New Simplot deal for Woolies

The West Australian
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Woolworths has committed $16.5 million to Simplot Australia to source 100 per cent of its Select frozen vegetables from Australia by May 2014.

Woolworths already sources over 17,700 Tonnes of branded and own brand frozen vegetables from Simplot. This new deal will see an additional 5100 tonnes of peas, onions, carrots, corn, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts produced at Simplot's Devonport plant, with some volume also going to Simplot's Bathurst plant.

Simplot projects that the move will benefit 155 Australian growers, requiring 650 additional hectares of vegetables to be planted, as well as additional expected flow-on effects for the local community.

Tjeerd Jegen, Managing Director of Woolworths supermarkets said: "As a proudly Australian owned company for over 90 years, Woolworths is committed to sourcing great Australian made and grown products wherever possible.

"Our customers are passionate about great Aussie grown food, and so are we. That's why we've invested $16.5 million in Simplot - this deal will directly benefit 150 Aussie growers, as well as supporting hundreds of local jobs.

"We are absorbing the cost of this decision - when they arrive on shelf in May 2014, Woolworths Select frozen vegies will continue to be sold at the same great low prices that our consumers enjoy today."

Terry O'Brien, Managing Director of Simplot Australia, said the deal was welcomed by Simplot and its growers. "This commitment by Woolworths in Australian grown and produced frozen vegetables is positive news for the Australian vegetable processing industry and our farmers that rely on it.

"The deal with Woolworths is greatly appreciated and great news for the industry but we still need to supply products at competitive prices. We sincerely appreciate Woolworths' confidence in backing our business and that of our growers."

Woolworths currently stocks 39 lines of Select frozen vegetables, 11 of which are already Australian sourced. The new deal moves 17 lines to Simplot from overseas suppliers in Europe, New Zealand and China. Despite being popular products, the remaining 10 lines of Select steamed vegetables and stir fries cannot be sourced in Australia, so they will be retired.

From January 2014, Simplot will also produce Woolworths Homebrand frozen peas for Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Woolworths and Simplot are working together to source the necessary volumes to move all Homebrand peas across to being Australian sourced.

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