SIMPLOT AUSTRALIA Connecting with the Land and the Sea, supporting our Farmers and Customers.
In Part One .. WebMag publisher ‘Foodservice Rep’ writes about Simplot Australia – 'Bringing Earth's Resources to Life' for the benefit of foodservice professionals.
One of Australia's largest suppliers of foodservice products, Simplot Australia describes itself as in the business of "Bringing Earth's Resources to Life". The home of some of Australia's best-known brands such as Edgell and I&J, Simplot Australia works with more than 300 potato and vegetable growers around the nation, some of whose families have been supplying to them for generations. To find out more about why foodservice is such a core focus for the business, we spoke to Simplot Australia General Manager, Foodservice Sales Suzanne Harman and Executive Chef David White.
"Edgell is our best-known brand in foodservice and one which is synonymous with Australia," Suzanne tells us. "The average consumer knows it as a retail vegetable brand but it's long been one of the premier foodservice brands in terms of quality, consistency, trust and championing of Australian farmers."
In fact it was the Edgell brand, established way back in 1926, that first captured the attention of the US-based, family-owned Simplot business when they cast their eyes on the Australian market. "Edgell was one of the first Australian brands that attracted the Simplot family when they entered the Australian market in 1995," Suzanne explains, "and since then we have 'complemented that with a large range of others so we now have a very strong foodservice brand presence.
"The Simplot family have been incredibly supportive of the Australian business and very focused on the foodservice side of the operation. That may be because in the US, the food division of the diversified Simplot business is predominantly a foodservice operation, and as the family have been farming the land themselves for more than 100 years, they are highly focused on building strong relationships at each step of the supply chain, from the farmers and growers through to the staff at the processing plants.
"Our founder Jack Simplot's children are heavily involved in the business to this day and I think they look fondly on Australia as a place where they're continuing to support agricultural sustainability and, as we say, Bringing Earth's Resources to Life. We do strive to embody that philosophy and are driven by our purpose to 'Contribute to Feeding Our World' with the best quality, nutritious produce we can create."
Over the past four years the entire business has been galvanised around that purpose, and Suzanne makes the point that in these times of COVID it's never been more important. "We believe we have a responsibility to keep our factories going and our farmers going – we're not someone who just buys in ingredients, we actually start right from growing the seed through planting and cultivation to manufacturing and selling – creating new species, new products and even new supply chains, which we've done with seafood.
"We’re always going to be a business that’s connected with the land and the sea, and our involvement in agriculture has stood us in good stead. We are the last Australian grown frozen and shelf stable vegetable provider of any scale in Australia and we are proud to support our local farming communities. Simplot is really committed to our farmers and our customers – we believe as a nation Australia should be able to produce our own food and we are focussed on working with our growers to ensure we deliver that. It’s something we keep in the forefront of our minds and we believe sets us apart as a business.”
COVID has really underscored the importance of working hand-in-hand with our partners and customers,” Suzanne says. “Our success in this market is based on those relationships which are built upon mutual respect - we're all working for the greater good. We’re out there trying to make foodservice businesses better, and those businesses in turn get to draw on all the resources we have, including our R&D team and our marketing resources - we open our whole business up to our customers rather than just selling them products. Partnership has never been more important, so we'll continue to focus on that and we hope it will continue to benefit the entire industry.”