GLOBAL AMBITIONS: Trisco Foods chief executive officer Mike Tristram in their Carole Park warehouse.
GLOBAL AMBITIONS: Trisco Foods chief executive officer Mike Tristram in their Carole Park warehouse. Rob Williams

Manufacturer's grand plans to take on the world

HE is the fifth generation to take the reins of the family business and Mike Tristram is busy planning ahead for the next 30 years for Trisco Foods, setting the stage for the next in line.

The slogan "Say Tristrams Please" will ring a bell for older Queenslanders.

The family established and ran the soft drink brand until it was sold to Cadbury Schweppes in 1976.

Started by Thomas Tristram in 1875, the family have been manufacturing food and beverage products for almost 150 years and his great great grandson is now the company's chief executive officer.

Trisco Foods was established after Tristrams was sold off and the company turned to manufacturing food ingredients like syrups, toppings and bakery fillings, with a recent focus on producing dietary supplements for the aged care sector.

With a strong presence across Asia, the Carole Park based business is in "expansion mode" with a production facility in Colorado Springs opening later this year to service demand in the United States.

The business was named Premier of Queensland's Exporter of the Year for 2019, with its turnover heading towards $40 million.

"I used to ride my skateboard up and down the warehouse but I don't do that anymore," Mr Tristram laughed.

"I was stacking pallets when I was 10 years old.

"I've been here since I was a kid. We were a little smaller back then when the changeover from Tristrams got shut down and the soft drink (brand) got sold off and a small piece of that was maintained by Ian, my father."

Mr Tristram, 42, said Triscos deals with food franchises like Burger King, Hungry Jacks, Wendy's Supa Sundaes and Baskin-Robbins.

"You name it, we do something with them," he said.

"As far as exports are concerned, we cover the entire Asian region with the exception of a couple of smaller countries like Cambodia. Export-wise, our top three are China, the Philippines and Korea. The US is our largest (market) at the moment out of this (Carole Park) plant, which is on the health and well-being side of the business."

About 50 per cent of the business's products are exported.

The American factory will be the first based on foreign soil.

"That will manufacture a portion of the liquid thickener for the US," he said.

"Shelf life is an issue for this product and you want to maintain as much shelf life and being eight weeks on the water, it's a long time. That will assist that as well as diversifying risk. This is a product that's going to a vulnerable population, there's no alternative for it anywhere in the world. It's the only liquid thickener that we've found that works in the entire world.

"It's another big step. We're expanding into other markets across the globe with this product."

With two children and four nieces and nephews, Mr Tristram said there are "six potentials" to take over the business from him.

"We're pretty strategically focused on what we call 'generation eight'," he said.

"I'm generation five. We're looking at this from an inter generational perspective. It helps us to make decisions about where we're going and what we're doing along the way. I've got a 30-year plan for when I retire.

"Between now and 2050, we've got stage-gate system of what we want to try and achieve along that pathway and some pretty big numbers on where we want to get to as far as turnover, and making people's lives better."

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