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Vegetable producer lobby group AusVeg has said that the end of Rosella’s tomato sauce production is part of a wider trend in food manufacturing, which is being hurt by cheap imports.
Rosella’s parent company, Gourmet Food Holdings, which was put in receivership in November last year, has been unable to find a buyer and announced last week that it will close its Rosella factory.
“Rosella has been an icon of the Australian food sector since 1859 and its closure reflects the incredible pressure and adversity that our local food production industry is currently facing,” said Peter Mulcahy, AusVeg’s CEO, in a statement.
“Rising levels of imported product are threatening the viability of Aussie growers and placing our ability to feed ourselves as a nation in the future in danger.”
The vegetable group’s figures suggest that $908 million worth of vegetables were imported in 2011-12, double the amount in 2004-05 and a jump of 16 per cent on the year before.
The supermarket duopoly’s increasing use of private label brands has been blamed by some, such as the AMWU, for GFH’s demise.