HISTORICALLY known for being South Australia's own, ice-cream manufacturer Golden North has started to spread its wings - not only interstate, but globally.
All part of the company's brand growth strategy, Golden North has recently secured two major export deals to China, has high hopes its new low-GI ice-cream will go national, and recently signed a new supply agreement with Zoos SA.
Golden North general manager Peter Adamo outlined the company's new direction at the Agribusiness Association of Australia breakfast in Adelaide on Thursday last week.
"There is no way we would survive if we just stayed selling in SA," he said.
"Golden North's story is all about continuous improvement - to improve and grow production competitiveness via investment in plant and equipment, our brands and our people."
Not only does the company produce ice-cream made with fresh milk and fresh cream (others use substitution ingredients) in the clean, green environment of the Mid North, more recently the company has become 100 per cent palm oil-free and the majority of its ice-cream is gluten-free.
The palm oil move came about after Golden North formed a strategic partnership with Zoos SA in 2011.
"It took 12 months to eliminate palm oil from our products, but we were committed to the program," Mr Adamo said.
"It also bode well for us at local and interstate trade shows - palm oil-free products were gaining momentum."
To kick-off the relationship, a promotion was held with the Foodland Group, where 10 cents from every 2-litre tub sold for a six-month period was donated back to Zoos SA for their conservation awareness program - to save the orangutans from the on-going destruction of the remaining rain forests in the world.
"We generated $16,589 from that promotion," Mr Adamo said.
"And over the course of the years, there have also been other donations to Zoos SA for the program."
That is why in July last year it came as a shock to Golden North when they were axed by Zoos SA and replaced by multi-national consumer goods company Unilever.
However, Mr Adamo said the response they received from the community, both locally and interstate, was overwhelming.
"Not only did the controversial decision get enormous media coverage, valued at about $631,000 in free advertising for us, we increased our Facebook followers by 5292 and our sales increased 20 per cent, which has since been maintained," he said.
"It showed the affection the public had for our local brand and they were prepared to be vocal when they thought their brands were being treated unfairly."
The uproar saw Zoos SA review its decision and in March this year, Golden North signed a new three-year agreement in a 50-50 split deal.
"Golden North and Unilever will both supply Zoos SA in year one, while year two and three freezer space will be based on sales from year one," Mr Adamo said.
China will also soon know what it's like to enjoy ice-cream made with fresh milk and fresh cream, following a sweet deal made last week.
"We have received clearance from China Inspection & Quarantine to export Golden North ice-cream to Shanghai," Mr Adamo said.
"The container of 40 pallets of ice-cream will leave Adelaide on May 28. It will include our 2L tubs, Giant Twins, nine flavours of our 5L range, 500-millilitre Vanilla Bean and also our little 125ml tubs - all going to China."
The deal follows last week's airfreighting of Golden North milk to Xiamen, China, through the company's relationship with Parmalat.
The exchange was possible due to the company being able to produce extended shelf-life milk.
It is expected delivery will become weekly and the milk will retail for about $8 on the shelf.
Mr Adamo said the ice-cream deal would go a long way towards evening out the company's winter production curve.
"China is part of our growth strategy and that will only continue to grow moving forward," he said.
"China love the family history behind our company, which was founded in 1880 - and the number eight is considered lucky in China and the association with the name 'Golden'.
"We have plans to expand interstate, which is very competitive, currently assessing the best distribution model for the business to support our growth plans."
And not only are Golden North's products considered "premium", palm oil and gluten-free, the company has started promoting its new low-GI line, with the hope the "diabetic-friendly, health and wellbeing ice-cream" will be its first to be picked up by a national retailer.
"Almost 1.1 million Australians are diagnosed with diabetes, with 100,000 diagnosed every year," Mr Adamo said.
"Consumers are becoming more aware of the health risks with sugar and fat.
"Our low GI ice-cream has only 3pc fat and contains 26pc less sugar than normal ice-cream. It is sweetened with Fructose and Stevia, no artificial sweeteners, and the product is certified with the GI (Glycemic Index) logo.
"We aim to have it on the shelf in Adelaide by September-October."