responsibility).
External factors
    • The festival can invite the internationally acclaimed Chefs of the world for a cooking competition to add more fervor to the festival by making their cooked food available to all attendants to sample.
    • It has very expensive tickets.

The Melbourne Food Festival has a dynamic team and they have their own logo (See Appendix) but this festival has given Melbourne international acclaim for the art of culinary excellence since every year all the acclaimed international chefs visit this festival to taste the delicious food offerings of Melbourne. The 2007 festival was particularly very popular for its culinary excellence and an exotic experience.

This festival has great support from food, wine and hospitality industry and the event has helped to showcase Melbourne city as the capital of the world for food and wine which it has become with time due to the event. During 2000, Melbourne was named as the greatest wine cities of the world amongst other significant nominations like Florence, San Francisco etc. The team of this food festival is dedicated and dynamic since it is responsible for the incredible success of the festival and also its unique events that have brought millions of tourists to the festival (McGee, 2004).

Planning of the Event

Objectives of the Event
  • Promote quality food of Melbourne and Victoria
  • Promote talent and lifestyle of Melbourne
  • To reinforce Melbourne as the culinary city of Australia.
Indicate the selection criteria of goals
  • The goals are quality basedsince they wish to satisfy attendees and promote Melbourne and Victoria.
Making profits
  • This festival is on a non profit basis since the major purpose is to promote Melbourne and Victory as a culinary engine of Australia.
  • No economic gain only promotion for Melbourne and Victoria.

The popular slogan of the festival is ““For a piece de resistance in a city obsessed with food, little beats the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival” (What’s on When, 2009). Yahoo travels have called this festival the greatest food and wine festival ever.

All attendants have had a positive review of the festival that there is nothing to dislike about the festival which means no disappointments and only value. The festival provides a chance to sample all food offerings and wines which makes the visit worth it. Chefs have actually commented that they’d rather eat in Lebourne than in Paris which is a huge compliment coming from Anthony Bourdain (chef and presenter of US TV series “A Cook’s Tour”). The festival has turned Melbourne into a culinary engine for Australia (What’s on When, 2009.)

The event is on a non profit basis and they are not a profit organization so they do not have a mission statement and in place they have a charter. Their charter which is a replacement for their mission statement is to promote quality food, talent and lifestyle of Melbourne and Victoria in order to reinforce the culinary city of Australia (Melbourne, 2009).

The Stake Holders of the Festival

The Stake Holders of the Festival

The sponsors (See Appendix for official logos of all the sponsors) of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival include The Age as their presenting partner, The Langham Melbourne as their official hotel, Virgin Blue as their official domestic airline, Victoria (the place to be), City of Melbourne, Tourism Victoria and as their government partners, Coffee X, Connex, Crown, Mi’ele and Sampellegrino as their major partners, 7 Sunrise, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC local radio, APN, AD SHEL, Good Food, Gourmet, WINE and Avant Card as their media partners, Fed Square and Southgate as venue partners, Bamix, Convent bakery, Equal, Fissler, Magimix, Mount Zero Olives as product partners, Sommeliers Australia and T’Gallant as wine partners, VB as beer partners, Holmesglen, Swinburne and William Angliss Institute as training partners, Sputnik agency as online partner, Clemenger BBDO as official creative partner and Essential, Food services, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Home Barista Institute, Melbourne Airport, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Prahran Market, Riedel and Victorian multicultural commission as other partners.

The sponsors gain from the event since this festival is a dignified and the largest food festival in the year thus being related to such a huge festival will bring credibility and more customers for the sponsors. All the internationally acclaimed chefs visit this festival and millions of tourists swarm to see the festival since it’s the largest food festival of the world and the sponsors tend to get acclaim from these chefs and attendants because being part of this prestigious festival means the sponsors have been selected on a standard and criteria which brings popular acclaim to the sponsors amongst the chefs and the attendants from all over the world. The team is dedicated to promote Melbourne city and they are a huge success in bringing large number of tourists to the city (Melbourne, 2009).


The marketing of an event forms the basis of the success of any event or festival. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has a number of sponsors to promote the event and to further its cause. The marketing plan of Melbourne food festival has helped to promote the event and make it such a huge success. The festival has a very committed and dedicated team that works to make the largest food festival of the world a success every year (Melbourne, 2009).


The Action Plan for the marketing plan includes the Product, Price, People and Promotion.


This is a 16 day event with 200+ events all over Australia under the banner. The festival has certain highlights including breakfast, lunch, dinner and wine tasting. The events have entertainment as well and the attendants get to sample all food and wine offerings. This year the festival had the World’s Longest Lunch which had an expensive ticket but it was recorded in the Guinness book of world records. Similarly, they have Connex Sizzle which had a cheaper ticket but it’s placed in a giant backyard with barbecue and beer plus they have different kid’s activities as well in this event.

Another event is Cellar door at Southgate which showcases more than 60 types of wineries that can be sampled for $5-$10. Wicked Sunday is for kids since it’s a chocolate festival with all the yummy chocolate delicacies and even cooking classes for kids are included. They even have a chocolate playground for kids. Feasting Vignettes are weekend events that are held prior to all events as a start up. The Stars of Europe is the grand dinner which has taken inspiration from A Midsummer’s Nights Dream and it’s in a garden with that setting but the ticket for this event is expensive. The food available is grand since all the delicacies are available for dinner.

