A Bundaberg fresh food processor will expand their facilities to fight back against frozen imports and create an estimated 24 local jobs.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said Farmfresh Fine Foods would be an even bigger and better competitor thanks to a new project.
“The Queensland Government’s $175 million Jobs and Regional Growth Fund will help Farmfresh Fine Foods put the bite on frozen food imports,” Mr Miles said.
“We’re supporting a $4.3 million expansion of this family-owned Bundaberg success story, making them even more competitive when pursuing national supply contracts.
“This is part of our government’s COVID-19 economic response, to help local businesses expand and create local jobs.”
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the investment would help Farmfresh Fine Foods redesign and expand its current operations, including state-of-the-art production and packaging capabilities.
“Bundaberg was becoming Australia’s sweet potato capital but, incredibly, Australia still imports the majority of its frozen sweet potato products,” Mr Smith said.
“The expansion will allow Farmfresh Fine Foods to compete against importers who have been dominating the market for sweet potato products as well as to expand their markets for other vegetable products including zucchini, capsicum and pumpkin and eggplant.”
“The company will be able to increase automation, reduce costs and run additional production shifts, making it more competitive against frozen imports.
“Farmfresh Fine Foods is already a major ingredient supplier to national food retailerproducts, food service and quick-service restaurant chains, meal delivery companies and they will be better equipped to give their customers even more choice.
“Supporting local businesses like this in Bundaberg is part of our plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Farmfresh Fine Foods General Manager Andrew Gerry said Queensland Government support would assist the company to accelerate its project by 12 to 18 months.
“The Queensland Government funding means we’re ready to expand production capacity across all our products to 3,270 tonnes annually in the short term,” Mr Gerry said.
“This will include a new forming, battering and fryline which will add to the extensive range of roasted frozen products as well as pureed and pickled vegetables.
“We’re planning to hire another 24 labourers and machinery operators by our second year of expanded operations, an increase of about 45 per cent to our current workforce of 53.
“This will be a very exciting new growth phase for us and for Bundaberg and other regional growers.”