Murray River Organics enters chocolate market

Murray River Organics (MRO) has entered the $1.3 billion confectionery market, launching an all-organic and plant-based range of mylk chocolate.

MRO’s GM of Marketing & Sales, Tara Lordsmith, said the question was always “why shouldn’t confectionery be clean?”

“Customer demand for organics isn’t limited to one category, the need for better-for-you products is holistic and we were prepared to branch out to cater to this need,” said Lordsmith.

With a five strong line-up of delicious mixes, the breadth of range makes Murray River Organics the first organics brand to enter the confectionery aisle with such a unique offering.

It is just another major innovative step forward for the brand which is focused on catering to the needs of grocery shoppers around the country who are looking for clean, sustainable food that tastes delicious.

“We believe that affordable organic options belong in every aisle of our supermarkets and we’re proud to be the first in taking these innovative and progressive steps like breaking into the confectionery market with a better-for-you, better-for-the-planet range,” said Valentina Tripp, MRO’s MD & CEO.

The hero of the new range is the Organic Mylk Chocolate Sultanas made with the company’s own organic sultanas. This makes Murray River Organics the only brand in the confectionery aisle to offer a product with own-grown origins.

Notable mentions from the range also include a special appearance by coffee connoisseurs, St. Ali’s with their organic, ethically sourced, skillfully roasted coffee beans joining Murray River Organics organic sultanas for a bitter-sweet blend.

The range is completed with the inclusion of organic raw hazelnuts and almonds and sulphite-free organic apricots picked by Murray River Organics specialist farming partners. All ingredients have been dressed in a silky smooth, organic mylk chocolate making them plant-based, dairy free, gluten free, and of course Certified Organic.

The new launch comes ahead of Australian Organic Awareness Month in September.

Murray River Organics releases pantry range

Murray River Organics has released a range of pantry staples including 10 new products, available on shelves across Australia now.

The new pantry staples range includes MRO Sultanas & Sun Muscat Raisins, Almonds, Apricots, Chia seeds, Psyllium Husks, Green Lentils and Pumpkin Kernels, as well as a new MRO Coconut Oil and Organic Avocado Oil.

According to the Australian Organic Market Report 2019, 65 per cent of Australian households are now buying some sort of organic product or produce yearly – feeding into a growing market with 5-15 per cent compound annual growth across various pantry staple categories.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious and are demanding cleaner foods, free from chemicals,” says Valentina Tripp, MRO’s CEO & MD. “Products must still taste good but in the most natural and simple form possible.”

MRO is launching its 220-350g range in an innovative refillable canister giving the brand a strong point of difference at an accessible price point.

Murray River Organics gets deal with Coles

Murray River Organics Group has  launched, in partnership with Coles supermarkets, the Murray River Organics brand in the breakfast cereals category. Eight new  products will be sold across 800 Coles stores with estimated revenue expected to be in the $5-6m range per annum.

The launch will be backed by a new communications program including new website, Instagram, and Facebook platforms as part of the launch of the Murray River Organics brand into the Australian consumer market. Instore activation with Coles will also form an essential part of the program to drive awareness of the brand and products.

“We have made significant investments over the last nine months to develop the Murray River Organics brand proposition ensuring it is aligned to the Company’s strategy and purpose. We believe that the brand is authentic, has integrity and delivers accessibility for organic products to Australian consumers,” said MRG chief executive officer, Valentina Tripp, said:

“What’s also important is that MRG’s products carry the Australian Certified Organic BUD Logo with the Australian Certified Organic Standard – considered to be one of the most respected and rigorous standards in the world, and the symbol that is widely recognised as having integrity and that consumers look for when they are purchasing organic lines.”

The Australian organics market is estimated to be worth $2.6b with approximately 65 per cent of Australian households now buying some sort of organic product or produce yearly, with annual growth of five per cent.

The global organics market is estimated to be worth over $100b and provides significant opportunities to grow the consumer facing Murray River Organics brand that leverages MRG’s established export capability and distribution system.

China helps Murray River Organics grow

Murray River Organics today announced that exports of its products had increased by 27 percent year to date over FY2019 for the corresponding period and anticipates this trend will continue for the rest of FY2020.

China has been a major contributor to the increase, with sales to Chinese customers more than doubling in FY2020 since the same time last year, as MRG leverages the increasing demand in China for healthy foods.

Chief executive Valentina Tripp said there is more potential for MRG to grow exports to China following MRG’s recent launch on the WeChat platform in October 2019.

