Moraitis is a leading supplier of produce to major retailers and local fruit shops across Australia. Originally established as a potato distribution business over 55 years ago by founder Nicholas Moraitis, the company has now grown to become the country’s largest integrated fruit and vegetable business, with major products lines including washed and brushed potatoes, onions, tomatoes, pumpkin and citrus. Incorporating farming operations and country wide packing and ripening facilities, Moraitis’ provides fresh produce 52 weeks a year, with annual sales of approximately 350,000 tonnes.
The establishment of long-standing relationships and PBR’s with aligned growers around Australia has enabled Moraitis to supply their key products fresh to consumers year round. Moraitis has pioneered Category Management in Australia, and offers fully integrated value add services to its customers. By bringing consumers the highest quality produce fresh from farms, and by selecting the best varieties of produce available from around the world, Moraitis ensures that their consumers get the same high quality eating experience each and every time. Due to Australia’s geographical diversity and largely fragmented grow base, Moraitis operates under a grower aggregator model, alternating to different locations year round to ensure that they are constantly growing fresh produce to satisfy their customer’s expectations.
Moraitis is one of the major hydroponic growers in Australia, and by employing hydroponic growing methods on their farms, can consistently produce high quality produce year round. “It allows for a more efficient use of growing land, reduces farming risk, and 24 hour monitoring of the environment allows us to provide optimum growing conditions. It also means we can recycle water and growing inputs where possible.” says Jordan Heffernan, the General Manager of Strategic Planning, Process and Control at Moraitis.
Through the provision of exciting new product varieties, and consistent high quality eating experiences to their customers, Moraitis aims to become the premier fresh produce supplier within Australia, and ultimately throughout Asia. Protecting produce after harvest is a major challenge for Moraitis due to the limited shelf live. Rapid and efficient supply chain is critical, and most products reach their consumers within 48 hours of being in the ground or on the tree. This requires dedicated employees who are committed to delivering this service 24 hours a day.
“Moraitis sees itself as a responsible corporation that is passionate about efficiently using resources. We are currently working through a number of sustainability initiatives, like looking at new drought tolerant varieties of fruit and vegetables and investigating organic opportunities.” says Jordan. The company is continuously looking to further increase their focus on sustainable farming practices, and have begun researching the possibility of using Biochar to sequester carbon in soil and developing Environmental Management Systems. “We are looking to grow organic pathways while continuing to utilize the whole of our crop, maximizing our output while reducing waste,” says Jordan. “We heavily support research and development initiatives into sustainable farming.” Moraitis has water usage reduction and recycling programs in place, and has been reducing their use of plastic packaging materials, shrinking the packaging footprint and using less plastic per pack. They also use recyclable plastic bins and crates, and are currently investing in energy efficient equipment and machinery, benefiting both the business and the environment.
Moraitis believes that contributing back to the community is important, and as such is a proud long term partner of UNICEF’s Champion for Children Program, and annually is Australia’s largest contributor to Both Red Cross “Big Cake Bake” and Foodbank, the largest hunger relief organisation in Australia. Since 2011, Moraitis has donated the equivalent of over 10.3 million serves of fruit and vegetables to over 2,500 charities, community groups and schools in disadvantaged areas throughout the country. Moraitis plans on continuing to support their local growing communities long term, and sponsors many local sporting clubs within their growing regions. Moraitis is a multicultural company, and celebrates this diversity by holding an annual Multicultural day at their packing facility in Melbourne. Employees bring a signature dish from their country of origin for a group lunch, with the best dishes being awarded prizes.
Jordan Heffernan has been with Moraitis for over 7 years, moving through a variety of Finance positions until becoming the General Manager of Strategic Planning, Process and Control two years ago. With a strong interest in the operational side of the business, Jordan enjoys the challenging nature of his role within the company. Jordan’s objectives for the future include the development of new sustainability initiatives, continuing to drive operational efficiency, building capabilities for the launch of new product line innovations and the development of integrated software to seamlessly match supply volume with demand.