Queensland companies to reach broader product markets

Qualipac Produce to process otherwise out of spec food

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Kialla Pure Foods managing director Quentin Kennedy.

Kialla Pure Foods managing director Quentin Kennedy.

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Kialla Pure Foods at Greenmount and Qualipac Produce at Gatton are two recipients of Queensland government Rural Economic Development Grants.

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Funding from the state government will allow two Queensland companies to reach broader product markets and install innovative processing technology.

Kialla Pure Foods at Greenmount and Qualipac Produce at Gatton are two recipients of Queensland government Rural Economic Development Grants.

Kialla Pure Foods is a popular producer of GMO free, organic products including baking flour, specialty flour and premixes.

The funding will be used to upgrade their current blending system by installing a new mixer and packaging system at the Greenmount-based mill, with the project expected to create eight new jobs after the installation of the new mixer.

Managing director Quentin Kennedy said the mixer would create new job opportunities within the company while continuing its support of grain producers across the state.

"Kialla Pure Foods currently sources its grain from 30 farmers located across the Darling Downs and to the north around Theodore, Springsure, Emerald and Capella," Mr Kennedy said.

"We will have four new staff in the production area, a supervisor, a shared role between quality assurance and control operations and administration and a role will also be required in product research and development."

Mr Kennedy said the new blending system was a crucial upgrade to improve quality control, reduce costs and increase output capacity.

"The new mixer will allow for effective clean downs between runs, allowing us to avoid cross contamination between products which is highly important when working with organic materials," he said.

"It will also have additional critical control points that will assist in ensuring any foreign contaminants will be removed."

The new packaging system will allow Kialla Pure Foods to keep up with consumer trends by packaging their mixes in popular doy bags.

"With an automated packing system, we will be able to pack our mixes into either one litre bottles for our very successful 'Shake and Pour' pancake mixes or into doy bag re-sealable stand-up pouches which are currently in high demand in retail outlets," Mr Kennedy said.

Qualipac Produce will use their grant to build a state-of-the-art, Queensland-first floretting machine capable of processing otherwise out of spec food to a saleable product.

Broccoli and cauliflower heads too big for market specifications were previously sold below cost for livestock feed but the latest technology will cut them up small enough to meet consumer demand in supermarkets and green grocers.

Qualipac Produce and Qualipac Agriculture directors Troy and Bradley Qualischefski said existing customers were relying on frozen imported cauliflower and broccoli products, where facilities in Tasmania were already at capacity and seasonal conditions did not allow for expansion.

Bradley said the project would deliver significant benefits for Australian producers and open a market for a product line that did not already exist in Queensland.

"This project is about improving an existing product that already has consumer markets in place," he said.

"The product would be supplied for four months a year, from July to October, with the potential to be extended.

"It is expected 2,500 tonnes of broccoli floretts and 680 tonnes of cauliflower florett would be required annually while there is also interest from overseas markets for floretted Australian produce.

"We are comfortable in the knowledge consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for Australian grown produce. We are replacing and improving an existing imported product rather than recreating a new one."

The Rural Economic Development Grants program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector. The $10 million grants program provides for three funding rounds over a three-year period ending 2021.

A total of 15 businesses have received $3.3 million under the first-round of funding for the RED Grants program.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said these 15 projects are expected to create over 600 jobs across the agricultural sector in regional Queensland.

"This program represents the Palaszczuk Government investing in regional jobs now and for the future," Mr Furner said.

"By supporting regional businesses today we are helping them expand and growing our economy for the future."

The recent State Budget locked in funding for the remaining rounds of the program, with funding for Round 2 of the RED Grants to be announced later this year.

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