Frozen fruit, berry range hits Coles shelves

matilda's strawberryColes Supermarkets will stock a frozen berry and fruit option that is 100 per cent Australian grown, processed and packaged.

Matilda’s Australian Frozen Fruit was launched in December 2015 by third-generation strawberry farmers Matt and Ruth Gallace, after dozens of people contracted hepatitis A from eating imported contaminated frozen mixed berries.

Matilda’s berries are mostly sourced from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, which has been in the Gallace family for 50 years, and covers 800 acres of land in Victoria and Queensland. Matilda’s also sources mangoes and additional berries from a network of Australian farms, built over decades of involvement in the farming community.

The berries are all hand-picked and graded, before being washed and snap frozen in an entirely new purpose-built facility in the Yarra Valley.

Matilda’s co-founder Ruth Gallace says the origin of each product is completely transparent, with the fruits’ growing region clearly labeled on every bag.

“We’re really proud to provide a product that clearly states where the produce originates from, and where it is packaged. We have long argued that there needs to be far more transparency around food origin, and how it’s processed and packaged.”

Matildas CEOThe Gallaces’ interest in contaminant-free processing and trustworthy food-origin labeling is compounded by having a daughter whose anaphylaxis can be triggered by trace amounts of an allergen.

“In many cases nuts are processed on the same site used to process other foods, which causes great concern for parents who have children with allergies. I’m only too well aware of the need to ensure there is no chance of contamination.”

Ruth says the fact that they’ve built the factory from the ground up, and the packing site is used exclusively for fruit, means there’s no risk of cross contamination.

Already available in more than 700 independent retailers, Matilda’s frozen strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries and mango will be available in 100 Coles stores across Victoria.

Matilda’s co-founder Ruth Gallace said that the family has been a preferred Coles supplier for almost 40 years, so selling through Coles is a natural fit.

“Coles has closely monitored our progress from the beginning: from the factory construction to the launch of the business and the enthusiastic uptake of the range in the Australian market.”

“At present, we have enough berries to supply Coles in Victoria, but if the customer response is similar to what we’ve experienced in other channels, we expect it won’t be long before Matilda’s is available in Coles nationally.”

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