By Melissa Keogh
South Australian sauces will soon hit supermarket shelves in California after much-loved jam and condiment maker, Beerenberg, caught the eye of a US distribution giant.
The sixth-generation Hahndorf farm is releasing six of its Slow Cooker sauces in 100 Californian independent supermarkets by October.
The sauces will be distributed to stores across the Golden State by US giant United National Foods Inc.
The Slow Cooker sauce range, which includes a Spanish chicken, French chicken (coq au vin), and Cuban mojo pork sauce, aims to add convenience to classic, slow cooked dishes.
Beerenberg marketing director Sally Paech says the sauces were launched in Australia last year and were an instant hit.
“We were so happy with it and people were raving about it, there hasn’t been a premium offering like this that gives you a really beautiful meal,” she says.
“You add (the sauce) to your protein and other pantry items and put it in the slow cooker.
“There’s nothing on the market that offers a slow cooked sauce so we saw a gap in the market.”
Beerenberg also exports its products to South East Asia but Sally says the United Foods shipment was the company’s first “big order” to the US.
She hopes it will kickstart success in the American market but says the world of food exporting can be tough.
“It’s a really competitive environment,” she says.
“We produce jams, sauces and dressings, which are all different products in different parts of the supermarket and we’re competing against multiple brands.”
Sally says the majority of Beerenberg’s exported products are single-serve portions, such as small jams, which are distributed to hotels and airlines.
The company is also in the midst of a multi-million dollar expansion to its Hahndorf site.
A new warehouse and offices have been built near the existing building and a new factory is also under construction, expected to be completed by mid-2018.
Sally says the expansion was necessary as product demand has increased significantly.
“Our factory is flat chat, it was built in the 1980s and it’s not big enough for what we need to put out onto the market,” she says.
Beerenberg is behind more than 90 products.
Many of the ingredients used in the spreads and sauces are grown at the 81ha Hahndorf farm including strawberries, chillies, gherkins, plums and quinces.
Beerenberg is headed by three Paech siblings, Anthony, Robert and Sally, alongside their mother Carol.
Their father Grant Paech, who passed away in 2015, founded Beerenberg in 1971 after launching a roadside stall selling strawberry jam made in the family’s kitchen.
In 1987 Beerenberg struck a deal with Qantas for mini jam jars to be supplied to passengers.
As the years rolled on the small company grew to become an Australian household name.
Grant also pioneered the pick-your-own-strawberries concept which lures thousands of visitors to the Hahndorf farm to pick their own fruit.
The strawberry fields will soon be scattered with hungry fruit pickers, as mid-October marks the typical start to the strawberry season.
The Beerenberg Slow Cooker range is available at independent supermarkets nationally, at the Hahndorf farm shop and online.
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