Organic chicken dinner winner

Chicken nuggets win for Arcadian Organics at annual awards


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Arcadian Organic's Mack McGeechan, Alister Ferguson, Rick Vella, and Paul da Silva, with their award for certified organic food product of the year.

Arcadian Organic's Mack McGeechan, Alister Ferguson, Rick Vella, and Paul da Silva, with their award for certified organic food product of the year.

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The Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Company’s foray into the convenience food market paid dividends on Tuesday night when its Cleaver’s brand of chicken nuggets was judged the certified organic food product of the year.

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The Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Company’s foray into the convenience food market paid dividends on Tuesday night when its Cleaver’s brand of chicken nuggets was judged the certified organic food product of the year.

The award, presented at the fifth annual Australian Organic Awards for Excellence, at Pialligo Estate Glasshouse in Canberra, is the second time the Toowoomba-based company has taken out the category.

They also won last year with their Cleaver’s organic beef hot dogs, described as a hot dog Australians can trust.

In addition, a Blackall beef producer who supplies Arcadian Organics, Iain Scholes, was a finalist in the organic farmer of the year award.

Blackall organic beef producer, Iain Scholes, second right, with Arcadian Organic members - Mack McGeechan, Alister Ferguson, Peter Gall and Sarah Fotheringham.

Blackall organic beef producer, Iain Scholes, second right, with Arcadian Organic members - Mack McGeechan, Alister Ferguson, Peter Gall and Sarah Fotheringham.

Three other of Queensland’s most innovative organic producers shone at the awards – Yandina’s COYO Organic was awarded the export market leader award, Maleny’s Mukti Organics took out the best organic influencer award and Daniel Spotswood of Mt Alma Organics in Inkerman won the young organic leader award.

Arcadian Organics spokesman, marketing director, Paul da Silva, said the ongoing awards were commercially valuable for them, showing that the products were as good as they claimed.

“It’s also good for morale – we decided these would be good to invest in and a lot of effort was put in to get it to the supermarket shelf,” he said. “This shows we’re on the right track.”

The chicken nuggets are made from breast and thigh meat sourced from a family-owned farm at Inglewood, and organic crumb, and can be cooked in the oven.

According to Paul, people want to buy products for their convenience and taste but some have been reluctant to feed them to their children because they haven’t trusted what was in them.

“We asked, what if we bring the trust, so people don’t feel they’re corrupting nutrition ideals.

“That’s where our hot dog strategy came from.

“They’re mainstream products in appeal but making them organic brings a whole new segment of the market to us.”

The nuggets were launched in September, in Coles supermarkets, and Paul said they were meeting sales forecasts.

The growing demand for certified organic product, both domestically and internationally, is what Blackall’s Iain Scholes has benefited from as he’s built his cattle business up through the era of growth.

Twenty years an organic producer, Iain has been supplying  meat to Arcadian Organics since it began, approximately 14 years ago.

An early adopter of the organic principles, along with OBE Beef and other Blackall producers, he said he had built his business on the strength of the organic market.

“We’ve had some challenges but they’re the same ones that conventional producers face,” he said. “Our dry climate generally helps – we’re suited to organic production.”

Iain said he was surprised to be a finalist in the farmer of the year category, considering the diversity of fellow finalists.

“It’s not something we sought; it’s a category any of Arcadian Organics’ suppliers could achieve,” he said.

Night of nights

The awards were hosted by not-for-profit industry group Australian Organic to celebrate the innovative contributions members of the nation’s organic industry have made over the past year, showcasing leading products, businesses and individuals. 

South Melbourne-based Whole Kids, which produces Australia's largest range of certified organic, additive free and allergen friendly snacks for kids, took out Business of the Year, while organic mushroom farmer Chris McLoghlin, who runs his business Mycelia Organics at his Lockwood South farm and Diggers Rest, took out the coveted Farmer of the Year award.

Dignitaries in attendance at the event included David Littleproud, minister for agriculture and water resources; Karen Andrews, minister for industry, science and technology; Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and South Australian Senator Rex Patrick.

This year’s judges said entrants exceeded expectations, commenting, “With so many innovative new products, successful business stories and extraordinary individuals, this year’s finalists are a true credit to our industry which has quickly become one of the most dynamic markets in Australia.”

Australian Organic is the leading industry peak body responsible for ensuring organic standards in Australia remain in the hands of the industry.

Australian Organic established an organic certification scheme to independently verify that farmers and processors were producing in accord with those standards and also introduced the highly recognisable Bud logo.

This symbol ensures the integrity of organic products in the marketplace for consumers.

Demand for organic products is growing consistently year on year if the 2018 market report compiled by Australian Organic is anything to go by.

It showed that the nation’s organic industry is worth $2.4billion, and the total value of exports is now in excess of $700 million per annum with exports growing more than 15 per cent annually. 

List of winners:

INDUSTRY CATEGORIES

  • Best Organic Market Innovator of the Year – Australian Organic Food Co Soup (Braeside, VIC)
  • Certified Organic Wine Business of the Year – Kalleske Wines (Greenock, SA)
  • Export Market Leader of the Year – COYO Organic (Yandina, QLD)

PRODUCT CATEGORIES

  • New Certified Organic Product of the Year – Soulfresh Lo Bros COLA Kombucha (Altona North, VIC)
  • Certified Organic Food Product of the Year – Cleaver’s Chicken Nuggets – (Sydney, NSW)
  • Certified Organic Non-Food Product of the Year – TOM Organic Female Hygiene (St Kilda, VIC)
  • Certified Organic Alcoholic Beverage of the Year – Kalleske Wines (Greenock, SA)
  • Certified Organic Non-Alcoholic Beverage of the Year – Bean Ground and Drunk of The Bean Alliance (Reservoir, VIC)
  • Certified Organic Cosmetic Product of the Year – SATIVA Skincare (Bangalow, NSW)

MARKETING CATEGORIES

  • Best Organic Influencer of the Year – Mukti Organics (Maleny, QLD)

OVERALL CATEGORIES

  • Farmer of the Year – Chris McLoghlin, Mycelia Organics (Diggers Rest/Lockwood South VIC)
  • Business of the Year – Whole Kids (South Melbourne, VIC)
  • Retailer of the Year – Apples and Sage Organic Wholefoods (Balwyn VIC)
  • Young Organic Leader of the Year – Daniel Spotswood, Mt Alma Organics (Inkerman, QLD)
  • Chairman’s Award – Mulloon Creek Natural Farms, The Mulloon Institute (Bungendore, NSW) & Anni Brownjohn, Ozganics (Murwillumbah, NSW)
  • Hall of Fame – The Booth Family, Mary and David Booth, Buronga Organics (Cootamundra, NSW) & the Druce Family, Coral and Neil Druce, Green Grove Organics (Junee, NSW)
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