VICTORIA’S Goulburn Valley fruit growers and processor SPC Ardmona (SPCA) have received a timely boost today with Coles set to increase fruit sourced from the region by 600,000 kilograms a year.
Coles has offered a new contract to SPCA that will see 100 per cent of the supermarket giant’s private label canned peaches, pears and apricots sourced from Australian growers.
In a statement, Coles says the contract is set to start from the November harvest.
The additional fruit required will bring the total volume of fruit sourced by Coles from the region and SPCA to over 4 million kilograms annually, or the equivalent of over 300 truckloads.
In the statement, SPCA managing director Peter Kelly said the contract was a fantastic result for fruit growers and the Goulburn Valley community.
“We’ve been partnering with Coles for many years and welcome their commitment to bring Australian packaged fruit products to their customers over imported produce,” Mr Kelly said.
Coles says it stocks more than 170 lines of SPCA product, through both Coles private label and SPCA branded ranges.
Over 80pc of the preserved fruit on the shelf at Coles is sourced from SPCA and the Goulburn Valley region.
The move by Coles follows an agreement between Woolworths and SPCA announced on September 4 to convert the entire Woolworths own brand packaged fruit category to 100pc Australian sourced product.
The volume generated by the Woolworths decision is expected to save approximately 50,000 fruit trees in the Goulburn Valley and benefit 118 local fruit growers, and ease the worries of many farmers that they would be forced to destroy their produce due to a lack of buyers.
The trend in supporting Australian growers was further illustrated on October 18, when Woolworths also announced it would source 100 per cent of its vegetables for its own brand Select frozen vegetable line from Australia under a new $16.5 million deal with Simplot Australia.
That deal will see an additional 5100 tonnes of peas, onions, carrots, corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts produced at Simplot’s Devonport plant, with some volume also going to Simplot’s Bathurst plant.