INDUSTRY CHANGE: Dick Smith has long-held ties to the South Burnett peanut industry.
INDUSTRY CHANGE: Dick Smith has long-held ties to the South Burnett peanut industry. Contributed

What does Dick Smith Foods closure mean for us?

KINGAROY is proudly referred to as the peanut capital of Australia.

So when Dick Smith Foods, with its range of spreads, tomato sauce and cereal announced its closure last week, it was a fair question to ask how this Aussie icon shutting up shop would affect our region.

G. Crumpton and Sons chief executive officer Sonie Crumpton said his business supplied Dick Smith Foods with their peanuts up until 12 months ago.

He said his business supplied 600-700 tonnes of peanuts to Dick Smith each year for 10 years, before Dick Smith changed suppliers to the Peanut Company of Australia.

When he announced the closure of his food business, Dick Smith said customers opting for cheaper alternatives, like those available at Aldi, was the reason behind its demise.

Mr Crumpton, on the other hand, said his business' success and longevity in the industry was due to holding firm with their prices and not caving to cheap imports.

"20 odd years ago the industry was going along really well. There has been a slow decline due to imports from Argentina and China but we have held strong with prices,” Mr Crumpton said.

But Mr Crumpton believes this is just a small factor compared to what is yet to come for the region.

"Customers are not thinking ahead, we are not thinking of the future. Everyone looks for the cheapest product,” Mr Crumpton said.

The region's major player in the peanut industry is the PCA, which Bega Foods bought out last year.

Bega Foods general manager Adam McNamara said the closure of Dick Smith Foods would not affect the current need for local peanuts.

"We were fully aware of the industry challenges within the peanut industry. We are working with full supply chain and growers and we have a goal to increase volume over the next five years and are working with government to achieve this,” Mr McNamara said.

Rhys Ashlin, Kingaroy Woolworths manager, said many Kingaroy shoppers were disappointed with the closure.

"Dick Smith Foods is an iconic Aussie brand that many of our customers love and support, so we're sad to hear this news,” Mr Ashlin said.

Dick Smith believes Aldi's success in Australia is responsible for his food business going under however retail industry consultant, Kimberley Chapman said it wasn't fair for Dick Smith Foods to blame Aldi for its demise.

"I think Dick Smith had a successful business model in its prime but hasn't adapted it to make it survive. Retail is tough at the moment, companies are going under weekly but you can't blame it on the successful ones if you haven't managed your business to survive,” Ms Chapman said.

Aldi Australia has never stocked Dick Smith Food products and its chief executive officer, Tom Daunt obviously disagrees with Dick Smith's comments.

"We proudly support an Australian first buying policy and have shared our growth with hundreds of Australian manufacturers and thousands of staff who have been direct benefactors of our business growth,” Mr Daunt said.

South Burnett

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