Welcome to the new Weekly Update!

AUSVEG now has a fantastic new-look for when you receive our Weekly Update via email!

We’ve made a few changes to make it easier for you to get around the Update – on computers and some smartphones, you can use the table of contents at the top of the e-mail to jump to the stories that matter to you, and the “Back to top” links after every story to jump back to the table of contents at any time.

We’ve also reviewed how we present stories to make the entire Update quicker to load and easier to read. On top of this, we’re bringing new information into the Update, including a quick run-down of the week’s top news stories and a revamped weather and calendar section.

If you have any feedback on this new format, please let us know by replying to this e-mail (or e-mailing us directly at info@ausveg.com.au) so we can continue making it even better for you.

If you know someone who would enjoy the Weekly Update but isn’t currently receiving it, you can forward it to them using the button in the top right of the e-mail, or send them a link to our subscription page. Previous Weekly Updates are available on the AUSVEG website.

Upcoming Vegetables Export Training Programs for growers

Released in January 2017, the Vegetable Industry Export Strategy 2020 aims to increase vegetable exports by 40 per cent to AUD$315 million and 310,000 tonnes by 2020. Horticulture production is projected to grow with rising demand from Asian and Middle Eastern markets for fresh, clean and safe Australian produce.

In light of this, AUSVEG will run a two-day Vegetable Industry Export Development Training Program during August in Victoria and Tasmania. This training is part of the Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE) and will assist growers to develop their understanding of export documentation and procedural requirements in order to expand their export capabilities.

Time/date: 9:00am – 4:00pm, 15-16 August 2017 
Location: AUSVEG office – Level 2, 273 Camberwell Road, Camberwell VIC 3124

Time/date: 9:00am – 4:00pm, 22-23 August 2017
Location: Macquarie Room, Country Club Tasmania, Launceston TAS 7250

If you are considering exporting or looking to expand your existing exports, this training program will provide you with the information and skills to do so.

To register and find out more about the training program, please call AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277 or email export@ausveg.com.au by 4 August 2017 to confirm your attendance. Vegetable research and development levy funded positions are available and numbers are limited, so register now to ensure you reserve your place.

Veg-Connect – A Growing Leaders project

The Growing Leaders program of 2017 engages 18 developing leaders from throughout different components of the Australian vegetable industry. As part of the program, the group is working on a series of projects they believe in, based on a broader vision and mission for the industry.

One project, Veg-Connect, aims to connect the consumer to the industry, and growers to their consumer base.

The group has two strategies to achieve their aim:

  1. Introducing a marketing toolkit. The purpose of this toolkit is to enable growers to effectively market their own branded product in the industry through the use of social media, with a focus on Facebook. Facebook is the most widely used social media platform, and growers are generally slow to adapt to changes in technology. This toolkit will aim to provide some simple steps to help growers get exposure for their name and businesses to a wide general consumer area. The toolkit will be provided in the form of an booklet/brochure.
  2. Establishing an industry-funded education program where local growers will be given the opportunity to share their story in various local public/education/training institutes. This will be on a state-by-state level so local growers can partake in the program. Growers will be able to present their produce during the seminars in the form of a meal or take-home samples.

For more information, please contact Herman Kemp, one of the Growing Leaders working on the project.

New Nielsen reports available

Hort Innovation has engaged Nielsen to carry out consumer research to allow the Australian vegetable industry to better understand the shopping habits of Australians. The results of the commodity-specific data collected aim to assist growers to better understand consumer preferences and deliver products that best meet consumers’ needs.

Nielsen Homescan electronically records 10,000 demographically and geographically representative Australian households’ purchases of all take-home grocery goods (fresh and packaged).

A fresh batch of reports using this data is now available for levy-paying vegetable growers! Specific commodity information is available for a number of vegetables, including Asian vegetables, beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, fresh salad, lettuce, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweetpotato, and zucchini.

Key highlights from these reports include:

  • Overall, vegetables are doing well on value in the past year (except pumpkin). However, volume continues to be a challenge for a few of the categories.
  • Most of the vegetables that have declined in volume have lost buyers (including cucumber, zucchini, celery, sweet corn, and beans). Prices have been higher, which might have limited some household purchases, and the issue may also be supply-driven (such as restricted in-store availability).
  • Some vegetables have shown consistent growth on both value and volume: fresh salad (+11% value; +12% volume) and Asian vegetables (+11% value, +10% volume) have sourced growth from new buyers, more occasions, and higher quantity/spend per trip; meanwhile, sweetpotato (+15% value; +6% volume) and cauliflower (+11% value, +3% volume) have retained the same number of buyers but have gained more purchase occasions and higher quantity/spend per trip.

