Matilda’s offers consumers a berry good and safe product
BERRY DELIGHT: Charlotte and Ella Gallace pictured promoting their family’s new frozen berry venture.
THE first all-Australian frozen berries have hit supermarket shelves thanks to third-generation strawberry farmers Matt and Ruth Gallace.
Until recently, commercial quantities of Australian frozen berries have not been available.
The only frozen berries that were available were imported from other countries.
The couple’s 100 per cent locally grown frozen berry business, Matilda’s, was launched after dozens of people contracted Hepatitis A from eating imported contaminated frozen mixed berries.
Berries are sourced from the 800 acre Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm in Main Ridge, Victoria and Queensland, which has been in the Gallace family for 50 years.
Raspberries and blueberries are sourced from New South Wales and Tasmania.
The berries are all handpicked, washed and snap frozen in an entirely new purpose-built facility in the Yarra Valley.
Matilda’s co-founder Ruth Gallace said the fact that they have built the factory from the ground up, and the packing site is exclusively for fruit, means there is no risk of cross contamination.
“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,” she said.
“My daughter has anaphylaxis and I’m only too well aware of the need to ensure there is no chance of contamination.
“The beauty of having our own site means it’s only used exclusively for fruit, so there is nothing else processed on site,” Mrs Gallace said.
She added that the origin of each product is completely transparent too and is labelled on each and every bag, so consumers know which region the berries came from.
“We’re really proud to be able to provide a product which really challenges the current food labelling system.
“There needs to be far more transparency as to food origin, how it’s processed and packaged.”
Mrs Gallace believes that it is now up to the consumer to show they want a wholly Australian product and to ask for it at their local retailer.
“Demand will now be driven by the consumer, and the people really do hold the power.
“If you ask for the product, your retailer will order it in,” she said.
Matilda’s frozen strawberries can be purchased at Leo’s, IGA, Foodworks and La Manna’s across Victoria.
We’re really proud to be able to provide a product which really challenges the current food labelling system.