Story Fresh | Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations 2020
The Story family has been producing leafy vegetables for generations. Originally working in a central market system, by the 1990s it was clear there was opportunity to add value. Story Fresh recognised a market need for cut, washed and packaged product, supplied as a ready-to-eat (RTE) option for the QSR, cafe, restaurant and food service markets.
Food safety is paramount in RTE products, requiring implementation of a robust quality and safety system that covers the entire food journey, from seed to plate.
Fresh evolved to the 100% value-add enterprise it is today over a decade ago, with the range extended to incorporate ready-to-use shredded lettuce, carrot and onion, as well as baby leaf products including spinach, wild rocket and mesclun.
Keen to explore additional opportunities, Story Fresh began researching export markets. Given the onerous cold chain management burden, along with Australia’s relatively high costs, entering the export food service market would be difficult. Rather than trying to compete, Story Fresh developed a suitable retail export product instead, along with a greenfield factory that could facilitate the output capability and growth required.
Part of that process has been implementation of leading-edge processing, traceability, cold chain management and food safety technology. Direct processing from the four Story Fresh farms negates storage and transport needs, meaning produce is cut, cooled, washed, packed and shipped within 24 hours of harvest, servicing customers year-round. The robust quality system meets the most stringent of customer standards and allows two-way traceability from farm to customer and back.
The 100% Australian-owned company is testament to how technology and innovation can be used to develop new ideas and advance into additional markets.
Managing Director Geoffrey Story said that TSBE has played a significant role — from organising trade missions to fostering knowledge sharing and collaboration, it has helped put the region on the map, generating fresh interest and creating all-important local jobs.