Coles and SPC strike two million can deal

By Myles Peterson

Coles and SPC have signed a new deal to supply almost two million cans of fruit into the Australian market.

Dubbed a ‘‘home-grown Aussie fruit’’ campaign, the deal gives Coles a solid platform to spruik its Australian produce credentials.

Coles brand manager Mark Field said the deal grew from Coles’ Australia first sourcing policy, leading the company to find local food growers and manufacturers to partner with.

‘‘Coles is proud to work with an iconic Australian company such as SPC and local growers to offer products with Aussie-grown fruit,’’ he said.

‘‘We know our customers want top quality food, and equally they want to know that they are helping to support Australian farmers and Australian jobs.’’

The new Coles brands will offer peaches, pears, apricots and fruit salad in 825g tins.

SPC managing director Reg Weine said the deal would boost SPC’s local production.

‘‘It is great to see Coles continue to support local businesses and growers,’’ he said.

‘‘The Coles brand volume will improve our factory utilisation and will also provide our growers with an additional outlet for their quality fruit.’’

An estimated 36000 trees will be needed to fulfil the contract, according to local grower John Poulos.

‘‘Each peach tree represents a seven-year commitment until they’re producing fruit and it’s even longer for pears,’’ he said.

‘‘You plant pears for your heirs — so to have a commitment from Coles for this fruit makes life so much easier.

‘‘It takes a while to get a tree cropping and there’s not really any fresh market demand for the fruit, as these varieties are especially grown for canning.

‘‘So, to be able to maintain these trees and not have to think about replanting new varieties is very important to us.’’

The deal comes as SPC owner Coca-Cola Amatil continues to search for a buyer for the iconic Shepparton business after the sale was announced late last year.

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola Amatil wrote the value of the SPC business down to zero.