Growers interested in these reports can contact AUSVEG via e-mail at info@ausveg.com.au.

Economic Update: Food service sector is growing

Increased spending in food service channels is taking share of stomach from retail offerings. Household expenditure on food that is prepared outside of the home is now approaching 30 per cent of total household food spend.

Technological advances have streamlined the ordering, payment and delivery process of ready hot meals, making ‘eating out’ a more convenient option. High levels of investment in collective online ordering and delivery platforms such as UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog have fuelled restaurant sector growth. These systems invite consumers to view images of the meals they select and that has potential to favour vegetable ingredients in meals that present well.

Increased interest in nutrition and wellness has driven consumers to actively seek healthier meal options. New offers like McDonald’s NZ ‘Loaded Lettuce’ burger and Starbucks US vegan range cater for lifestyle considerations and are social media friendly.

Vegetables are being hero-ed through innovative cooking techniques. 60 per cent of MealpulseTM food panellists ‘like to try’ new food ideas. These consumers seek interesting and ‘Instagrammable’ product forms, like sweetpotato burger buns and purple cauliflower pizza bases.

Food service has long been the pre-cursor for new retail products, and the versatility, nutrition and visual appeal of vegetables is attracting food service innovation. Vegetable growers and marketers that develop an understanding of the food service sector will be better positioned to harness increased investment and expand their customer base.

This article was provided by Freshlogic.

AUSVEG seeking National Tomato Potato Psyllid Program Coordinator – Applications extended!

AUSVEG is seeking a coordinator of the National Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP) Program (MT16018), for the potato, nursery, vegetable and processing tomato industries.

The primary function of the role will be ensuring that research, development and extension and management efforts across the various industries and jurisdictions affected by TPP are coordinated, prioritised and strategic.

For a full position description, please email employment@ausveg.com.au. For more information, please see the job advertisement.

Applications close COB Friday 28 July.

MT16018 is funded by Hort Innovation using the potato, nursery, vegetable and processing tomato industries’ research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

North Asia Free Trade Agreement information seminar – 27 July 2017

The next North Asia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) information seminar, coordinated by Austrade, will be held in Canberra on 27 July 2017.

These free seminars are aimed at informing participants about how they can take advantage of the FTAs signed with China (ChAFTA), Japan (JAEPA) and Korea (KAFTA), and the range of assistance and information that the Australian government can provide in using these FTAs.

Speakers at the next seminar include:

  • The Hon Keith Pitt MP (Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment)
  • Senator the Hon Zed Seselja (Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs)
  • Michael Growder (Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
  • Sally Phillips (Manager, Free Trade Agreements Program, Austrade)

Time/date: 11:30am – 2:00pm, Thursday 27 July 2017
Location: Murray Room, Level 1, National Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra ACT

For more information about this seminar, including registration arrangements, please click here.

AUSVEG Economic Confidence Survey – June quarter 2017

AUSVEG conducts a quarterly economic confidence survey to understand and then communicate the impacts of various economic factors on the business operations of vegetable growers. This survey helps AUSVEG identify the current business conditions that vegetable growers face and track grower sentiment of these economic factors over time.

Information from the survey will be collated in aggregate form and used to advocate strongly on behalf of the industry in various forums, including the media, and in regular articles providing commentary on such matters.

This quarter’s survey closes on Wednesday 9 August 2017. To add your voice before the survey closes, please click here. This short survey will take approximately three minutes to complete.

AUSVEG launches LinkedIn and Instagram accounts

AUSVEG is continuing to increase its presence on social media to find new ways to connect and share information with our growers, the wider vegetable and potato industries and Australian consumers.

We are pleased to announce that we have now launched two new ways to share industry news!

At the AUSVEG LinkedIn page, you can meet the AUSVEG team and keep up with news. On the AUSVEG Instagram page, we’ll be sharing vegetable facts, industry updates and other pictures – and we’re looking forward to being tagged in great shots of the industry in action!

Over the past year, we have increased our Twitter activity (@AUSVEG) and created the AUSVEG Facebook page to promote research and development in the industry, as well as to share news and events with industry members and the broader public. We also continue to produce the InfoVeg TV YouTube series and InfoVeg Radio podcast series to dig deeper into industry-funded projects and speak with the researchers and growers involved.

If you use any of these platforms, follow and subscribe to us to keep up with all our updates, and get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you!

New AHR video – Spray technology for vegetable growers: A guide to getting it right

Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) has produced a new series of videos communicating research and development outcomes and giving growers practical information about important on-farm processes as part of the strategic levy investment project VegNET, which is part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

In AHR’s spray technology video, spray application technology expert Scott Mathew explains the fundamentals of effective spray application for vegetable growers. He demonstrates easy and commonsense ways to test the water quality and (lack of) turbidity, how to manage water droplet size and density for thorough and even coverage of your crop, how to achieve optimum timings and how the application of water interacts with insecticides.

