22/04/2021 | Stephen Patterson MP | More Jobs

South Australian specialty food and beverage exporters are celebrating their first export deal with Texas based premium grocery retailer Central Market.

This follows the State Government establishing a trade office in Houston, and delivering a virtual pitching program run in partnership with Food South Australia.

Central Market has 10 specialty grocery stores throughout Texas and is a sub-brand of HEB which comprises 340 stores and a revenue of US$29 billion a year.

Nineteen South Australian companies presented their products to Central Market through 20-minute virtual pitch meetings between August and October last year.

Nine of the companies that presented have been selected to feature their products on the shelves of the Central Market stores from June 2021.

The nine South Australian companies selected are; Tucker’s Natural, Pure Origins Honey, Bickford’s, Olsson’s Salt, Beerenberg, T-Bar Fine Tea, Currawong Olive Oil, Penfield Olives and Robern Menz.

A consolidated container carrying approximately US$150,000 in first orders equating to over 21,000 units, from seven of the above companies, will leave Adelaide today bound for Texas. The shipment  includes products from Tucker’s Natural, Pure Origins Honey, Bickford’s, Olsson’s Salt, Beerenberg, T-Bar Fine Tea, Currawong Olive Oil. The other two companies will supply their products direct to Central Market.

Minister for Trade and Investment Stephen Patterson said the virtual pitch meetings have proven to be an innovative and efficient way for companies to continue to explore new export deals around the world at a time when international travel is still off the table.

“As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas, and this Central Market program in partnership with Food SA has the potential to be a lucrative partnership where South Australian specialty food exporters can present their products and sell into Texas, USA,” Minister Patterson said.

“When you consider the Marshall Government opened our Houston trade and investment office in March 2020 during COVID-19, this is a fantastic result through the work of DTI and Regina Johnson, our Deputy Director based in Houston.”

Food South Australia’s Chief Executive Catherine Sayer said: “In the world we currently live in it is so important to have a streamlined system in place for our industry to open new markets.  We worked closely with the Texas based State Government office, found an importer in the US and then a consolidator in Adelaide so the products will all get there in the most efficient way – all the cogs in the wheel were important to lead to this great opportunity with Central Market.”

Tucker’s Natural will be exporting their signature range of Gourmet Crackers, as well as their new innovative Fruit and Seeded Crackers.

“Exporting to the US market provides Tucker’s Natural with access to a large population of likeminded consumers that understand and appreciate great quality crackers. With the strong trade and political relationship shared between our countries, and a competitively positioned Australian dollar, the US represents a significant opportunity to continue to grow our family business,” Sam Tucker, Managing Director of Tucker’s Natural said.

“The Central Market is a premium retailer that sources the best quality products from around the world, and the contract to supply them provides our brand with consumer and market exposure, that based on experience, will lead to additional sales opportunities.”

Beerenberg is shipping its ‘Random Acts of Flavor’ range to the United States, which includes spicy relishes, fruity chutneys and sweet-heat jams.

“Central Market gives us the opportunity to explore the Texas market which we have long thought offers huge opportunity for premium brands,” Sally Paech, Marketing Director at Beerenberg said.

“Our goal as we developed a range designed especially for the US market, is to have one container a week leaving the Adelaide Hills bound for the US market.”

Bickford’s is sending its new plant-based milk products and traditional sodas to the US market, where they already have products in CostPlus World Market Place in California.

“Seeing more of our Bickford’s brands in additional markets such as Texas can only help build the Bickford’s brand awareness in the US,” Simon Sparrow, International Sales Manager at Bickford’s said.

The State Government and Food SA will continue to work with Central Market to identify specialty food and other categories, including wine and beverages, to be pitched in the future.

To keep up to date with events that will connect companies to trade and investment specialists, as well as opportunities to enter new markets, visit www.dti.sa.gov.au.