Victoria-based company Matilda’s, which launched the first locally grown frozen berries on the market just months ago, is expanding its range to include seasonal mixed berries, blueberries and mangoes.
Matilda’s was launched by third generation strawberry farmers Matt and Ruth Gallace after dozens of people contracted Hepatitis A from eating contaminated imported frozen mixed berries last year.
Matilda’s berries are sourced locally, from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, which has 800 acres of land in Victoria and Queensland. Matilda’s also buys in fruit from other Australian growers.
Co-founder Ruth Gallace say the company initially launched with frozen strawberries, and the support for the product has been such, they’ve now been able to extend that range.
“It’s so nice to see consumers who asked for this product a year ago, now really backing us and it’s meant we’ve been able to move into a seasonal mixed berry product, blueberries and mangoes.”
Mrs Gallace says as with the strawberries, all of the new range will list the exact region where the fruit is sourced.
“When we sourced equipment for the factory in the Yarra Valley, I wanted to make sure we had complete transparency in our labels, and as a mother, I can see why consumers increasingly want to know the origin of food and want to trust that what they’re buying is from what is listed on the packet.”
She says having a percentage of Australian food listed on the product is a start, but Matilda’s would like to see more producers list exactly where all of the products in the packet come from.
“We shouldn’t have uncertainly about origin. Consumers should have a clear choice regardless what they decide to do?”
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has congratulated the Gallace family on their initiative and says the Australian Government is determined to deliver a meaningful and clear country of origin labelling system for food.
“We have been working with business, consumers and the states and territories to progress changes to the current origin labelling system. Our consultations have reinforced that there is very strong consumer demand for change.
He says he hopes the greatly improved origin labelling system will begin mid-year.
“We don’t want to add needlessly to the burdens of business, which is why we will provide a transition period to assist business with the move to the new origin labelling system.”
Matilda’s products are available in premium independent supermarkets nationwide.