'Berry' good Tim Tams making the most of strawberries

By Carolyn Jackson
Wednesday, 05 February, 2020

'Berry' good Tim Tams making the most of strawberries

Since 2013, South-East Queensland-based My Berries has been finding innovative ways to decrease the amount of fruit waste generated each year. In the 2019 strawberry season, My Berries saved approximately 55 tonnes from landfill with its own retail and food-service range and in collaboration with other manufacturers across Australia.

Following on from its successful frozen fruit production, its most recent project involved a collaboration with Brisbane-based Nutradry and Arnott’s to produce a special edition Tim Tam flavour called the ‘Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream Tim Tam’. The biscuit features premium Sunshine Coast strawberries that have been rejected from our supermarkets.

Sourcing much of their fruit from the Sunshine Coast Growing Region, owners Stuart and Allison McGruddy are passionate about locally grown, sustainable fruit and actively work with growers in the area. Their collaboration with Arnott’s sees My Berries taking its production a step further providing Australian-grown berries to a wider manufacturing market.

Stuart McGruddy said: “It gives us a real buzz to be able to find a home for every piece of premium fruit, picked with peak nutritional value, that the farmers produce. This inter-industry collaboration is a fantastic way to see a significant impact on berry farmers and the amount of fruit that would otherwise go to waste, particularly as farmers struggle with extreme heat and less water, it’s more important than ever to reduce waste as much as possible.”

Hailing from a family of second-generation berry growers, Stuart is well aware of the wastage brought about by berries that are considered the wrong size, shape or colour for mainstream supermarkets. Along with his wife, Allison, he created My Berries and found an innovative solution to the loss by freezing the rejected berries. The company has since added the nutritionally dense berry powders to its brand and is extending its range even further in 2020. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and even mangoes are processed in high volume.

The launch of the new Sunshine Coast Strawberries and Cream Tim Tam has been a positive, and equally, busy time for the company. Allison said all the strawberries used for this product are sourced from the Sunshine Coast growing region. “We accept peak season fruit that supermarkets reject simply because the market is flooded or the strawberries aren’t the right size, shape or colour. During the seasonal glut, supermarkets are unable to accommodate the surplus of first-grade fruit. Historically, farmers often have had no choice but to dump some of the season’s most beautiful and delicious fruit.”

How are the strawberries processed into powder?

Allison said the strawberries are collected and processed the same day they are picked from the field. “We remove the green calyx then wash, dry and freeze the strawberries so they are ready to be turned into powder. When they arrive at Nutradry, they use their own unique low-temperature drying technology to turn the strawberries into powder. They specifically use a proprietary heat transfer technology to gently remove moisture from delicate products. Once the optimal point of drying has been reached, the heat no longer penetrates the raw food, preserving its natural colour, flavours and nutrition which would otherwise be lost due to overheating or overprocessing.”

My Berries and Nutradry have specifically designed the strawberry powder process to meet Arnott’s manufacturing requirements.

“We hope to work with more food and beverage companies across Australia in the 2020 season,” Allison McGruddy said.

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