Coles has invested $43 million in a ripening facility in Melbourne to keep pace with banana, avocado and mango demands.

The new 7,280sqm facility was built in partnership with growers collective Mackays Marketing as part of a five year agreement between the two group and is aimed at supporting North Queensland growers.

The site has the capacity to ripen 350 million pieces of fruit each year, using reversible air-flow ripening technology to ripen to demand, which Coles says will improve shelf life and reduce wastage. The fruit will be sold across 270 Coles stores in Victoria and South Australia.

Mackays Marketing CEO Richard Clayton said the partnership would improve customer access to fruit and vegetables.

“This project has bought best practice ripening technology to Coles and this will help us continue to regularly provide the very best quality bananas, avocados and mangoes to consumers,” he said.

“Our farming families are proud of the produce they grow and excited to see a reduction of waste produce as we extend the shelf life of the fruit.”

The site also has a 5-Star Green Star rating and has a number of sustainability measures, such as rainwater tanks and 1,790 solar panels.

Coles Group Chief Commercial Officer Greg Davis said the initiative would help drive sustainability for both the retailer and Australian farmers.

“We’re delighted to be supporting horticulture jobs across Queensland and other growing regions by replacing old technology with more sustainable alternatives,” Mr Davis said.

“Bananas are one of the most popular products in our supermarkets, and by partnering with key growers and investing in sustainability throughout our supply chain we can continue to offer top-quality Australian fruit to our customers.”

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