United Organics: Organic Wholesale and Distribution Since 1999
Established in 1999, United Organics is the oldest certified organic wholesaler and distributor in Queensland. Conveniently located near the Brisbane Markets in Rocklea, United Organics services wholesale and trade customers across Australia and overseas with a wide range of quality, fresh, certified organic produce straight from Australian farms.
United Organics was founded by Ross Cowling and Jim Davis. Both partners originally sold organic products through Killarney Farms and Allfresh since 1992, before establishing United Organics in 1999. Martin Meek joined United Organics as Partner after Jim retired in 2014. Martin started working in the organic industry in 1993 and opened his first organic store with father-in-law Mal Flannery, founder of health food chain Flannery’s, in 1995. Ross served on the Board of Biological Farmers Australia (BFA), now Australian Organic Limited, from 2003-2007, and Martin is now Chair of Australian Organic Limited after serving on the Board for many years. Dedicating their spare time to the industry reflects United Organics’ commitment to investing in, and giving back to, the Australian organic industry.
United Organics’ proximity to the Brisbane Markets makes logistics very convenient for their customers, as many of them are tenants in the nearby market buildings. This includes a variety of clients in industries ranging from restaurants and cafés to whole food stores and supermarkets. United Organics takes pride in providing quality service and quality organic produce. This commitment to quality is demonstrated by their organic certification and certification to HACCP (an international standard outlining the requirements for effective control of food safety). United Organics also distributes to Hong Kong and Singapore, with the aim to expand its export markets in the future.
United Organics has been certified to the Australian Certified Organic Standard (ACOS) in accordance with the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce via ACO Certification Ltd since 1999. Like other certified businesses, they are audited annually to uphold their certification. Sourcing only from certified organic farms ensures all their organic fresh produce is free from synthetic chemicals and GMOs.
“Organic production is, in my view, the gold standard of sustainability,” commented Martin Meek, Partner of United Organics.
“Certification is necessary for the standardisation of the industry. We source products from hundreds of farmers all around the country. The fact that they are all certified to the National Standard, or an equivalent Standard, means that they are uniformly compliant.”
Currently, organic exports from Australia require certification. This is not the same for domestic organic goods. Martin believes that certification is vital for United Organics to continue to expand on its export market reach. He is also an avid supporter of the Australian Certified Organic Bud trademark logo, obtained through certification to the ACOS.
“The Bud is the premium organic trademark logo. It has the largest market share and is the widest recognised Australian organic brand in the market,” Martin said.
“It is trusted by industry and consumers. United Organics is proud to be associated with this logo and it is an important part of our company branding.”
Like many organic operators, United Organics has been negatively affected by the recent pandemic. As part of both the wholesale, logistics and agricultural industry, the company is experiencing difficulties with staff shortages and supply chain issues. This, along with unprecedented weather events, has affected the quantity and quality of some produce out of Australian farms, with some lines being unavailable altogether.
Despite the challenges, United Organics is determined to continue working with Australian farmers to provide the best organic produce currently available. United Organics provides a monthly What’s in Season update to AOL’s consumer platform, the Bud Organic Club, to help organic shoppers know what they should be looking out for in their local stores and farmers’ markets.
When asked what’s the best organic produce available right now, Martin advised, “Certified organic mangoes, cherries, and stone fruit are in-season and delicious. From a business viewpoint, they are all lines that are difficult to handle, but they are spectacular to eat!”
To learn more about United Organics, visit their website: www.unitedorganics.com.au
To view the latest What’s in Season post, visit the Bud Organic Club website here.
Images by Louise Wright Photography