Gongs galore for Garden’s gourmet goodies
  • Wednesday 11 November 2015

http://business.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/It is stocked on more than 25,000 supermarket shelves and is the most visible Australian retail product in the world.

The success of Gourmet Garden Herbs and Spices has been recognised again both at home and abroad, with the Sunshine Coast manufacturer receiving a 2015 Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Impact Award at the PMA Fresh Summit in the USA.

Chief Operating Officer for Gourmet Garden Andrew Eves-Brown was also awarded the Outstanding Business Person of the Year at the weekend’s Sunshine Coast Business Awards.

“Gourmet Garden is extremely proud to receive this recognition and it is further credit to all of our hard working staff for their outstanding efforts across all facets of our operation – from the growing and harvesting of our product to its packaging and distribution to 15 countries around the world,” Mr Eves-Brown said.

Mr Eves-Brown, who is also Chair of the Food and Agribusiness Taskforce – one of seven high-value industries under the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) – said the opportunities were there for local producers within the food and agribusiness industry.

“The Sunshine Coast epitomises the image that the food and agribusiness industry wants to portray. It represents the clean, fresh, sustainability of the area – the true Natural Advantage,” he said.

“One of the key actions of the Agribusiness Industry and Investment Plan 2014-2018 is implementing a ‘zero waste project’ to eliminate the dumping of fresh local produce.

“We held a forum in June this year and invited growers, food industry businesses and local and state government representatives to look at ways to reduce edible strawberry waste by developing new products or value-adding to existing products.

“This is already bearing fruit, with a number of local businesses looking into new niche products that can further boost the strawberry industry that’s already worth around $16million to the food and agribusiness industry on the Sunshine Coast.”

“Confidence is high and it’s an ideal time to launch these initiatives.”

The PMA Excellence award adds to the list of growing accolades for Gourmet Garden. Other recent awards include the Good Design Australia Award, a World Star Award from the World Packaging Organisation, Product of the Year 2015 (Herbs & Spices) and several Australian Packaging Awards.

The company also shone brightly during a recent quality audit conducted by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). BRC is a food standard founded in the United Kingdom, which then became a globally recognised food safety standard. It is regarded as the benchmark for best practice in the food industry. BRC is widely regarded as one of the toughest standards in the world to achieve with a stringent auditing process.

Economic Development portfolio councillor Stephen Robinson said Gourmet Garden was among a growing number of Sunshine Coast businesses making a mark overseas and is a key participant in the Sunshine Coast Export Network.

Others that have needed a greater helping hand participated in Council's inaugural Export and Global Capability Program.

“The Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy aims for 20% of goods and services produced in the region to be exported by 2033 – and council’s export program helps set up local business to achieve this goal,” Cr Robinson said

“It provides participants with the tools to develop an export strategy and understand Free Trade Agreements, logistics and pricing. 

“The success of Gourmet Garden in exporting to 15 countries and fellow Sunshine Coast company RADAQUA in completing a lucrative aquaculture project in China are great examples of the exciting export opportunities that are well within reach of local businesses.

“Businesses participating in this program receive an evaluation of their export readiness, master class workshops and one-on-one coaching.

“Thirty-seven local companies have completed this program and are equipped with the knowledge and skills to tap into the exporting world.

“Council will continue this terrific program and we’re also exploring avenues to tailor an export program specifically for food businesses."

For more information about the program or to register, visit http://business.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/sitePage.cfm?code=export-program  call 5475 9932 or email economicdevelopment@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

If you are interested in exporting and you are not already ‘connected’ through the Sunshine Coast Export LinkedIn Group, you are welcome to join the Group by clicking here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Sunshine-Coast-Export-Network-6753175