Prosperous times mark Almondco’s 70th celebrations
Almondco Australia will officially celebrate its 70th year this weekend against backdrop of unprecedented global demand and high pricing.
The Renmark-based co-operative will play host to staff, many of its 150 growers and their families, as well as domestic and international customers to mark the anniversary.
Almondco managing director Brenton Woolston said the gala weekend would see more than 400 people who have had an involvement in the company over the years join the celebrations.
“We have been built by almond growers for almond growers and that remains our mantra today.”
He said the company had played an integral role in the birth of the Australian almond industry and evolved into a market leader with a turnover now nearing $200 million a year.
“It is an amazing success story,” Mr Woolston said. “We have a simple philosophy of maximising returns for growers.
“That is the cornerstone on which we have developed a business model that adheres to producing premium quality almond products.
“There has been many co-operatives come and go, but we have stood the test of time because of that united approach.”
Mr Woolston said a drought in California, a lower exchange rate with the US dollar and increased consumer demand had resulted in almond prices sky rocketing in the past 12 months.
“After enduring the double whammy of drought and low pricing several years ago, our growers are now enjoying much more prosperous times.
“That is good news for all the regional communities involved in our industry.”
Mr Woolston said Almondco employs more than 100 people a year across its Renmark and Lyrup processing sites and estimates it is indirectly responsible for the employment of at least another 400 across the industry.
“We are very proud to have defied the horticultural trend in recent times and experienced phenomenal growth.
“As places like Berri Ltd closed we have been able to provide skilled Riverlanders with employment opportunities. We continue to be heavily committed to investing in this region and our growers from the NSW Riverina through to the Adelaide Plains.
“As far as grower returns go we consistently prove to be the best value option in the industry because of our co-operative structure. It is revenue in, less expenses and the rest goes back to growers. There’s no-one taking a clip on the way through to appease shareholders, investors or the stock exchange. We know it is the best formula and so do our growers.”
Mr Woolston said the company had come a long way from its origins south of Adelaide in 1944.
“From humble beginnings in the Willunga area, we have seen the company become the iconic operation it is today.
“We’ve been named the Australian regional exporter of the year, we’ve developed markets in more than 40 countries around the world and we dominate supply across the Australian retail and industrial landscape.
“Almonds have gone from a niche market to one of Australia’s most high value export crops
“A lot of people outside Almondco would not realise that as a bulk processor-marketer our product can be found in one form or another in nearly every Australian supermarket aisle.
“Our growers should be very proud of what we’ve all achieved.
“We have a brand for producing high quality product and we have customers around the world seeking us out for supply. That’s the reputation we’ve worked hard to develop and it has resulted in many long term business relationships with customers who share the same appreciation for quality.”
Almondco’s Renmark processing facility was established in 1994.
Mr Woolston said the vision to establish such a state of-the-art factory 20 years ago was the catalyst for taking Australian almonds to the world.
“We focus on staying ahead of the curve as far as food safety standards and quality expectations.”
Mr Woolston said this weekend’s activities would celebrate what has been achieved so far and set the scene for an exciting future for all involved.
“The big secret to our success is our people. From growers to our dedicated team of employees, we are all committed to the same goals.
“On Sunday all our stakeholders come together to celebrate where Almondco has come from and where we are going.”