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Rising from the ashes

food manufacturing

When it comes to an industry as broad as food manufacturing, it is hard to be one of a kind. Primarily supplying to the foodservice market, Phoenix Frozen Foods is Australia’s only vertically integrated potato product manufacturer, overseeing the lifecycle of the product from farm to plate.

“We are a family owned, fourth generation business,” says Director Annmarie Hyndman. “My grandfather and great grandfather came out to Australia from Italy, and they were pioneering the potato farming around Gembrook. The business has stayed in the family and in 2010 we established our first potato cake factory.”

In the following years, the business evolved and its reputation for high-quality produce grown on Victorian land became widespread. Misfortune loomed, however, and in early 2020 the factory experienced a devastating fire, followed by a pandemic only weeks later. The team spend eight months rebuilding, and from the ashes Phoenix Frozen Foods was born. This process of recovery has not been easy, Annmarie says, but morale is stronger than ever.

“We want to expand our facility in the coming year to what we were pre-fire. We are continuing to work hard to drive our business forward and grow. We distribute nationally, and we are hoping to build back our previous clientele base.”

In the process of putting together their new factory, Phoenix Frozen Foods has prioritised supporting local distributors for materials and tooling, Annmarie explains. From bearings and belts to fryers and spiral freezers, Motion Australia is always their first port of call.

“We have had to rebuild our business from scratch, and we always go to them for the variety of product that is always high quality. Recently, we were installing an external heating unit and our local rep was able to help us design the fitting. He is excellent at taking our vision and helped us make it a reality – it has always been a close partnership.”

Being a family business, Phoenix Frozen Foods strives to support the local economy by advertising locally for roles, while ensuring equal opportunity and diverse staffing. They are also cognisant of their employees’ individual needs around flexible hours and are always striving to create an honest and supportive work environment.

“We are keeping potato farming alive in Gembrook which is reducing each year due to larger farmers interstate. We are also able to provide jobs to local communities and provide products to local businesses and schools. We are proud to donate our products to local sportsgrounds, other local community support groups and charities.”   

Original article published for Industry InMotion Magazine here. 

 

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