Winners of the South Australian Premier’s Food Awards announced

Posted by Isobel Drake on 19th November 2008

In announcing the winners of the 11th annual Premier’s Food Awards, South Australian Premier Mike Rann said it was outstanding that more than half of the winners maintain a strong connection to the environment and the production of clean, green produce.

He believes food producers in the state are leading the way by promoting healthy choices, organic produce and sustainable farming. “Our winners are innovative and forward thinking businesses who have done a lot of hard work to get to attain this recognition,” Mr Rann said.

The nine award winners include a producer with a focus on biodynamic farming, while one is developing strategies to help farmers cope better with drought and another has introduced a new range of healthy fruit snacks for school children.

“All of these individuals and businesses who have been recognized are leaders in their respective fields,” Mr Rann claimed. “They are taking South Australian produce and skills all over the world, and we should be very proud of their efforts.”

He acknowledged the winner of the KPMG Young Leader Award, Dr George Ujvary, 33, who is Managing Director of Olga’s Fine Foods, a family-owned South Australian business. “Dr Ujvary is heavily involved in expanding his niche gourmet range, particularly developing healthy low-fat, gluten free products, and so is also focused on keeping quality SA produce front and centre,” he reported.

Mr Rann was also pleased that the popular Adelaide Showground Farmers Market had picked up an Award, describing it as “a great example of taking good food to the people and highlighting the value of locally produced food and healthy lifestyles”.

“The market provides a unique business incubation and marketing service to SA food businesses by exposing them to over 3000 customers every week. It also encourages families to come together, businesses to communicate with each other and their customers and has really given a lot of opportunities to a primary industry sector that is going through some tough times,” he said.

Drake Supermarkets was announced as the newest inductee to the South Australian Food Industry Hall of Fame for their “significant and sustainable contribution to the State’s economy”.

“Drake Supermarkets continue to be a passionate supporter of the SA food industry. SA food businesses are proudly on shelves across the nation, with gives our local food businesses major exposure to a larger marketplace, and increases their potential for growth, which is a key objective of the SA Food Plan,” Mr Rann advised.

The full list of winners:

South Australian Food Industry Hall of Fame – supported by Cooper’s
Inductee: Drake Supermarkets

Drake Supermarkets began in 1974, when Roger Drake opened his first supermarket at Mitcham. Today, with over 4000 employees nationally and 100 supermarkets mostly Foodland and IGA’s operating in SA and interstate, Drake’s vision of being the leading independent retailer in the world is well on track.

Their passion for the State is evident across its stores where SA food businesses and their wide range of products are the preferred choice. This support of local food businesses enables them to enter large supermarket chains and ensures they are supporting the growth of our food industry, the Government suggested.

“We feel very honoured to join the likes of San Remo, Coopers Brewery and Bickford’s Australia – all great South Australian companies – in the Premier Food Awards’ Hall of Fame,” Roger Drake, Managing Director, said. “To join this elite group is a fantastic accolade for Drake Supermarkets and one that recognises all the hard work and dedication of the people behind our great local company.”

KPMG Young Leader Award
Winner: Dr George Ujvary

Food and Beverage Development Fund Workforce Development Award
Winner: B.-d Farm Paris Creek

B.-d Farm Paris Creek is a biodynamic farm, producing organic milk, cheese, yogurt and butter which is distributed nationally and overseas. Their focus on regular training of employees to ensure staff are multi-skilled and up-to-date with current manufacturing and processing practices, as well as encouragement of employees to seek additional external training wherever possible, led to them earning this award.

Peats Soil & Garden Supplies Environmental Sustainability Award
Winner: Agri Exchange

Agri Exchange, one of Australia’s largest producers and packers of citrus, has been innovative in pioneering new drought, water and salinity management practices. The company prides itself on incorporating and adhering to international best practice principles. It has a comprehensive “integrated management system” that brings together all the key components required for continuous and sustainable improvement.

NAB Export Award
Winner: Almondco

Almondco is experiencing strong growth in exporting premium almond products. With rigorous quality standards, the company has 160 accredited growers as well as a world-class processing facility. It seeks to continue its 70 year history by expanding further into Europe, Asia and the UK and is set to increase its current production from 8000 tonnes to more than 20,000 tonnes by 2012.

SARDI Innovation Award
Winner: Robern Menz

Robern Menz, one of Australia’s largest suppliers of dried fruit, glace fruit and confectionery, continues to grow its business through innovative new products and marketing. Having identifying the growing problem of childhood obesity, the business was determined to introduce healthier snack alternatives for children and their parents. They were recognised for their recently development and release of FruBears, a 100% dried fruit snack for children.

San Remo New Product Award
Winner: Humbugz Honey

Humbugz Honey began in 2004 selling bulk honey, but has now expanded to offer six premium honeys, boxed honeycomb and the new Honeycomb Round through gourmet stores and shops both in SA and interstate. After extensive research and product development and design, the new Honeycomb Round was launched to the public in March 2008. It is a frame of fresh, pure honeycomb, filled with a light coloured honey with soft citrus flavours.

Rural Solutions SA Services to Industry Award
Winner: Adelaide Showground Farmers Market

Adelaide Showground Farmers Market (ASFM) provides a unique marketing and business incubation service to food businesses providing regular cash flow and exposing them to over 3000 customers per week. Direct contact with the public allows these businesses the opportunity to tell their story and build a loyal customer base.

Food Adelaide Value Adding Award (less than 15 FTEs)
Winner: Tutto Pasta

Tutto Pasta, having undertaken substantial market research to determine the requirements of customers, is continuing to deliver value added traditional pasta products to homes and businesses throughout Australia. The South Australian business, employing 12 FTEs (full-time employees), is also developing gluten free and organic pasta meals, which will enable the business to break into new markets like Singapore, New Zealand, Dubai and Japan.

Food Adelaide Value Adding Award (greater than 15 FTEs)
Winner: Richard Gunner’s Fine Meats

Richard Gunner’s Fine Meats employs more than 50 people, with a particular focus on high-end meat brands, and ensuring that value-added meat cuts are identified and used, rather than discounted. Well known for the company’s flagship brands Coorong Angus Beef and Pure Suffolk Lamb, the company is also recognised for its quality butcher outlets, innovative product development and industry promotion activities.