A major new initiative to support Australian vegetable growers announced by Coles supermarkets today in conjunction with vegetable processor Simplot and the Tasmanian government, has been endorsed by AUSVEG the Peak Industry Body for Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
Today Coles have announced that all 30 lines of their Coles brand frozen vegetables will be sourced from Australian vegetable growers.
“AUSVEG is pleased to endorse these efforts by Coles, Simplot and the Tasmanian Government to ensure the future of the Tasmanian processed vegetable industry, said AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager, William Churchill.
“It’s encouraging to see that processors are working with government and the retail sector to ensure the future of the Tasmanian vegetable industry.”
“Consumer studies have shown that 80% of people want to purchase Australian produce and support their local farmers. Today’s announcement is an excellent step towards giving the consumer the choice to make those decisions,” said Mr Churchill.
This news comes at a time when last year imported vegetables reached a record high with $651 million of imported produce brought into Australia and a total of $231 million of that being frozen vegetables.
“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,” said Mr Churchill.
“This is warming news in the lead up to the AUSVEG National Convention which is taking place in Hobart from 10-12 May at Wrest Point Hotel Casino. The Convention is an opportunity for growers to celebrate their successes and future. After such difficult times as the floods in North West Tasmania and the McCain processing plant in Smithton closing, growers are finally getting some good news,” said Mr Churchill
Coles’ support of local growers has ensured that about $40 million of frozen vegetable sales are going to be supporting local vegetable farmers.