AUSTRALIAN organically-grown herbs are expected to play an increasingly important role in supplying US-based herbs and spices group, McCormick & Company.
The company released its Purpose-Led Performance (PLP) Report in October which highlighted the move to more sustainably-grown product.
Driving this is McCormick’s acquisition of Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices in 2016, attracted in part by the potential to expand global sales of closer-to-fresh herb products, grown organically mostly in Biloela in central Queensland.
The sale was testament to the relationships forged by Gourmet Garden with Biloela herb growers over many years, with the company supporting growers in the transition to organic farming and pioneering offshore markets for their organic herbs.
Gourmet Garden’s range of stir-in herb and spice pastes and lightly dried herbs enjoy a strong reputation for quality and are shipped to more than 15 countries worldwide.
With US$4.4 billion in annual sales, McCormick & Company company manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavourful products to the entire food industry – retail outlets, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses.
McCormick Foods Australia Managing director and former Gourmet Garden CEO, Nick White, said the strengthened focus on sustainability, product innovation and grower support in the McCormick strategy will only benefit Australian growers.
“We expect that growth will accelerate as the McCormick PLP strategy unfolds. McCormick is the biggest global player in this sector and we see rapid growth in global demand for the sort of high-quality, sustainably-grown herbs that Australian suppliers such as Gourmet Garden do so well,” Mr White said.
“New generations of young consumers in countries such as China are exploring western culinary styles.
“They are discerning and want premium ingredients from sustainable and traceable sources – and Australian producers are known for delivering that.”
Launched in the late 1990s from its base in Queensland, Gourmet Garden built a reputation for innovative product and packaging design centred on organically grown herbs, sustainable production, minimal waste and natural taste.
Gourmet Garden is credited with pioneering the “lightly dried” herb category in both Australia and North America, extending fridge-life and the flavour profile of fresh herbs while minimising food wastage.
McCormick & Company global innovation manager, Jacqui Wilson-Smith, who was previously the head of innovation and marketing at Gourmet Garden, said the company had been working closely with Biloela growers to pioneer new farming techniques and herb products.
“With demand for Western ingredients emerging in non-traditional culinary markets, Australia has become an increasingly important source for McCormick, particularly for herbs,” Ms Wilson-Smith said.
“Our production quality is outstanding, and consumers overseas trust the clean and green reputation attached to Australian produce.”
McCormick Foods Australia has manufacturing sites operating in Victoria and Queensland.