Australia’s organic companies among the most innovative

Posted by Isobel Drake on 6th January 2009

Being more innovative than most has paid off for three Australian organic companies, whose creative approach to business sees them looking forward to a prosperous 2009 despite the economic turmoil.

The recent opening of Z Mills in SE Queensland was a giant step for organic flour milling. Protection from light, reducing the temperature to 4◦Celsius or lower and using nitrogen to exclude oxygen from the milling process means that the enzyme reactions that cause rancidity in flour are virtually eradicated.

In addition, CEO Thomas Cunliffe reports, the process retains the grain roughage and essential oils, minerals and fibre so that the nutrient value of the flour is maintained.

The mill can be used for hard grains such as brown rice and hemp and trials are planned for milling China, tiny seeds of an ancient South American plant that is rich in anti-oxidants. Even the mill is a local product, a Queensland design in which the grain effectively mills itself through a contained, high-speed impact process that uses no water and 30% less energy than conventional mills.

Australian Harvest’s grape marc produce is also ready for the New Year, after making its mark at a major food expo in Dublin.

Its Bio-Grape range of organic grape- and wine-based pastes, designed to be served with cheeses, took out the Best Overseas Product 2008 award in a competition in which the calibre of entries surpassed the judges’ expectations.

The pastes, made with an extract from the richly-pigmented marc of red wine grapes, incorporate exotic fruit and chilli additions and contain over 600 anti-oxidants – potentially capitalising on the health and wellness trend.

Scott Fry’s Loving Earth was the first – and is still one of only two – raw chocolate producers in Australia. His raw chocolate dips into the ancient lore of South America, with ingredients produced by indigenous co-operatives in Mexico and Peru.

Loving Earth filled a niche market for those who like their chocolate strong and unadorned, and for consumers who need to avoid dairy foods and to limit their sugar intake. And, with dark chocolate increasingly being selected by health conscious consumers, the product could be one of the many to see sales rise as a result.