Leading Australian dried fruit products producer has sensed the need to grow the healthy snack food market, particularly given the tropical dried fruit market is still small as a result of a lack of natural and quality product.
Mareeba Orchards highlights that a large portion of the tropical dried fruit sold in Australia is unhealthy with added sugar and preservatives, in order to reduce the price and increase the weight of the product in the packet.
"We are the only company in Australia that offers our products in snack-sized packets are made from 100 per cent Australian grown and dried fruit from the country’s top farmers," a company spokesperson said. "The tropical dried fruit market in Australia has been dominated by imported products from mainly third world countries, repacked in Australia under various brands. This is the result of cheap labour in these third world countries driving down costs and therefore prices, but the main negative with this model is the poor quality of the fruit and hence dried fruit."
Mareeba Orchards Dried Fruit is grown in Far North Queensland Australia, renowned for its fertile soil and tropical fruit farms. The company's products currently include Dried Pineapple, Dried Mango, Ecoganic Dried Banana, Dried Red Dragon Fruit and Dried Red Papaya.
The spokesperson added that this season has been challenging with the pandemic, supply chain issues and floods all contributing to a challenging year coupled with a low mango season which made it difficult to source good quality reasonably priced mango, but all the other fruits were by and large stable and selling well. The company supports local farmers, sourcing the fruit from the farms in the immediate vicinity of the production facility, buying surplus to needs fruit and other specified fruit.
"Our products are 100 per cent fruit," he said. "We partner with growers who do not use chemical sprays on their plantations. Remember that all tropical dried fruit that we produce have exterior skins that are completely peeled, unlike stone fruits which are eaten with the skins on and therefore need to be well washed before eating or citrus fruits that are squeezed with the skin on and therefore any chemical residue is squeezed into the container. Australia produces the best quality fruit in the world due to our farming methods and good quality soils and climate."
Photo: 100% Dried Banana (images courtesy: Mareeba Orchards Instagram)
Mareeba Orchards notes that one of the challenges is that there are always going to be consumers who are price and volume-driven and who are either oblivious or not informed as to the health aspect of dried fruit.
"We produce the healthiest dried fruit available without any nasty additives or sugar,” he said. “The Australian consumer needs to be aware of the health benefits of our dried fruit because the alternatives can be very unhealthy. Mareeba Orchards are ranged in over 700 stores in Australia and growing. The Company grew out of the Papa Organics brand that has produced certified organic dried mango for over 25 years from mangoes grown on our ACO accredited farm in Mareeba. There is no other company in Australia that is offering a snack-sized Australian dried fruit product, that is healthy, with no added sugar, preservative-free, gluten-free, kosher and vegan friendly."
Mareeba Orchards has recently launched in one of the largest retail chains in the United States and the company says that this will be the first time Australian tropical dried fruit products will be available in the USA.