Golden State announces joint venture acquisition of Groenz

US food processor and distributor, Golden State Foods, has acquired majority ownership of Groenz, a Wellington-based manufacturer of sauces, dressings, condiments and powders for the QSR and foodservice markets.

Fred Groen, managing director at Groenz, said the joint venture agreement will help the company to grow.

"The Groen family is very happy to have forged this partnership with Golden State Foods. From very small beginnings, in the 1970s, the company has grown to a point where we needed a substantial trade partner to further expand, and we found that partner with GSF," he said.

"With this new formed partnership Groenz will have the enhanced resources, market reach and product offerings to fully reach its potential and continue its commitment to the New Zealand economy as a whole."


Baxters Food acquires Jensen’s

Baxters Food Group has acquired Jensen's Choice Foods, through its Australian subsidiary, Baxters Food Australia.

Baxters Food produces soups, preserves, condiments, chutneys and a range of other food products for the UK, with other operations in Canada, Poland and Australia. The Australian arm of the business, however, produces marinated, char-grilled vegetables and pesto sauces under the Bamboleo and Argents Hill brands for the foodservice industry, while its chutneys and relishes, operating under the Baxters brand, are available in retail.

Jensen's produces a broad range of products for the grocery market including pasta sauces, salsa dips, wet spices, passata, fruit spreads, mustards and simmer sauces. Brands include Jensen's Organic, Aunty Kath's Cookie Dough and private label brands for all of the major grocery retailers. In recent years Jensen's has focused on developing a range of products to meet the growing demand for certified organic products.

Baxters said the acquisition is consistent with the company's plans to develop a larger Australian business. The combination of both businesses is expected to provide further opportunities in both foodservice and retail.

Earlier this week another acquisition was announced, with McCain completing the $82m acquisition of Kitchens of Sara Lee.


Woolworths “supporting local” with new strategy

Woolworths has announced plans to support small and medium sized producers in Australia with its Local Food Sourcing Strategy.

Earlier this week Acting NSW Premier Andrew Stoner unveiled the first locally sourced products hitting shelves in late January as part of the strategy, including a range of jams and conserves from nine local producers in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

"It's great to see Woolworths committing to support more small and medium NSW businesses.  This is great news for consumers, great news for local businesses and great news for NSW," Stoner said.

Tjeerd Jegen, Woolworths managing director of Australian Supermarkets and Petrol said the supermarket giant will be working with local producer come to appropriate production and supply arrangements.

"We recognise that supplying 890 Woolies stores can be a daunting prospect for small and medium businesses, and may simply be beyond the reach of their production capacity.  Woolworths’ Local Sourcing Managers will work with these suppliers to design a plan that suits their business, whether that’s supplying three stores, or 300 stores," he said.

Woolworths will appoint local sourcing managers in each state, who will identify local products, host Local Sourcing Road Shows to communicate opportunities for suppliers and develop plans for those interested.

"Australians are justifiably proud of their local produce, so we are making it easier for local suppliers to work with our buyers, and we are investing in more direct local sourcing so that our customers can enjoy the unique products their community has to offer," said Jegen.

One of the newest local suppliers, Eric Robinson of the Port Macquarie Food Co. said, "This is a very exciting opportunity for a small business like us, and it's been a great experience – the process is really easy.

"We are passionate about supporting our community – that's why we source all of our ingredients from local growers.  With our products on the shelves of 43 Woolies stores, we will be able to share the flavours of our community with a much wider group of customers."

Other locally sourced products hitting shelves in late January are:

  • Hank's Jam from Brookvale in Sydney, NSW will be stocked in 278 stores
  • Blue M Jam form the Blue Mountains, NSW will be stocked in 32 stores
  • Hill & River Jam from the Hunter Valley, NSW will be stocked in 17 stores
  • Officers’ Mess Conserves from Daylesford, VIC will be stocked in 50 stores
  • Yarra Valley Gourmet from the Yarra Valley, VIC will be stocked in 76 stores
  • Country Cuisine Jam from Daylesford, VIC will be stocked in 30 stores
  • Rhu Bru Jam from Scottsdale, TAS will be stocked in three stores
  • Tasmanian Gourmet Kitchen from Longford, TAS will be stocked in three stores


Buderim Ginger CEO resigns

The CEO of Buderim Ginger, Murray Richardson, has resigned from the company for personal reasons.

Richardson will remain in his role for up to three months while the company, which produces ginger products such as ginger beer, ginger chew and marmalades, searches for a replacement.

Buderim chairman, Steve Morrow, said "Murray has continued the positive turnaround of the company's financial performance and will be leaving the group in good shape for continued improvement.

"We thank Murray for his contribution and look forward to working with him while a replacement is found."


Vegemite makes its largest donation ever

Vegemite and a group of its suppliers have come together in the name of Christmas spirit, providing food relief agency, Foodbank Australia, with its largest ever donation.

In what is the brand's first collaborative venture with its suppliers for a charitable cause, Vegemite and co. will be donating 100,000 jars of its spread to Australian families doing it tough.

At an event held at the Port Melbourne factory today, Kraft Foods Australia MD, foods, Darren O'Brien, together with Enzo Allara from Foodbank Australia, announced that all Vegemite made today will be distributed to Foodbank centres across the country.

"With this donation today, we’ll be providing 8 million serves of Vegemite to Aussie families who need it most," said O'Brien.

Suppliers including AMCOR Closures, O-I Asia Pacific, Labelmakers Group, VISY, Grain Products Australia, Savannah, Fermex, Lion and Royce all pitched in by donating the jars, yeast and ingredients.

Foodbank Australia provides rescued and donated food to over 2,500 charities and community groups for distribution to people struggling to provide for themselves.