• Mark Pye and his daughter Renee Pye from Pye Group.
    Mark Pye and his daughter Renee Pye from Pye Group.

One of Australia’s leading potato suppliers Pye Group will invest $35 million in a new potato packing facility at Parilla, 210 kilometres east of Adelaide in South Australia’s Mallee.

Pye group director Mark Pye said the investment in its Parilla Premium Potatoes and Zerella Fresh brands will inject an estimated $42 million into the regional Mallee economy and create 40 new local jobs.

Pye said: “The new packing facility will feature the best available optical grading and automated packing technology to revolutionise the way in which we process potatoes.”

The new washing and packing facility at Parilla will double the production capacity of the company’s existing Virginia potato packing facility in the market garden district north of metropolitan Adelaide. That facility each year washes and packs over 50,000 tonnes of potatoes for delivery in South Australia, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.

Pye said the Parilla plant will feature quality controls and waste minimisation while also being 260 kilometres and three hours closer by road to its customers in eastern states.

“Additionally, there will be 70 less B-Double trucks travelling between the Mallee region and Virginia each week reducing greenhouse emissions,” he said.

The Pye Group received $12 million funding for the facility under the South Australian Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said: “This $12 million from the Regional Growth Fund will unlock nearly $70 million of investment in South Australia’s economy – creating more than 1000 jobs across the state.

“Our regions are a key driver for the South Australian economy and this will provide a much-needed shot in the arm to help business bounce back as quickly as possible.”

Zerella Fresh, which is known for its innovation including its popular Spud Lite potatoes, plans to transform its Virginia plant into a new food innovation hub to meet its strategy to diversify the business and continually reduce waste.

The potato packing facility is scheduled to be complete by mid-2021.

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