The Foodbank Purple Beret Award has been awarded to the Australian fresh produce industry for its service in fighting hunger.
The hunger relief organisation said the Australian fresh product industry had doubled its donations of fresh fruit and vegetables in the past five years despite industry volatility.
“We ask a lot of our food and grocery partners because we cannot achieve anything without them and unfailingly they answer the call. It’s always difficult to single out a few among our many partners, but I’m pleased to say the 2016 recipients are truly worthy of the accolades,” said Foodbank Australia chair Tony Froggatt.
Australian assistant minister for social services and multicultural affairs Zed Seselja presented the award to Ausveg director Geoff Knuckey, PMA Australia-New Zealand CEO Darren Keating and Costa Farms logistics general manager Shanon Williams during the Australian Food & Grocery Council Industry Leaders Forum on 8 November.
“Australia’s vegetable growers have played a key role in donating excess produce to Foodbank this year, in a bid to help families in need benefit from over-supply in the industry,” said Ausveg CEO Simon Bolles. “Despite the many challenges that our growers face, including recent adverse weather events, they have continued to support this valuable cause.
“One of the biggest challenges facing the Australian vegetable industry is over-supply in the domestic market. To help overcome this issue, Australian vegetable growers have been donating to Foodbank to ensure that their fresh produce goes directly to those who need it most,” added Bolles.
Each year, hunger relief organisation Foodbank recognises the contributions of Australian companies in fighting hunger, helping the organisation to deliver meals to charities and schools.
The Foodbank Rookie of the Year Award went to Thomas Foods International and Fletcher International Exports for increasing its access to protein. Flight Centre and Wiley received awards for their support for Foodbank’s Key Staples Programme and for putting together the Foodbank Annual Report, respectively.