Although it is still at the height of fruit picking and canning season, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on the demand for canned fruits, tomatoes and staples such as baked beans and spaghetti.
As one of the nations biggest cannery operations, Shepparton’s SPC reports a massive upswing as people display a return to the long term aspects and benefits of canned fruits, veg and baked beans.
Panic buying has clearly had an influence but CEO of SPC Shepparton, Robert Giles sees a longer term revival of canned fruits. “As we pass through this thing (the Coronavirus), many people are going to be feeling the crunch economically so we will see a big return to canned produce.
“As one of our major retail clients said, ‘cans are cool again’,” Robert said.
So much so that the retailers are providing SPC access to some of their fresh produce suppliers that will enable them to increase the tonnage that can be assigned to canning.
While the company has been in negotiations with the unions, they are both now working towards meeting the increased demands of the community for canned produce.
“Our biggest market increase has been within Australia while exports to some overseas destinations have also increased dramatically.
“I get a sense that under these trying times people have become very conscious of the need to have a reliable and sustainable food supply that is locally produced and not imported.”
With peaches now finished, processing tomatoes will continue through to the end of April and additional supplies of beans are now being sourced.
In a city with a lot of gloom, SPC remains a beacon of hope for the future and a key ingredient in maintaining a sustainable food source.