To watch this video, please click here.

Postharvest management of vegetables workshops – South Australia

Good postharvest management keeps vegetables fresh and customers happy. This half-day professional development workshop will help packing shed managers, QA officers and vegetable supply chain businesses optimise their handling of fresh vegetables, maximising quality while minimising damage, water loss and disease.

Dr Jenny Ekman and Adam Goldwater from Applied Horticultural Research will use case studies, demonstrations and activities to explain the principles of postharvest management and discuss specific issues affecting vegetable businesses. Participants will also receive a free copy of the new Postharvest management of vegetables handbook.

These workshops are being held in coordination with VegNET and include:

Nairne, SA
Time/date: 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Tuesday 1 August
Location: AE Cranwell & Sons, 105 Murray Road, Nairne SA

Gawler River, SA
Time/date: 10:00am – 1:00pm, Wednesday 2 August
Location: Thorndon Park Produce, Cnr of Gawler River Road and Heaslip Road, Gawler SA

Further dates are scheduled for workshops in Queensland.

With limited numbers available, interested industry members are encouraged to book now and reserve their place. For more details, please click here. To register for a workshop, please contact Hannah McArdle at hannah.mcardle@ausveg.com.au or on 0408 475 995.

ACCC to begin Horticulture Code compliance checks

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is alerting growers and traders that they need to take steps to comply with the 2017 Horticulture Code of Conduct, or face penalties and fines.

Since the revised Horticulture Code was introduced on 1 April 2017, the ACCC has worked with industry associations to educate growers and traders about their rights and obligations. The next stage of the ACCC’s work in relation to the Code will be to begin compliance audits.

There is a 12-month transition period to allow the industry time to adapt their existing arrangements to the new Code. By 1 April 2018, all existing agreements between farmers and agents/wholesalers must be compliant with the new Code. However, any agreement made or renewed after 1 April 2017 must be compliant with the Code immediately.

Courts could impose penalties of up to $63,000 for serious breaches of certain sections of the Code. For other smaller breaches, the ACCC can issue infringement notices to the value of $10,500 for body corporates and $2,100 for individuals.

More information about the Horticulture Code is available on the ACCC website.

Fresh Produce Safety Centre Conference – 9 August 2017

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand will hold its annual conference on Wednesday 9 August at the University of Sydney.

Focusing on the theme Science + Culture = Safe Food, the conference will feature a range of presentations, with topics including food safety culture, global food regulation and upskilling industry.

Time/date: 8:15am – 4:15pm, Wednesday 9 August
Location: Refectory, Holme Building, University of Sydney, NSW

To register for the conference or to view a full program, please visit the conference website.

For a detailed look into the importance of food safety in the vegetable industry, try listening to InfoVeg Radio Episode 10, which focusses on food safety and how growers can improve their on-farm food safety processes.

FSANZ releases FAQ for food recalls

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released a list of frequently asked questions for food businesses about the protocols, procedures and practices behind food recalls.

This list includes valuable information for food manufacturers, importers and suppliers about the food recall process, including the requirement to make a written food recall plan, how and when to start a food recall, and who should be notified about a recall.

To read the FAQs, please click here.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation biosecurity survey

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) has released a short survey to help better understand the biosecurity needs and concerns of Queensland’s growers.

The short survey (around five minutes) will enable the QFF to continue to advocate and represent on behalf of the state’s farmers.

For more information, please click here. To complete the survey, please click here.


Hort Innovation project opportunities
Project code Project title Closing date
VG17000 Vegetable business benchmarking 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 3 August 2017
VG17002 Foodservice education around vegetable usage in older adult populations 5pm (Sydney time)
Wednesday 16 August 2017
AM15004 Australia Fresh Collaborative Market Development Program 5pm (Sydney time)
Friday 26 April 2019
AM16001 Asian market intelligence & data insights 5pm (Sydney time)
Tuesday 30 July 2019
Hort Innovation advertises opportunities to become a delivery partner on research, development and marketing projects for Australian horticulture on its website and on tenders.net.

Join Hort Innovation’s delivery partner mailing list to receive email notifications of new opportunities by registering through its Delivery partner registration form.

The relevant documentation for each opportunity is available on tenders.net. To access this information, you will need to become a member by registering on the tenders.net registration page.

Industry in the news – The week’s top stories

Fact of the week

Australian government health expenditure would reduce by $11 million if the average consumption of vegetables by males increased to be equal to that of females. (Source)