- Wednesday 22 November 2017
In a move that may reignite the great pavlova debate, Sunshine Coast-based Country Chef Bakery Co. may have taken the title of being the biggest pavlova producer in the Southern Hemisphere following the official opening of a new pavlova factory by Mayor Mark Jamieson today (November 22).
The family-owned company, which has been baking since 1952, used their first contract to support the development of their purpose-built facilities in Nambour in 1993 and a move to the current site in Kunda Park in 2002, and 15 years later have completed the new pavlova factory adjacent to their original site.
Mayor Mark Jamieson joined the Country Chef bakery team at their new Sunshine Coast pavlova factory at Kunda Park for the official opening.
Mayor Jamieson described Country Chef as a local 100% Australian-owned family business success story.
“Country Chef is growing from strength to strength,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Their latest expansion is growing jobs for locals and has resulted in more than 49 new full-time staff while retaining their 70 current full-time employees.
"Through their partnership with council, they were able to achieve this multi-million dollar expansion which takes their total number of production facilities to four and provides a possible future economic benefit of $102.5 million for our region.
“Country Chef has another meringue factory located in Rydalmere, Sydney so we knew we were up against some competition when they were considering expansion.
“We’re thrilled they’ve chosen to remain and grow on the Sunshine Coast where they’ve prospered for more than 25 years which truly reflects the high confidence within the Sunshine Coast business community.”
From humble beginnings making desserts in their Sunshine Coast home to being the largest baker of pavlovas and meringues in the Southern Hemisphere, Mr Bartlett has been at the forefront of Country Chef’s exponential success.
“This expansion will allow us to grow and continue to meet the supply demands of our key customers such as Woolworths, Coles, Qantas, Foodservice Distributors, 7-Eleven and Metcash IGA Supermarkets,” Mr Bartlett said.
“Our success also has a flow-on effect for many local suppliers.
“One of the major ingredients in our signature pavlova is sugar and we buy more than 1000 tonnes of it each year from Australian suppliers and have been for the past 12 years.
“We also use more than 100,000 egg whites every day in peak season and these are sourced from Pace Farm - another 100% Australian family-owned and operated company.”
The new pavlova facility at Kunda Park and the meringue factory in Rydalmere, Sydney, are gluten-free facilities.
“The next step for us is to move our banana bread production to our new Forest Glen site so the two Kunda Park facilities will be completely gluten-free and focussed solely on pavlova production,” Mr Bartlett said.
“With more than 30 million slices of banana bread and 12 million serves of pavlova manufactured each year, this expansion has come at an ideal time and we thank council for their invaluable support throughout this process. They have been excellent to work with.”
The food and agribusiness industry is one of the seven high-value industries identified in the Regional Economic Development Strategy.
It contributes more than $670 million to our local economy, with significant growth seen in the region’s processing sector.
“Country Chef adds to the growing list of success stories in our local food and agribusiness industry, demonstrating that our local companies are good enough to take on anyone in Australia and the world,” Mayor Jamieson said.
Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) general manager Emma Greenhatch said the Sunshine Coast has a thriving network of experienced food and agribusiness professionals.
“With so much happening in the food and agribusiness industry on the Sunshine Coast, it’s important we collaborate and work together to support ongoing growth and success,” she said.
“I congratulate Country Chef on their achievements with the official opening today, and I look forward to continuing to work with them.”
For more information about Country Chef, visit www.countrychef.com.au.
Image caption Mayor Mark Jamieson with Country Chef Managing Director Lloyd Bartlett