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$70m partnership for SPC and Woolworths

Editorial
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A new $70 million partnership between SPC Ardmona and Woolworths has been announced and will see an extra 24,000 tonnes of navy beans, tomatoes and other fruit sourced locally.

The additional volume generated by the partnership will require the equivalent of 86,000 fruit trees in the Goulburn Valley, where the livelihood of growers has been in doubt recently, following SPC’s struggles to compete against cheap imports and the high Australian dollar.

The agreement will also triple the tonnage over the next five years of Australian grown tomatoes that SPC supplies to Woolworths, with a new range of Woolworths Select and SPC Canned Tomatoes available in stores this October.

From 2015, SPC will begin supplying all fruit for Woolworths Select fruit snacks and jelly snacks, and for the next five years, will continue to supply 100 per cent of fruit for the Woolworths Select Multi-serve fruit range.

SPC managing director Peter Kelly said the new partnership shows that Woolworths acknowledges Australian consumers’ growing interest in where their food comes from, and will give certainty to growers trying to rebuild their capacity.

The agreement with Woolworths will help to repair the major decline in SPC’s profitability caused by illegal dumping, unfair tariffs and the strong Australian dollar, Kelly said.

"The share of Australian tomatoes has declined 67 percent in the last 10 years. SPC’s new partnership with Woolworths means the tonnage of Australian grown tomatoes will triple over the next five years which will help resurrect our tomato industry so it’s a particularly great day for tomato growers.”

SPC has seen a massive surge in sales recently with more Australians supporting local companies and buying Australian made and grown products, Kelly said. This was partly driven by the #SPCSunday twitter campaign started by a Newcastle consumer, Linda Drummond.

"In Woolworths alone, we’ve seen a 60 percent increase in sales of SPC fruit in the first two months of this year so we’re hoping this will continue and move to our other great brands like Taylor’s Soups and sauces, IXL Jam and Goulburn Valley," he said.

Last month, Coca-Cola Amatil (SPC Ardmona's owner) and the Victorian government announceda $100 million investment plan, following the federal government's rejection of SPC's calls for assistance.

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