Ready-to-eat roast pork, complete with crunchy crackling, has proved a market hit for a Riverina-based producer whose product has found its way onto millions of Australian dinner plates since introduced last year.
Riverview Farms' pork roast with crackling has also just cracked three major wins at the Australian Food Awards, including the gold medal in the convenience main meals category, and awards for best convenience main and the champion Australian convenience food trophy.
It was also a finalist for Australian Product of the Year.
The pork is cooked and sold in Coles supermarkets as a typical five-meal-sized roast, hot and ready to eat, alongside the hot chickens which millions of consumers also now grab when doing their grocery shop to take home as a convenient ready-to-carve meal.
Consumers are making more frequent, smaller trips to the supermarket each week and ready-made meals and pre-cooked products are high on the shopping list
Parent company, the Rivalea Australia group - previously known as Bunge - owns and manages the entire production cycle for its products.
Part of big Singaporean baking, food processing and distribution group, QAF Limited, Rivalea has NSW farms at Corowa, Howlong and Moulamein; St Arnaud and Huntly, near Bendigo, in Victoria, and a processing operation in Laverton, Melbourne.
Riverview Farms brand manager, Ashley Hoffmann, said busy lifestyles, evolving consumer tastes and hesitation over how to cook the perfect pork roast were some of the reasons behind the boom in convenient options like ready-to-go pork roast.
"Consumers are making more frequent, smaller trips to the supermarket each week and ready-made meals and precooked products are high on the shopping list," he said
"Hot convenience foods offer consumers inspiration for 'what will be for my dinner tonight' or 'my lunch right now'."
"We couldn't shut our eyes to this change in buying behaviour, so we chose to innovate to meet the needs of the modern consumer.
"It's been a huge success that has propelled Riverview Farms to a leadership position for pork in the 'grab and go' meals category, which we're very proud of.
"We focus on innovation, service and the very best quality pork, and we are delighted by the way the market has embraced our latest product offering."
- Pork industry wants 15m wild pigs killed to avoid swine fever
- Straw bedding cuts piglet still birth rate
The vote of approval from supermarket shoppers was supported by judging at the Australian Food Awards, run by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, which give farmers and food producers the chance to benchmark their products at international level in 10 categories.
Mr Hoffmann said the success of the "ready to go" roast indicated consumers were excited about products which reduced the complexity and time required to prepare popular mainstream meals.
"Our research overwhelmingly showed consumers chose roast pork because of the crackle, but a lot of us are too busy to prepare a roast on a regular basis."
- Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Click here to sign up to receive our daily Farmonline.