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Gourmet Garden has blossomed from a small, privately-owned enterprise on the Sunshine Coast into a global sensation, exporting its innovative herb products around the world.

The trailblazing brand has achieved international success with its range of cold blended pastes and lightly dried herbs attributed to its proprietary manufacturing processes.

With a vertically integrated supply chain, Gourmet Garden maintains quality control throughout production to ensure the flavour, colour and aroma of the herbs and spices are captured and preserved for use in Australia and around the world.

As Gourmet Garden prepares to celebrate 25 years of innovation in the chilled convenient packaged herbs market, it’s worth reflecting on this Sunshine Coast pioneer’s incredible achievements.

Top choice in international markets

From humble beginnigs to an international powerhouse

Gourmet Garden’s unique ‘Eva Fresh’ technology which extends the natural shelf life of fresh herbs was founded by two local brothers and food scientists in the late 1980s. Ten years later it was launched onto the Australian market with ten cold blended pastes, expanding to UK markets in 1999.

Today, their products are prominently featured on supermarket shelves in Australia, Asia, Europe, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The United States is Gourmet Garden’s most significant overseas market. Eighty per cent of everything produced in the Palmwoods Sunshine Coast manufacturing facility is exported to the US. Its popularity has made Gourmet Garden the number one convenient herb and spice brand in the country.

The range of herbs and spices was well-positioned to meet the growing global demand for delicious and practical ingredients for at-home cooks. It offers the perfect combination of convenience, flavour and affordability.

Perfectly positioned on the Sunshine Coast

Proximity to premium farmlands and major distribution channels from its Sunshine Coast location has been pivotal to driving the success of the Gourmet Garden which was acquired by global flavour leader McCormick and Company, in 2016.

Megan Brabant, Sales & Marketing Director of McCormick Australia said, “The IP behind Gourmet Garden’s manufacturing technology requires us to process products within twenty-four hours of harvest. We need a location that is close to the farms we work with and close to the Brisbane Port. The Sunshine Coast is ideally positioned in the middle.”

Being close to the Bruce Highway, the facility is just over one hour north of Brisbane’s national and international air and sea ports.

With 300 plus days of sunshine a year, the Sunshine Coast region is a land of opportunity for food agribusiness innovators and home to more than 900 diverse food and agricultural businesses.

Gourmet Garden herb farm in Biloela
Image: Gourmet Garden's herb farm in Biloela

Smart and sustainable farming

From farm to plate, careful consideration has gone into every detail of production to create the best products and care for the environment.

With practical knowledge and intelligent technology, Gourmet Garden is able to maximise output using sustainable, organic growing techniques.

From the outset, only herb varieties that are rich in flavour, aroma and colour are selected to plant. The seeds are sown and harvested at the optimal time of day to achieve the highest yield of essential oils.

GPS-guided tools are used to plant seeds and release water to the crops with maximum precision. The system determines the exact amount of water to release at every point in the field to minimise any wastage.

Eco-friendly facility in Palmwoods

Gourmet Garden processes herbs and spices at its state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled facility at Palmwoods in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

The importance of sustainability is evident in the design of the Gourmet Garden building which houses the laboratories, offices and factory.

The on-site refrigerator is the largest of its kind and is 50% more energy efficient than a standard refrigeration plant. The building boasts rainwater collection and storage capabilities. Around 8,000 native trees were planted to create a sizable green space on the property, complete with walking trail.

“The Sunshine Coast is the sustainable business location that complements Gourmet Garden’s brand image, culture and aspirations and offers a close link to our agricultural roots. The Sunshine Coast also attracts a high calibre of employees due to fantastic lifestyle benefits, lower regional living costs, tourism attractions and good infrastructure including the local airport to service our domestic market,” said McCormick Australia Managing Director Paris Golden.

“Almost all of our employees at the factory and office have been enrolled in a Certificate IV in Lean Manufacturing, which is designed to help them identify and minimise areas of waste in manufacturing processes. This is also our commitment to reducing environmental footprint,” continued Paris.

Image: Gourmet Garden's Sunshine Coast manufacturing facility

Growing the region’s food and agribusiness sector

Gourmet Garden is closely connected with the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), Australia’s fastest-growing food industry group that supports the growth of the Sunshine Coast as a leading Australian food cluster.

Gourmet Garden is a founding member of FAN and continues to partner with FAN on the development of local and global trade.

Megan said, “Gourmet Garden’s values align perfectly with the Sunshine Coast as a place to live, work and do business. We look forward to growing our business in the region to support the local economy and benefit the community with more jobs and continued leadership in the food and agribusiness sector.”

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