SPC unveils investment at Shepparton site

SPC unveils investment at Shepparton site

Australian food group SPC Ardmona has opened a production line to manufacture fruit-based snack products.

The company, owned by beverage group Coca-Cola Amatil, said the move at its site in Shepparton was "the first stage" of a A$100m (US$77.9m) investment in the business between its parent and Victoria's state government.

"SPC has worked with our suppliers to deliver this first major milestone in our investment plan in just six months – that’s record time from ordering to operating. We were determined to produce this season's fruit using the new line with our new-look snack cups, which are in store now," James Harvey, SPC Ardmona's CFO, said.

Harvey pointed to a new product from the company SPC ProVital – that is aimed at consumers who find it hard to open packaging or, in some cases, swallow food.

"We're excited about the potential of SPC ProVital because it’s the first of its kind for the healthcare market," Harvey said. "It's a range of easy-open portion-control fruit that is more accessible for patients and reduces waste during serving and consumption."

A year ago, there was some uncertainty about the Shepparton plant. Coca-Cola Amatil had suspended plans to invest in the site after local council officials decided not to allow the company exclusive use of a road that split the plant.

However, Coca-Cola Amatil revisited the plans. In August, the group announced an amended investment programme – co-funded by the Victoria state government that led to more automation at the plant to, the company said, "compensate for the logistical inefficiencies" which remained on the divided site. It also led to SPC Ardmona exiting some categories.