The Victorian Minister for State & Regional Development, John Brumby MP, today launched an Australian first for the fresh cut industry at Vegco's Bairnsdale plant, set to put Australia on par with its overseas counterparts.

Jointly funded by the Department of State & Regional Development in Victoria and Australia fresh cut pioneer Vegco, a new state of the art valued added processing line will revolutionise the fresh cut process and provide unparalleled strength to the supply chain from growers to Vegco, supermarkets and consumers.

The fresh cut industry is currently experiencing huge success in Europe and the US with an 18% and 12% respective share of the retail produce market. In Australia the industry makes up just under 3% of the retail produce market and Vegco believes that the implementation of this new technology will provide a staggering boost to the industry in Australia.

The technology provides a thorough washing and insect removing capability allowing for a drier end product and hence a higher quality for the consumer. It also provides for gentler handling to minimise produce bruising, again substantially increasing the quality of the end product.

According to Rob Robson, CEO of Vegco, "We spend a lot of time researching what is done overseas and believe that Vegco is creating a 'win-win-win' situation for the entire supply chain as consumers experience a higher quality product, they will inevitably buy more - something that keeps us all very happy, making this a solid industry investment by Vegco".

"We anticipate the creation of 90 jobs over the next three years in Bairnsdale as a direct result of this new technology providing further job security for the Bairnsdale community with Vegco injecting about A$40m per annum back into the community", he said.