“WeChat is a very powerful tool used by more than a billion users each month which enables us to communicate directly with Chinese consumers, build brand awareness and share the Australian Organic Dried Vine Fruit provenance story as the largest Dried Vine Fruit grower in Australia,” Tripp said.

READ MORE: Of seahorses, eczema and organic food

MRG has been able to increase its market share [in Asian markets] with the introduction of its new branded product range across Greater China and South East Asia, which is part of the company’s “Taking Australia to Asia” growth strategy which was launched in 2018.

With ongoing concerns about food safety in Asia MRG believes Australia’s trusted clean and green reputation is also helping it to win new contracts.

The company has also re-entered the European market with high-quality Australian sultanas now being exported into the premium baking industries across Germany and Italy.

Tripp said that global demand for organic and conventional dried fruit remains strong and growing exports has been a major focus for MRG and the industry over the last 12 months.

“We have received significant support from Dried Fruit Australia, with its chairman, CEO and key board member, who are also growers, attending trade shows in China, Japan, Vietnam and Germany. They have been a great support in building international awareness of our high quality Australian sultanas. The feedback from those trade forums was that demand for Australia’s Dried Vine Fruit will continue to accelerate.”

Dried vine fruits industry welcomes funding

Murray River Organics (MRO) has welcomed almost $400,000 in Federal Government funding to advance the growth of the dried vine fruits industry across Sunraysia, enhancing its own expansion plans for the region in partnership with its growers.

Two of MRO’s properties in Colignan and in Merbein will be part of the Dried Fruits Australia (DFA) project to conduct demonstrations of crop production improvements.

As the largest dried fruit grower in the Sunraysia region with over 1100 hectares planted, MRO said the three-year project would provide valuable additional funding to improve the capacity of dried vine fruit growers in achieving higher yields and profitability.

Murray River Organics’ chief executive, Valentina Tripp, said this year’s water issues highlighted the need for investment in improved irrigation and water management.

“We are delighted that MRO will be supporting DFA with this important project. It underscores our commitment to investment in research and development that will enhance our growers’ abilities to continue to innovate with new techniques, products and farming systems

“Australia has the best dried vine fruit in the world and it is crucial that we continue to invest in the industry as it will be a core driver of our future growth and to success in international markets. That means exploring innovative ag-tech systems, including irrigation infrastructure and on-farm practices.

“MRO’s investment in the region with its growers as well as its down stream processing-to-export plant is about creation of high value-added products that will keep our regions and communities strong and profit-able long into the future.”

MRO has implemented a number of investment initiatives in recent months, with a growth plan for its farming properties to strengthen vines and improve yields over the next 2 to 3 years. A $1.6 million irrigation infrastructure program for Colignan has been completed.


Murray River Organics launches export-driven ranges at Asian trade show

Murray River Organics (MRO) has launched two of its own branded premium ranges in Japan as part of its strategy to grow exports under the ‘Taking Sunraysia to Asia’ program.
MRO’s branded ranges Gobble and Premium Australian Clusters are organically certified and ideal for the Asian markets which are focused on the quality and food safety that Australian growers deliver.

They have been launched at Foodex Japan, Asia Pacific’s largest food and beverage trade show, taking place over four days in Chiba City where the latest food trends are showcased.
MRO’s Sales & Marketing Manager – Export, Adelyn Chee, said: “These new products are the first for these brands in over 4 years. Our Gobble mini snack boxes are aimed at children in the Asia region with 12 grams of organically certified dried vine fruit suitable as a snack on the go and Premium Australian Clusters come in a gift box, ideal as a present for Asian customers looking to gift a piece of Australia to their friends and family.”

“We believe Foodex Japan is the perfect venue to launch Gobble and Premium Australian Clusters with more than 85,000 people from 78 countries expected to attend. There is no better way to build international awareness of our unique products, “Adelyn Chee said.
More than 80% of MRO’s fruit is exported and it already has well established export markets in Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and USA.

Mr Akihiro Asai, President of Alpha Foodstuffs which is one of the largest organic dried vine importer and distributors in Japan said; “We are very pleased to be working with Murray River Organics and look forward to expanding the range and volume of Murray River Organics products in the Japanese market.”

MRO chief executive Valentina Tripp said, “Australia has the best dried vine fruit in the world and our strategy for 2019 is to extend our range of branded Dried Vine Fruit products, both natural and organic, suited to the Asian consumer. With concerns about food safety in Asia and the trusted Australian clean and green image we believe the strong interest we are seeing from the region will result in significant new contracts, and Foodex is an exceptional place to kick off our regional roll out.”