HIGH DEMAND: PCA parent company Bega Cheese looks to source Australian peanuts exclusively for their peanut butter
HIGH DEMAND: PCA parent company Bega Cheese looks to source Australian peanuts exclusively for their peanut butter Louise Cheer

Bega eager to source exclusively Australian peanuts

KINGAROY'S peanut industry is expecting huge growth thanks to the visions of PCA's parent company.

At the company's annual general meeting on Tuesday, October 23, Bega Cheese Limited executive chairman, Barry Irvin, said the company was looking to source only Australian peanuts for peanut butter.

"This year Bega Cheese purchased the Peanut Company of Australia, Australia's biggest processor of peanuts securing our supply chain for Australia's favourite peanut butter, Bega Peanut Butter," he said.

"Our objective is to grow Australia's peanut production with the goal in the future of producing all our peanut butter from 100 per cent Australian nuts."

Mr Irvin said while it had been a challenging time for the industry, Bega had a solid year.

"It is well documented that dairy and food have faced their share of challenges in recent times and this is best demonstrated by the number of companies that are either for sale or under a review," he said.

"Bega cheese has successfully navigated through these challenging times and continues to deliver growth and financial performance."

Bega cheese reported a 17 per cent increase in revenue to $1.44 billion for the past financial year.

The company is currently in a legal dispute with Kraft Foods relating to the category of peanut butter.

CEO, Paul Van Heerwaarden said he was confident Bega would overcome these challenges and stay focused moving forward.

"The challenges of peanut butter have been widely discussed but putting that to one side we have seen a strong and positive consumer response to Bega branded peanut butter and our promotion of Vegemite," he said.

A court determination on the Kraft legal dispute is expected in the first half of 2019.

Mr Van Heerwaarden said he has been delighted with the successful integration of Bega Foods and the Peanut Company of Australia.

"The Bega product range now includes micro-nutrients, infant formula, specialist milk powders, mozzarella cheddar, processed and cream cheese, Vegemite, peanut butter, peanuts, sauces, dressing and dips," he said.

The optimistic CEO said there were no plans of slowing down any time soon.

"We see opportunities for growth across our entire product range," he said.