Boosting supply of Australian produce to China

Australian premium produce exports are set to benefit from upgraded distribution into China following the opening of a new storage, processing and distribution facility in Shanghai by Elders Fine Foods.

The state-of-the-art facility, located in Shanghai’s Jin Qiao Industrial Park, was officially opened by Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, on Sunday, April 13.

It will facilitate the processing and distribution of Australian meat, premium wines and beer, imported by Elders and distributed to some of China’s top hotels, restaurants and supermarket chains, including Carrefour.

“China now imports over AU$3 billion of Australian agricultural products annually,” Burke said. “Companies like Elders have worked hard to build this trade with great success over the years. So I am particularly pleased to have had the opportunity to open Elders’ new facility whilst in Shanghai,” he added.

Elders China General Manager Tim Leviny said the new facility represented Elders’ most significant overseas investment in food processing and distribution and would serve the company as a launching pad into East China’s agribusiness market.

Leviny said demand in China for quality Australian produce was continuing to grow, generating exciting market openings for Elders and the company’s Australian clients.

“Australia has a well-earned reputation as a producer of high quality, safe food which the Chinese market recognises,” Leviny explained. “As the country develops and domestic incomes rise, more and more Chinese customers are seeking out our products.

“This means existing markets are expanding, while new markets and opportunities continue to form as a result of this economic development.”

The new two-storey, 1500 square metre processing and distribution facility has been designed and built to accommodate Elders Fine Foods’ future growth plans.

Leviny said that the capacity existed for increasing the volume of the current range of products imported and distributed through the Shanghai centre, as well as some capacity to consider expansion of the product range.

Elders Fine Foods currently imports approximately 150 tonnes of chilled meat per annum into China, a figure which represents 31% per cent of official direct chilled meat imports to the country. The wine business is growing, and Elders has been supplying the Coopers beer range for a number of years to an increasing market.

The new facility accommodates 33 staff in the areas of office administration, processing and sales. It also supports another seven sales and administration staff located in Beijing. T

he building features temperature-controlled chillers for warehousing fresh imported meat, adjoining a temperature-controlled processing room where individual customer meat orders are portioned and packaged. Also built into the facility is a deep freeze warehouse for extended shelf-life product, a dry goods storage area where imported wine and beer is held, and a loading dock for easy transfer of goods.

According to Leviny most of Elders’ investment in the new facility had been directed towards the temperature-controlled environment, ensuring the highest possible hygiene and food safety conditions, while also utilising on-site water treatment technology to minimise the operation’s environmental impact.

The facility will assist Elders Fine Foods in the supply of goods through its internet shopping service, a growing segment of the business.

The Beijing Olympic Games is also generating added interest in Australian produce and Leviny said Elders was already working closely with a number of event co-ordinators to ensure visitors to China for the Olympics received a taste of what Australia has to offer.

“Elders has been working with China since the 1950s when we established relationships for the supply of Australian wool. Since then we have expanded the range of agricultural products we supply to China and have moved to develop in-country investments to support these activities.

“And as China strives to develop its own agricultural base, we are also increasingly seeing interest in the way Elders operates in the rural sector through our provision of an extensive portfolio of products and services to the agricultural community.”

The official opening was also attended by various Australian and Chinese Government representatives, senior Chinese officials from the Shanghai Agriculture Commission and Shanghai Food and Drug Administration, and Elders China management and clients. The event included a tour of the new facility and a reception showcasing some of the meat, wine and beer supplied through Elders Fine Foods.

For further information contact:

Tony Burke

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

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