Australia: Coles to source local frozen vegetables
Australian supermarket chain Coles had decided all 30 lines of its own branded frozen vegetables will be from Australian growers, which means a AUD$40 million (US$40.43 million) market will be kept local.
Vegetable and potato grower peak body Ausveg applauded the announcement that will involve vegetable processor Simplot and the Tasmanian government.
"It's encouraging to see that processors are working with government and the retail sector to ensure the future of the Tasmanian vegetable industry," said Ausveg public affairs manager William Churchill.
"Consumer studies have shown that 80% of people want to purchase Australian produce and support their local farmers"
Last year Australia imported AUD$231 million worth of frozen vegetables with New Zealand, China and the Netherlands as the main sources, followed by the U.S., Belgium, Canada, the U.K., India, Thailand, Germany, South Africa and Turkey.
"We’ve steadily seen an erosion of Australian produce in the frozen vegetable sector as domestic growers are unable to compete against cheap imports without assistance.
"Thanks to this new partnership and the Tasmanian government, local growers now have a fighting chance."
Coles merchandise director John Durkan said the company was committed to working with Australian food manufacturers and growers to ensure a long-term sustainable domestic food supply.
"We believe the Australian food industry has enormous potential for growth, both domestically, and through export opportunities into Asia and other world markets," he said.
"We recognize the critical role Coles can play in helping our food industry to grow domestically, getting the required scale to then target potentially lucrative overseas markets."
The news comes ahead of the Ausveg National Convention in Hobart on May 10-12.