Horticulture

SPC begins processing new super fruit

By Country News

Pomegranates will now be processed at Shepparton's SPC factory, just as tomato season comes to an end.

This $3 million business is first step in what SPC chief executive Robert Giles described as "the first of quite a few acquisitions in the coming future".

The fruit comes straight from Ardmona, the largest pomegranate orchard in Australia, with 80 000 trees.

SPC has acquired the PomLife brand, developed in Ardmona in 2008 and owned by Australian Pomegranate Growers.

Pomegranate picking has just begun and will be processed until the end of August, by holding the fruit in cool stores.

Mr Giles said PomLife would accelerate the growth of SPC.

“They have a production facility inside one of the grower's apple packing facilities, we’ll run it where it is for the moment, but by end of September, it will move to Shepparton,” Mr Giles said.

“For us, it’s the first of quite a few acquisitions in the coming future.”

Mr Giles said pomegranates had a well-established market internationally, including the Middle East, India and United States.

“It’s a super food, so people are looking for those products that are better for you,” he said.

“There's lots of applications from sellers, it's used as marinade for meat, as a baking ingredient and it can be frozen for smoothies — there's many uses.”

APG chief executive Gal Shapir said he was proud to have played a part in introducing the Australian community to the benefits of pomegranates.

“The PomLife brand has found a new home at SPC where it can thrive and reach new heights,” he said.

“APG will continue to develop our orchard and support the iconic SPC business in their future endeavours in the pomegranate space and beyond.”

APG will continue to own the orchard and sell fresh fruit, with SPC purchasing the off grade produce for processing.