Australian soft-berry processor Stuart McGruddy has been awarded a Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowship
McGruddy, founder and managing director of soft berry fruit processing operation My Berries, will use the Fellowship to explore how Australia’s berry industry can best deploy existing technology, expertise and know-how to capitalise on the value-adding opportunities in freezing whole soft berry fruits.
Locally frozen berries: domestic market opportunities
“In partnering with local growers, my company – My Berries – processes, washes, dries and freezes soft berry fruits in South East Queensland,” McGruddy says. And his experience shows that the domestic market for home-processed frozen berries is, potentially, large.
“Imported frozen fruits typically dominate the Australian market, whilst homegrown fruit tend to be pureed or juiced as there is little understanding of the best manufacturing techniques for soft berries,” he says.
“Understanding processes and techniques used in other countries will help the Australian berry industry become more efficient and knowledgeable in the freezing of their product.”
Once Australia’s berry processors have the technology, systems and know-how, McGruddy contends, food retailers and processors are ready to buy the local product.
“I have established working relationships with retailers and manufacturers to switch to Australian-grown frozen fruits,” he says.
What are the Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowships?
According to Hort Innovation, its Churchill Fellowships ‘drive innovation and transformation in Australia’s horticulture industry’.
“Churchill Fellows undertake research projects that involve visiting and gaining insights from abroad to complete a research project,” Hort Innovation General Manager for Research and Development Dr Alison Anderson explains.
“Research project findings provide real benefit to the Australian horticultural community.”
Hort Innovation and the Churchill Trust offer up to three fellowships annually. The Fellowships are open to any industry participant with a viable research project of benefit to the sector.
Find out more.
Source: Aussie frozen berry producer Stuart McGruddy awarded Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowship I Hort Innovation