Saturday, June 22, 2024

Independent food producer makes BRW most innovative list

Proving it can hold its own against the industry’s big guns, Birch & Waite was the only Australian owned and run food business to be listed among BRW’s 50 Most Innovative Companies for 2014, placed at number 48.

Birch & Waite manufactures fresh-chilled mayonnaises and sauces, bulk sauces, portion-controlled condiments, desserts and salad dressings for the retail and foodservice markets.

BRW recognised Birch & Waite for its innovative manufacturing solution to meet the evolving needs of the airline catering industry, which has taken to commissioning famous chefs to improve food presentation. These chefs requested dressings with separate oil and vinegar-based components – in the style of traditional dressings that need to be shaken before serving.

To fulfil this requirement, Birch & Waite needed production equipment with two independent fillers for two separate ingredient ‘shots’. A further requirement was that when running in single-shot mode, the second filler could be removed from the production line for cleaning, thus providing a faster changeover from one product to the next.

As no equipment meeting this specification existed in Australia, Birch & Waite engaged in a global search to find a suitable supplier and found an overseas manufacturer able to custom-build a machine to meet the requirements. With the new technology in place, Birch & Waite was able to fulfil the airline catering requirements, growing its sales in this product category by 110 per cent in less than two years.

BRW also recognised Birch & Waite for its pioneering innovation within the fresh-chilled mayonnaise and sauce category, through which Birch & Waite supplies chefs and foodservice operators with “gold standard” products comparable to those made from scratch in-house.

“Our fresh-chilled range is growing 29 per cent year on year, and is now over 55 per cent of the total business,” Birch & Waite General Manager David Charles said. “Today’s food business is very tough, so you must be constantly innovating to maintain a competitive edge.”

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