By Alastair Mclachlan, CEO Preshafruit

Investing in world-first technologies that haven’t been tried or tested can be a daunting step for food manufacturers, let alone any company, but for one Australian juice company, an investment into innovative world-first technology has now paid off. 

Where did it all begin?

Looking for a way to challenge and disrupt the juice market in Australia led Preshafruit to the CSIRO Food Innovation Centre in Werribee, Victoria. We worked alongside CSIRO on developing a high pressure processing (HPP) technique to pasteurise juice.

From seeing the technology first hand at the CSIRO Food Innovation Centre, we then tried the technology on a range of products. After these trials we decided to settle on juice as the primary product, as there was enough scale to be able to justify the capital expenditure.

This then led to a $10 million investment in the HPP technology and around seven years of perfecting the process, which has now led to an eight million litre annual turnover and a revolutionary position in the crowded Australian juice market.

How can other small businesses take the leap? 

You have got to be constantly looking for where the next opportunity lies, because what is deemed as “good for you” changes on a regular basis in the mind of the consumer. Quite often celebrities drive these ideas and fads, a case in point being coconut water which exploded in popularity after being endorsed by celebrities.

There has been a major decline in traditional juices that have been heat pasteurised or have preservatives and most of these have been replaced in the market. Consumers are reading labels more than they ever have done in the past and are increasingly choosing premium products with the hope these will be more beneficial to their health.

What is the key to success for Preshafruit?

While nutritional trends have played a part in the success of the brand, the focus on taste and improving the product itself helped us to find a niche in the market.

One of the keys to Preshafruit’s success is having a point of difference, as consumers are looking for something innovative or new. Preshafruit was able to achieve this in the juice aisle because of its taste and nutrition benefits.

Similar to many food producers, raw material supply is probably the most critical issue facing Preshafruit. When you’re a growing business, you do not have total control and vertical integration.

When investing in new innovative technologies, it is important to not expect success in an instant, turnaround hit. However, without investing the capital into improvement, a company is unlikely to get ahead.