Australian salad growers who have been left with surplus stock because of the closure of restaurants and the impact of COVID-19 are given a helping hand by ALDI.

The term “eat your greens” are most likely words you heard growing up, but now more than ever is the saying pertinent. Meet Jeremy Haw, the face behind Hussey & Co, responsible for growing fresh greens such as spinach, rocket and salad leaf mix that are found at ALDI. In recent months, Jeremy’s industry has taken a hit due to the impacts of COVID-19, coupled with a downward trend in buying behaviour during the cooler months.

The peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia was a busy time for supermarkets. While shoppers were busy stocking up on pasta and toilet paper, other products such as fresh salads and produce were quickly forgone.

“The sale of baby leaf salads dropped by almost a quarter during March and April 2020, much to the detriment of fresh food producers like Hussey & Co,” explained Michael Whiteford, Buying Director for Fresh Produce at ALDI Australia.

The drop in produce sales during this time, paired with Hussey & Co’s loss of sales to food services and restaurants, resulted in their harvest having to be ploughed back in to the field, losing around 50% of total production. In a bid to stabilise sales, a temporary Super Savers offer was introduced across the bagged salad range. This incentivised shoppers to purchase more salads leaf products, resulting in a 10 per cent increase in volume sales on the previous year.

“We knew we needed to support our local growers through this time by ensuring that fresh greens became a staple again for Australian households,” said Michael.

“ALDI have been great to work with right from the start of our partnership. They are pragmatic and easy to do business with, especially in recent months. We appreciate the simplicity and the speed in which we can get a product or promotion to market, which most recently has seen our business supported during a tough period,” said Jeremy Haw, Managing Director, Hussey & Co.

From Gippsland, Victoria, all the way to your local ALDI

The team at Hussey & Co are passionate about being able to provide Australian households with fresh and nutritious produce. However, the work that goes into getting this fresh produce onto supermarket shelves and into your trolley is no easy task.

“We harvest in the early hours of the morning. From here the baby leaves are cooled, washed and packed, then placed on a truck and sent straight to ALDI’s Distribution Centres in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. All in all, our bagged salads and leaves appear on the shelf of your local ALDI store in less than 48 hours from harvest,” explained Jeremy.

This happens day in, day out all year round.

“The effort it takes to grow our products, out in the open air under all weather conditions, and then have it on the supermarket shelf in a cool, dry condition amazes me. It still gives me a thrill to see my fresh produce in ALDI stores, knowing exactly where the leaves have come from and how it was grown.”

Contributing to a healthier Australia is also a focus for the team at Hussey & Co, having dedicated time investing and growing new leaves that are in demand by consumers. Hussey & Co continually present ALDI with innovative opportunities to positively enhance the salad leaf range and encourage customer consumption.

Knowing their product better than most, Jeremy and the team also have some inspirational ways to cook with baby spinach, including this delicious spinach soup – an ideal meal for a cool winter’s day!