AUSVEG, the National Peak Industry body representing Australian vegetable and potato growers, has welcomed an initiative rolled out on Australia Day by retailer Coles to replace all of its Smart Buy frozen vegetables with 100 per cent Australian grown vegetables and potatoes.
The agreement comes in the form of a five-year contract that the retailer has inked with Simplot, who operate vegetable processing operations in Devonport in Tasmania and Bathurst in NSW, and will mean that over 240 growers will be growing an additional 2.7 million kilograms of vegetables and potatoes.
“This initiative demonstrates Coles’ long-term commitment to the Australian vegetable industry and will allow our growers to plant more crops with confidence in the future,” said AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer Richard Mulcahy.
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
“The vegetable processing sector in Australia has seen a tough number of years with a number of closures, but it is great to see the major retailers getting behind one of our last remaining processors, and we hope to see this support continue in a sustainable fashion so that Australia can continue to produce high quality frozen vegetable product,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“This move means that there will potentially be 2.7 million kilograms less product entering Australia from countries such as China and Thailand, countries which employ agricultural practices which may not be permitted here, so this represents a win for both Australian families and Australian growers,” said Mr Mulcahy.
Recent research conducted as part of a project for AUSVEG found that 80 per cent of consumers surveyed agreed with the statement “I purchase Australian produce because I want to support our farmers and for Australia to have a viable industry.”
“Coles are demonstrating through these actions that they are paying close attention to what consumers want when it comes to fruit and vegetables, and research is showing that the overwhelming sentiment is that Australian grown is best,” said Mr Mulcahy.
“Coles are continuing to demonstrate their interest in working alongside the Australian vegetable industry, last year partnering with the industry to deliver the EnviroVeg Platinum program which seeks to ensure that Australian vegetables are grown in an environmentally sustainable and responsible fashion,” said Mr Mulcahy.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney, Senior Communications Officer, AUSVEG.
Phone: (03) 9882 0277 Mobile: 0410 047 432 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org