Italy’s Ferrero to invest in A$70m hazelnut farm in Australia

10 Dec 2013

Italy’s Ferrero Group has announced a $70 million hazelnut project in Australia through a local subsidiary, Agri Australis, highlighting Australia’s strength in the agribusiness sector.

The group, which makes Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Nutella spread, will plant one million hazelnut trees on 2000 hectares in the Riverina in a development welcomed by the New South Wales (NSW) Government.

“This is a great investment in our agricultural sector and has the potential to bring another valuable income source for our State’s regional economy,” said NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.

Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said the development would be run as a demonstration farm, which could showcase the potential for hazelnut farming in Australia.

“Australia imports more than 2000 tonnes of hazelnuts annually at an estimated cost of A$12 million, while the local industry currently supplies less than 50 tonnes,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“An increase in local production of hazelnuts means manufacturers can source nuts locally reducing freight costs and ensuring they have fresh, high-quality nuts,” she said in a statement.

The farm is expected to create 50 permanent jobs and 50 seasonal ones.

The Ferrero Group is based in Piedmont, Italy. It was founded in 1946 as a family-run company and remains so today with its empire of chocolates, hazelnut spread and beverages covering more than 100 markets, including Myanmar which it entered in June 2013. It employs nearly 22,000 people. In its latest financial year, its turnover totalled €7.8 billion (A$11.8 billion)

Ferrero Australia was established in 1974. It sells Tic Tac breath mints and Nutella spread, as well as Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Surprise and Bueno chocolates made at its factory in Lithgow, NSW, where it employs more than 300 people.