Standout performers in Australia’s world-leading meat sector were recognised at Australian Organic Limited’s (AOL) 7th Annual Industry Awards, taking home prestigious accolades including Business of the Year and the coveted Chairman’s Award.
The Awards showcase excellence in the nation’s rapidly growing $2 billion-plus organic industry, of which meats, including poultry, make up 40 per cent of all organic production.
Toowoomba-based global supplier of premium certified organic and natural meat, Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Co., claimed the sought-after Business of the Year Award, while meat and livestock industry veteran, Ian King, was presented with the Chairman’s Award.
AOL Chief Executive Officer, Niki Ford, said Australia’s organically produced meat was a major contributor to the organic sector due to its high eating quality and audited sustainable farming methods.
“Australia has an enviable reputation in global markets for its meat products, and we are seeing more and more consumers turn to organics, as they look for the health and environmental benefits that organic farming supports,” Ms Ford said.
“Last year, meat accounted for 20 per cent of Australia’s total organic export tonnage, with 95 per cent of organic meat sent off our shores destined for the United States.”
Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Co. Marketing & Innovation Director, Paul da Silva, said the company was a genuine pioneer in the organic meat industry and continued to enjoy extraordinary growth.
“Last year we sold our products in twelve countries and were represented in more than one thousand supermarkets across Australia,” Mr da Silva said.
“We are really proud of being a market leader and creating award-winning products to meet the changing demands of consumers and our customers.
“Importantly, we continue to partner with the same certified organic farming families who supplied us when we began.”
Recognition of esteemed career
Meanwhile, a career spanning more than 50 years in the meat and livestock industry earned recently retired Ian King the Chairman’s Award in recognition of his long-standing support of organic certification.
After leaving the New Zealand meat processing industry, Mr King became AUS-MEAT’s second Chief Executive Officer in 1992 and served as AUS-QUAL’s Managing Director, before retiring last month after a distinguished career.
At AUS-MEAT, Mr King worked to consolidate the use of the AUS-MEAT descriptive language and to develop standards underpinned by Quality Assurance systems, and while at AUS-QUAL, he also served as the President of the Organic Industry Standards and Certification Council for many years.
Mr King said while winning the Award took him by surprise, he was excited to be recognised for his contribution to Australia’s organic meat industry.
“I’ve had a long journey in organics, starting with my own farm in New Zealand many years ago to championing national standards for organic certification,” said Mr King.
“One thing I’ve always enjoyed is encouraging many young people to get involved in organics and mentoring them. It’s quite satisfying to be recognised for that.
“I’ve spent most of my career within the organic industry to benefit the whole sector and, importantly, to help consumers make informed choices by understanding labelling.”
To further grow the nation’s export organic meat industry, Mr King said Australia needs to aspire to a single standard for certification so there is equivalence at a national level.
“Because of our large land mass, the meat industry has great potential to expand its organic offering in export markets,” he said.
“However, we need one single standard that meets international requirements so we can market our products effectively and not have the impost of bringing overseas auditors in to determine organic certification.”
The Australian Organic 7th Annual Industry Awards were celebrated in a virtual ceremony on Friday, 12 November.
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