Woolworths invests US$4 million to add sustainable products to supermarkets


More local Australian products are expected to appear on supermarket shelves, with a focus on artisanal food and sustainability.

Woolworths spent US$4 million to put new products on the shelves, including artisanal food, personal care and sustainable products.

It funded a small business accelerator called Seedlab Australia, a free service designed to help start-ups and businesses across the country hone their skills and prepare for retail.

The successful pilot program for Tasmanian start-ups was launched in 2020 and supported

More than 100 food companies, including producers of ice cream, olive oil, cheese, curry and kombucha.

One of the companies that received the deal is the Australian cheese producer Red Cow Organics, which will see its product range on the shelves of Woolworths in Tasmania in September, and then expand to selected New South Wales and New South Wales in November. Victorian store. This transaction marks the first supply agreement between Red Cow Organics and a major retailer.

Andy and Matt Jackman founded Red Cow Organics 9 years ago. They make cheese from their dairy products on a farm in Northwest Tasmania.

Woolworths will stock five kinds of Red Cow Organics cheeses, including their “hero” product Persian feta, which is flavored with herbs and garlic or chili and garlic. There will also be organic Gruyere cheese, Brie cheese and a semi-hard farm cheese called Jack.

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In 2019, Red Cow Organics won the best goat milk in Australia at the Dairy Association Awards.

Andy said they moved 300 grass-fed cows from Victoria to Tasmania because they wanted to pursue ethical and sustainable agriculture while also building a cheese factory.

This includes raising calves with their mothers at birth and regenerating agricultural practices, such as restoring soil and capturing and storing carbon.

Andy, 47, said that they have gone from selling milk at the door of the farm to a retail transaction with Woolworths, which is very exciting-proving that you don’t have to be a huge operator to make a difference, she said.

“Even just talking to some store managers in Tasmania, this is what consumers are asking for-more Australian products and quality products, they hope to support Australian businesses and support their growth,” she said.

“Customers also want to know who is producing the product and the family business behind it.”

This transaction means that their current production volume has increased by 300%, and 22 tons of cheese will be produced this year.

“We want Red Cow Organics to become a brand of choice, allowing customers to put our cheese in their shopping basket, because they know it is ethical, organic and sustainable, and become a genuine brand from Tasmania. Well-known brands,” Andy said.

Matt is a fourth-generation dairy farmer, and he said that the plan will help them get out of the factory and daily operations in order to have a bigger picture.

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Dr. Hazel MacTavish-West, the founder of Seedlab Australia, has a background in food science and agro-food consulting, which has allowed her to build an extensive global industry network

A contact person who contributes expertise to the program.

She said that they will support knowledgeable emerging companies to establish distribution channels and achieve their goals.

“We are passionate about helping Australian producers sow the seeds of long-term success, and we are happy to work with business owners across the country,” she said. “It is great to see Australia’s largest supermarket investing in industry pipelines and creating opportunities for Australian food and beverage companies through our plan.”

Those who pass the program and are ready for retail distribution will have the opportunity to sell directly to the Woolworths purchasing team.

Woolworths Purchasing Director Paul Harker said that the US$4 million investment will help provide entrepreneurs with smart ideas with the support they need to realize these ideas.

“Seedlab Australia will support pioneering business development and control everything needed for retail preparation, and help us bring innovative, locally manufactured products to our customers,” he said.

“Under the guidance of some of the best people in the industry, Seedlab can help great Australian products reach their potential-and customers across the country.”

The first national participants of the program will start around October this year.

It is expected that as many as 700 companies will open in the next two years.



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About the Author: Agnes Zang