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Luke Couch - Nutrafruit

"We're dedicated to minimizing waste and maximizing the potential of every fruit"

The Queen Garnet plum harvest is currently in full swing, and it's shaping up to be another record-breaking season. With a further three to four weeks to go, it is anticipated to reach unprecedented volumes with historically high average returns to the 30+ growers across Australia.

Grown in every Australian state except Tasmania, Queen Garnet stands as the largest single IP plum variety in the country. Luke Couch, CEO at Nutrafruit, sheds light on the current landscape: "We have 300,000 trees producing fruit at commercial volumes at the moment. While we're not quite at full production yet, we're on track to reach that milestone within the next couple of years. Despite challenges like a wet spring, we've been fortunate to avoid extreme weather events."

While there are other brands on the market, they typically comprise a mix of different plum varieties sold under a single brand umbrella. Unlike other branded plums, Queen Garnet stands out as a distinct variety, offering consumers a consistent eating experience, good quality, and a well-defined nutritional profile. Couch explains, "When customers choose the Queen Garnet, they know exactly what they're getting—a premium product, a great eating experience and high nutritional value."

The Queen Garnet is sold domestically to major supermarkets and, via wholesalers, to leading independent grocers. Internationally, the Queen Garnet has garnered significant demand, particularly in China, which accounts for 30% of its exports. "While we're also opening opportunities in other export markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, the exceptional demand from China has allowed us to proceed cautiously with expansion into these secondary markets," Couch shares.

"We're dedicated to minimizing waste and maximizing the potential of every fruit," Couch emphasizes. "A significant portion of non-retail grade Queen Garnet plums are redirected to prevent waste, aligning with our commitment to sustainability. This initiative not only reduces food waste but also opens up new avenues for consumers to enjoy Queen Garnet's goodness year-round. Additionally, our strategic partner, QGBio Plus, has developed a range of targeted natural extracts from Queen Garnet fruit, unlocking the full spectrum of bio-actives within the fruit."

Exciting research partnerships with the University of Wollongong and Victoria University are in progress to explore the potential health benefits of these extracts, ranging from brain health to cardiovascular support and improved health span, for example.

"This investment in research sets us apart," Couch asserts. "While the Queen Garnet boasts exceptional flavour, it's the significant potential health benefits, backed by over 10 years of continued research, that truly distinguish the Queen Garnet. This opens up opportunities not only for us and our growers but also for leaders and disruptors in the functional food and nutraceutical industries.

"We're thrilled about the new product opportunities emerging from our collaboration with QGBio Plus. We're super excited about the new products we're brewing up with these extracts at the core," Couch explains. "Get ready to experience wellness like never before—it's going to be one heck of a ride!"

For more information:
Luke Couch
Tel: +61 7 3217 1644
Email: [email protected]