Shared from the 11/27/2020 The Age eEdition

Serving up the very best Tassie produce


A growing appetite for quality Tasmanian fare has led to the creation of a premium foods group.

Michael Cooper was a pre-schooler in the early 1970s when his parents started crushing local Tasmanian organic apples and bottling them the same day. He joined the family business in 1990, and helped it become the largest organic apple juice provider in Australia, sold in supermarkets all over the country.

He’s seen the perception of his beloved state change, from a place that was considered cold and wet and slow, to somewhere the rest of Australia and the world envies for its purity, authenticity and beauty. Now, as managing director of Pure Foods Tasmania, Cooper passionately believes his business offers a range befitting an island paradise.

“When people put something from Tasmania on a plate or in a glass, they expect quality, and they expect traceability,” Cooper says. “They really want to feel the story from start to finish, the paddock to plate.

“Everyone wants to understand and trust the food they eat. Any food that’s grown in Australia is sought after, and Tasmania just has that extra bonus.”

When a group of shareholders started Pure Foods Tasmania in 2015, their first acquisition was Tasmania Pate, the largest pate producer by volume in Australia. Woodbridge Smokehouse followed, bringing its renowned salmon and ocean trout sourced from the fringes of Bruny Island to an ever-growing offering. Daly Potato Co came on board with its delicious range, while the New Pastures range of plant-based dairy – including cheese made from nuts, almonds and cashews – is another recent addition.

The pate exemplifies the Pure Foods Tasmania ethos, featuring Tasmanian butter and cheese and local free-range chicken.

“Our DNA, where at all possible, has to be 100 per cent Tasmanian – grown here, produced here, using local labour and products, water from the south-west,” Cooper explains. “Everything that Tassie has to offer is what Pure Foods Tasmania is about.”

Cooper links Tasmania becoming “cool” – not only to visit, but to explore in depth – to “the MONA effect”, a momentum that has swept the local food and beverage industry.

With the aim of bringing the taste of Tasmania to every Australian amid lockdown restrictions, Pure Foods Tasmania launched a new online store in August, which can facilitate the delivery of its full range of fresh produce to anywhere in Australia.

“Just because it’s harder to visit Tasmania doesn’t mean you should miss out on our delicious produce,” Cooper says.

The ease of access afforded by the online store will be a boon in the post-COVID world, with consumers increasingly wary of imported produce, and more committed than ever to buying and eating homegrown.

“Through COVID, people have realised they need to look after themselves,’’ Cooper says. ‘‘They’re concerned about what goes in their hands and mouths. We’re lucky – being Tasmanian, we’ve got that extra tick. Tassie is renowned like New Zealand as one of the cleanest and purest places on earth.”

See this article in the e-Edition Here