Not bad news for all fruit processors

By Janette Woodhouse
Tuesday, 11 February, 2014

The plight of SPC has been front page news for a while; the media bemoans the fate of Australia’s last fruit cannery and the viability of the entire Goulburn Valley. But not all first-world fruit processors are in such dire straits.

In the US, Materne, which makes GoGo squeeZ Applesauce On the Go, has just announced that it will build its second fruit-processing facility. The company’s first US facility plant was built in Michigan in 2008.

The new $85 million plant will be built in Idaho and will primarily process local apples and peaches with some extra fruit from other states. Currently Idaho produces about 32,000 tons of commercial apples each year as well as 8000 tons of peaches.

This fruit will be used to make GoGo squeeZ Applesauce On the Go and other fruit snacks. GoGo squeeZ is a 100% fruit snack packed in squeezable, resealable pouches. The products are aimed clearly at consumers who want both convenience and healthy snack options and are obviously hitting the mark with more than 2 billion pouches having been sold around the world to date, according to Materne. They are available in more than 50,000 locations across the US including in Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Publix and Whole Foods Markets. The company reputedly has $70 million in annual revenues on over $100 million of retail sales.

This is one fruit processor who is getting it right - isn’t this what we’d all like to see for SPC? If a government subsidy could help SPC create and launch similar successes I would be all for it. However if the subsidy is like the support for the automotive industry - billions of dollars supporting the unsustainable - I say spend the money on industries that can grow to become independent and successful. This will secure the future for the farmers, the workers and Australia’s food supply.

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