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Country Chef Baking Co., one of Australia’s largest and best known bakeries, has re-invested in the Sunshine Coast with its new $30 million manufacturing facility at the Bells Creek Industrial Park.

The state-of-the-art facility is the culmination of four years of planning. The expansion was set in motion in 2020 when the Kunda Park and Forest Glen facilities reached capacity and the company began to scout new locations. The new location allows Country Chef to centralise operations and increase output to meet the growing demand for delicious baked goods.

A recipe for success

Country Chef is a family owned, 100% Australian business that has been a proud resident of the Sunshine Coast since 1952. The bakery’s commitment to using local ingredients and suppliers has been instrumental to the success of the business.

Each year Country Chef uses 4.5 million bananas from Queensland farmers and 550 tonnes of sugar grown and milled in Bundaberg. In addition to the state’s exceptional produce, the Queensland sunshine plays an important role in the Country Chef flavours!

Over the past 70 years Country Chef has been an important part of the local economy and Sunshine Coast community. The company’s expansion is expected to deliver more than $250 million in direct and indirect economic impact and create 600 new local jobs.

As the largest pavlova factory in the southern hemisphere the new Country Chef headquarters is a proverbial cherry on top of the Sunshine Coast’s $900 million food and agribusiness industry.

Export success story

A sweet spot for domestic and international markets

The Sunshine Coast’s proximity to domestic and international distribution networks, and world-class produce, make it the perfect location for Country Chef.

Country Chef is a trusted supplier of most major retailers in Australia including Coles, Woolworths, 7-Eleven, Qantas and Metcash IGA. Every day Australians enjoy 110,000 slices of Country Chef banana bread and the bakery’s pavlova production peaks to meet the demands over Christmas and summer holidays when 8 million delicious desserts are consumed.

Through the Sunshine Coast Council’s Export and Global Capability Program, Country Chef is poised for expansion into international territories, too. Export opportunities have been identified in 10 countries including Canada, UK, Singapore and Japan.

Image: Aerial view of Country Chef's new manufacturing facility

Baking in a Biosphere

As Country Chef grows it remains committed to sustainable practices. By sourcing locally grown produce and implementing environmentally friendly initiatives, the company minimises its ecological footprint.

“Setting up in a designated Biosphere, we have sustainable initiatives in the works as well – solar, light mapping and more,” said Country Chef Chief Operating Officer Dion Nolan. “We look forward to providing employees a safe and sustainably conscious workplace.”

Country Chef actually helps to reduce food waste by sourcing imperfect produce for its banana bread that may otherwise end up in landfill. Mr Nolan explains, “[The bananas we use] are the ‘seconds’ produce, due to their size or shape and give our bread its distinct sweet banana flavour.

Taking Australia’s favourite flavours further afield

As Country Chef looks to expand into international markets it will continue to collaborate with local stakeholders including Sunshine Coast Council. There are excellent export channels in the region that create opportunities for Country Chef and the people who live and work on the Sunshine Coast.

As the business continues to grow it will directly bolster the region’s economy while also enhancing the reputation the Sunshine Coast has as a hub for excellence in the food and agribusiness sectors.

Dion Nolan, Chief Operating Officer of Country Chef said, “We’re thrilled to unveil our new facility on the Sunshine Coast, a testament to our ongoing commitment to delivering quality products and fostering sustainable growth. With the support of the local community and strategic partnerships, we’re confident in our ability to thrive in both domestic and international markets.”

Country Chef’s journey exemplifies the boundless possibilities that exist for businesses in the Sunshine Coast region. As the company continues to flourish, it serves as a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit and collaborative efforts that define this vibrant community.

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