Page 14 - Food&Drink Magazine May-June 2020
P. 14

Ripening to challenge
For agribusiness company AustChilli, 2020 started off full of promise. Sales were ahead of the 2019 corresponding period, there were new product launches in the pipeline and new opportunities seemingly lining up at the door. And then, COVID-19 arrived.
AUSTCHILLI for generations has been using fresh raw materials – Australian avocados and around 50 other raw fresh produce lines ranging from chilli to vegetables and herbs – from farmers and then transforms them through a value adding process.
The fresh produce is turned into purees and pulps that end up on the retail shelf.
The COVID-19 pandemic means the company has had to think differently as to how it could support the growers, its employees, its own manufacturing needs, retailers, and customers in a timely way.
With the steep decline in Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) and traditional foodservice sectors, the business acted quickly and brought forward its planned national launch of AvoFresh Singles to use the influx of avocados from its grower network.
This opportunity also allowed AustChilli to explore export markets quickly, with Cold Storage Singapore now ranging AvoFresh in all its supermarkets.
AustChilli says its motivation was simple, to support the farmers who have supported it over the years. “Instead of saying ‘no’ we said ‘yes’, we will take your product and we will find a way.”
The company continues to forge ahead with new technology, increasing capacity and capability and investing in new product lines to ensure that the market and growers are supported with Australian produce when the current restrictions begin to lift.
For example, its cold pressed range uses high pressure processing (HPP) technology.
This process locks in all the natural colours, flavours, texture and nutritional benefits of the natural ingredients, without any artificial colours of flavours.
Food service will be the next move for these lines once the QSRs re-open across various lines – watch this space.
AustChilli’s avocado packs are dairy-free, vegan-friendly and made from 98 per cent fresh avocado. The company says the packs eliminate the challenge of avocado being under-ripe, too hard or too soft.
Bulk packs enable manufacturers and all food service style outlets to create fresh and tasty products with ease, AustChilli says.
Single-serve herbs give an opportunity for consumers to create their favourite dishes on the go or as part of a meal kit.
The company also produces fresh salsa in various formats using the same technology to yield a clean, fresh salsa similar in taste and texture to a homemade batch. The salsas are available in 500 gram to 20 kilogram packs. ✷
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