Joe and I have worked together in Travel Retail for many years and we were originally seeking to develop a product that filled a gap that existed in the range assortment in the Travel Retail market. We also wanted a product that would be exclusive to TR.
How did you go about launching your business?
Firstly, Joe and I agreed that we needed to develop a product that not only filled a gap in the TR market but that it should be of premium quality in both the packaging and in the dried fruit itself. It also needed to fulfil the role of being something that would be bought for self-consumption and as a premium gift.
Our first task was to find a reputable supplier who could supply premium quality dried fruit. We found a wonderful family business in Tropical North Queensland who produce completely additive free dried fruits of the highest quality.
Our next task was to design and produce packaging that stood out on shelf and had a highly premium look and feel. We engaged a design agency who work with some of Australia’s largest companies and we believe that they met our brief perfectly.
Of course, the most important thing was to get the product to market. Joe and I used our extensive bank of contacts in the TR business to successfully launch TADFC in some of Australia’s most successful Airport Duty Free stores.
How is the fruit dried?
The fruit is hand prepared and dried in custom built driers that retain all of the healthy vitamins and trace elements that are found in the fresh produce. It has no added sugar or preservatives but has a relatively long shelf life as our packaging is designed specifically for it. The final product has a great, chewy consistency that makes it a moreish and healthy snack.
Why do you think it is important to support local businesses?
There is a very noticeable trend toward supporting local businesses, from customers checking for country of origin to actively seeking out local products. This is important as it not only helps to sustain and grow local communities but is environmentally responsible through minimizing transport miles.
What has been one of the biggest challenges that you have faced since starting, and what have you learned from it?
Our biggest challenge came from the closure of airports through COVID-19 as we had developed a product that was exclusive to Travel Retail. We have learned that it wasn’t wise “to put all of our eggs in one basket”!
Have you had to adapt your business during COVID-19? If so, how?
We have adapted to COVID-19 by increasing our on-line presence and working to develop a domestic retail business, particularly with IGA stores, who are actively promoting Australian Made and Owned businesses. They are a good fit for our product too as they aren’t afraid to promote premium produce.
What makes The Australian Dried Fruit Company unique?
We are unique because we set out with a goal to produce a product that was not only premium in quality, but was eye catching to the consumer. We believe we have achieved this. There isn’t another product on Australian retail shelves that is like ours. We not only use the very best quality fruit but it is processed using nothing but the fruit. Most other tropical dried fruit products are imported and are packed full of added sugar and preservatives. We can also proudly say that our product is totally Australian. Even the packaging is produced here.
What advice would you give others who are wanting to start a small business?
Use whatever experience you have gained, seek as much advice as you can get, research your potential market and most importantly, persevere.
If you have one, what is your favorite product from your dried fruit range?
I like them all. It depends on which cheese I’m eating it with!