Riverland company, Almondco, was recognised at last month’s Business SA Export Awards with the Agribusiness export award for the second consecutive year.

Based in Renmark, Almondco provides a full range of almonds in natural form across a range of international sizes. 

The majority of its product is sold in natural kernal form, however Almondco's flexibility to process the product into the most accessible, market friendly format, from kernal to value-added slivered, diced and meal, has secured its access into multiple market segments in many countries.

Almondco has developed from humble origins to a company employing 70 workers and contracting more than 85% of Australia's almond growers.

The company was established by Almond Growers for Almond Growers. The original Almond Growers Co-operative was formed in the early 1930’s with the Co-operative Almond Producers Ltd (the fore-runner of Almondco), being registered in September 1944.

Group General Manager of Almondco, Mr Brenton Woolston, said that the export award provided great recognition for the company.

“Receiving this award two years in a row confirms the company status as a world class exporter of premium quality products warranting confidence from growers and customers throughout the supply chain,” Mr Woolston said.

“Recent capital investment has enabled us to further enhance best management practices that ensure optimal efficiencies to meet market demands and maximise returns to growers.” 

Almondco exports to over 40 countries including several key destinations throughout Europe, Middle East, Asia, India, United Kingdom and New Zealand. 

“Since our foray into exporting in 1996, Almondco has developed and executed an export plan focused on building long-term sustainable markets which compliment the capabilities of the Australian almond industry,” Mr Woolston added.

“Based on careful forecasting of new and future trees as well as consumer demand and trends, this committed and successful strategy has generated annual export revenues in excess of $20 million and a strong platform for these markets to absorb future growth.”

Almondco has identified “blue chip” companies with like-minded approaches to quality and reliability as being a key to export growth, along with establishing a network of experienced agents in various markets.

In 2009, Almondco shipped 220 containers, and by 2015 will ship 1000 containers. Its exports represented 6% of sales revenue in 2005, and in 2010, it is expected that its exports will represent almost 60% of sales revenue.

Mr Woolston said that the company was committed to meeting this growth and invested heavily in developing processing, logistical, technological and administrative capacities that will be required to manage the increased tonnages.

“The primary focus for Almondco’s export segment will be to reinforce current strategic alliances, support those markets that are set to grow as volumes increase, and continue to develop robust opportunities in emerging markets.”

Almondco Australia Ltd is owned by almond growers and it is focused on improving existing partnerships that ultimately increase value throughout the supply chain leading to cost efficiencies that ensure best possible returns for its growers.

“The standards for excellence showcased by Almondco are significant for Australia and positions the country to overtake Spain as the world's second largest almond producer by 2015 - this will be a source of international recognition, as well as national pride and economic benefit for the country,” Mr Woolston said.

Almondco's strategic direction and foresight has resulted in the company pioneering international standards of processing and technological excellence, implementing a number of world firsts which have resulted in tangible flow-on benefits to Australia's reputation globally.

While the export award highlights the performance of the company on the international stage, it is still performing well in markets closer to home.

“During this current high exchange rate, we have continued to be strongly supported by our domestic market which has played a pivotal role in the businesses success.”

Photo courtesy of Nick Clayton

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