The Global Trends is an informative session providing all information regarding food and wine industry. The Roasters week is a week for all the good coffee which provides palate training and cupping sessions. This is a 7 day event with different types of coffee tasting every day. They even have opportunities for new chefs who attend the training sessions and on performance one of them wins to be placed in London as a major chef. The festival also has an emerging winemaker award (Melbourne, 2009).


The biggest two events of this year were the longest lunch which had a $115 ticket and the Stars of Europe Grand Dinner with a $185 ticket. The pricing strategy for the festival is perceived value pricing that is what the customers expect since it is based on market research but for the regular events like wicked Sunday which costs $8 per kid for the tour and $20 for classes and the Connex Sizzle that has a $35 ticket. All such regular events have tickets ranging from $8-$40. But the major events like longest lunch and Stars of Europe dinner have a premium pricing strategy that is charging the premium or highest price for the most attractive event of the season (Melbourne, 2009).


Natalie O’ Brien is the chief executive officer of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. She with her dynamic and committed team have made this festival the largest in the world with growing attendants every year as tourists to Australia (Melbourne, 2009)..


The sponsors advertise the event, the event is announced publicly through newspapers and local channels including radio. The activities such as longest lunch are also part of the promotion since these events attract tourists from all over the world. The Target Market is all tourists of the world and locals as well. All food figures of world including internationally acclaimed chefs, food lovers, wine lovers and Social Class A and B.

The generic marketing strategy used by this festival is market development that is existing products but to new markets. According to the categories of food events Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is Generic but focuses on local food only and it’s a national event promoting Melbourne and Victoria. The festival has all the renowned companies as sponsors which adds to the value of the event. They have a website and also newsletters that can be subscribed to by all those interested (Promotion, 2009)..

Risk Management and Legal Issues

The festival is supported fully by government organizations since it’s for a national cause so there are no legal issues. But there are certain risks and they are as follows (Melbourne, 2009). :

  • New and inexperienced staff incorporated in the event
  • Uncertainties like weather issues or an unexpected power breakdown.
  • Movement of people since there can be incidents that might spoil equipment etc.
  • Any unexpected problems that might tarnish the image of the event like problems with food maybe.
  • Administrative risks (issues with all types of contracts like venue, entertainers, sponsors, broadcasters, suppliers, clients etc)
  • Marketing and PR risks (media releases or promotion might go wrong)
  • Health and safety risks
  • Crowd management is essential (waste management)
  • Security hazards
  • Transport (Deliveries on time).
  • Duty of risk that is foreseeable risk of injury to attendants

The festival is a national festival so it abides by the food act and regulations, liquor licensing act and local government act. They abide by The Liquor control Reform Act of 1998 as well and also the code of practice for fireworks. They have the necessary aspects of business insured as well (Melbourne, 2009)..

Post Evaluation

The festival is already the largest in the world it was a huge success this year as well. The festival has been a major success due to the love and passion the team of the festival showers on their attendants and the unique food offerings along with it have made the festival a roaring success. The popularly acclaimed chefs of the world have commented on the success of the festival. Will Goldfarb who is a Master Chef in New York commented that the huge success of the festival is incredible and the quality of the food and chefs of the festival are excellent which proves the city’s remarkable food sensibility. Melbourne is the place for the major food figures to be since all the acclaimed chefs of the world are available at one festival (Regmi, 2001).


  • The tickets for the major festivals are too expensive so they can come up with a promotional strategy of a lucky draw by giving two or three tickets for free.
  • The management can also give tourists the chance to participate in another lucky draw that can give them a chance to win a free stay or maybe free tickets for two or three major events of the season. This will pull more crowds to the event.
  • They can also hold one of the events internationally in any other country just to promote the event further.


Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, 2009. Festival 2009. Web.

What’s on When, 2009. Slogan of Melbourne Food Festival. Web.

Food History, 2009. Timeline of Food. Web.

Promotion for Melbourne Festival 2009. The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne presents five delicious food events for the Melbourne Food Festival. Web.

Carpenter, Ruth Ann &Finley, Carrie E. (2005) Healthy Eating Every Day. New York: Human Kinetics.

Davidson, Alan (2006) The Oxford Companion to Food. 2nd ed. UK: Oxford University Press.

Jango-Cohen, Judith (2005) The History Of Food. London: Twenty-First Century Books.

McGee, Harold (2004) On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Simon and Schuster publishers.

Mead, Margaret (1997) The Changing Significance of Food. In Carole Counihan and Penny Van Esterik (Ed.), Food and Culture: A Reader. UK: Routledge.

Regmi, Anita (2001).Changing Structure of Global Food Consumption and Trade. Market and Trade Economics Division, Economic Research Service, USDA.


The Logo of the Melbourne Food Festival

The Logo of the Melbourne Food Festival

Logos of Sponsors

Logos of Sponsors
Logos of Sponsors
Logos of Sponsors
Logos of Sponsors

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