Supporting Australian Growers
Since SPC was established in the early 1900’s, there has been a long and enduring relationship between our growers, the community and the SPC family. When you purchase SPC products, you’re helping to create a sustainable future for businesses and their employees in the Goulburn Valley and surrounding areas.
We are proud to be made in Australia and to support Aussies however we can – just like we’ve been doing for close to a century.
The SPC Community
SPC is proud to support the local Goulburn Valley Community. The lifeblood of SPC is our people. Growers and families from the Goulburn Valley region have worked with SPC for decades. Our people are likely to be your neighbours, your family and your friends. And so, we have a responsibility to this community, and to all Aussies, in always doing what we can for our nation.
SPC’s Commitment to “Locally Grown"
SPC is recognised for its strong commitment to Australian grown and made food. Our growers produce clean, green and safe ingredients and SPC manufactures these to fully comply with Australia’s food standards (FSANZ). SPC is regularly audited and tested to ensure this remains the case.
SPC is proud of the fact that 97% of all our product’s contents are grown right here in Australia. We pay a premium to our growers to have this high level of Australian content in our products and we pay a premium to comply with all requirements of the Australian Food standards.
We continue to work hard to convince Australian consumers and Australian Government procurement departments to pay a bit extra for our Australian grown and made products. We believe our brands are better than cheap imports and we want to see a vibrant and successful food manufacturing industry in Australia.
WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS MAKING UP THE OTHER 3%?
The fruit we currently have to import are:
- Pineapple and Mango (Thailand – our tropical manufacturing source)
- Berries (China, Europe, New Zealand & Chile – due to short supply in Australia)
- Beans (Canada, SPC buys all available Australian navy bean crop and tops up with navy beans from Canada so we can meet the demand)
Despite the challenges of finding commercial quantities locally for the above ingredients, we have had a programme underway for the last two years (and it is ongoing) to find and develop local partners for this remaining demand.
WHY ARE SPC PRODUCTS SAFE?
All SPC manufacturing sites and processes are regularly tested and audited against the toughest Food Safety and Environmental Standards in the world.
Not only is SPC held to these standards, each of our Australian growers has to meet these standards too. Our growers are required to:
- Achieve Freshcare Accreditation (National On-Farm Assurance Program).
- Test soil, water and their fruit each season guaranteeing that it is free of heavy metals and pesticides.
- Document the use of all pesticides and fertilisers and ensure they are used accordance with the manufacturer specifications and in line with regulations for each specific fruit type.
- Provide written guarantee that all rules and regulations associated with the growing of their specific fruits are followed.
- Have Food Safety Management Systems in place and be HACCP accredited.
We think this makes our Australian grown and made food products the cleanest, greenest and safest in the world.
With regards to the current Hepatitis A outbreak in frozen berries, consumers can be confident in SPC products as they all pass through a heat treatment process that safeguard against this particular virus.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO FIX THE RISKS WITH IMPORTED PRODUCTS?
1. Improved Testing
SPC has been calling on the Federal Government to fix the testing regime on imported foods for some time. It’s clear that rating imported products in our category as “low risk” and only testing a random 5% of imports is insufficient. Imports are higher risk than locally grown and manufactured products and so they should face at least the same level of testing and audit as is enforced on the local industry. SPC also has concerns that tests are not comprehensive. In the past SPC has shared with both the State and Federal Governments information that shows examples of imported products with far higher levels of heavy metal contamination than allowed under FSANZ food standards. To date we have been unable to get inspection levels increased on imported food and for the tests conducted by AQUIS to be more comprehensive to enforce the law and protect consumers from these risks.
2. Australian grown is worth it
SPC has been trying to convince consumers, retailers and Government procurement departments that although quality Australian products cost more, they are worth what they cost. There is an opportunity to work with retailers to display Australian grown products more prominently on shelf and thereby making purchase decisions easier for consumers. Australian food products rarely win Government contracts as we are “not the cheapest”.
Food has become a category where price has become the only consideration for many consumers and procurement departments. We have to work hard to permanently change this perception if Australian food manufacturing is to survive.
The dilemma is clear for local companies. If cheap imports aren’t checked, many won’t comply with Australian Standards, and these companies can continue to save on their Food Safety and Environmental compliance costs and remain cheaper.
3. Clear labelling for consumers
Country of Origin Labelling Laws needs to be toughened. SPC presented a case for change at the recent Federal Government inquiry into Country of Origin Food Labelling (CoOL). The topic is complex especially when a product has many ingredients but there is a clear case for a tightening of the rules to make it clear to consumers where products are grown and where they are manufactured. While we await new labelling laws, where SPC makes products that are 100% Australian Grown and Made we make it very clear on the front of every label.
Our Manufacturing and Distribution.
As a whole, SPC is the largest producer of premium packaged fruit and vegetable in Australia.
Our facilities are in the heart of the Goulburn Valley, and we process approximately 150,000 tonnes of fruit and tomatoes a year.
Shepparton - Our Home.
Our facilities process many kinds of fruit and vegetables. In 2014, this site will process around 80,000-90,000 tonnes of our delicious Aussie fruit.
National Distribution Centre - the Heart of our Business.
The National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Shepparton is where our SPC products are stored then shipped to all our customers - both nationally and internationally. It’s the heart of our operation at SPC, with about 1,250 pallets received and dispatched on a daily basis.
From Australia to the World - Our International Business.
SPC has been active for more than fifty years outside Australia, in such places as New Zealand, USA, UK, Europe, South East Asia, Japan and the Middle East. We have always been committed to taking our Aussie ingenuity and using it to help develop local innovations in tasty and convenient packaged fruit products around the world.
SPC has a number of arrangements all over the world, namely Spain and Thailand.These partnerships extend our fruit sourcing ability, provide access to specialist produce and allow us greater manufacturing capacities to ensure a quality product every time.