News Article 1

A Fresh Approach

A new partnership has entered the Australian import-export arena, combining experience in both fruit and vegetable trading and management consulting.

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Fresh Solutions Group, a new player on the Australian fresh produce scene, entered the fray on 10 September.

The Sydney-based company represents a 50:50 joint venture between Adam Leslie, who has more than 23 years’ experience in the fresh produce business, and David Carpenter, who, while new to the industry, boasts a strong background in IT, finance and management consulting.

As well as the core business of import-export, the company is offering marketing and consulting services to the industry, and is supported by marketing specialist Linda Tran. “I see a unique opportunity in bringing both domestic and international growers together, and building platforms that will promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables in a collaborative approach with retailers, wholesalers and growers,” says Tran.

Leslie is running the trading side of the organisation, drawing on his extensive experience in imports in particular. “Our model is to handle the whole range of global fresh produce imports that can come into Australia,” says Leslie.  “We see a unique opportunity to introduce new grower groups into Australia, along with new product lines, based on premium quality, which we have successfully commenced with Nick Dulcich’s California table grapes.

“Having secured joint ventures with leading global companies, we’re also excited about expanding the company footprint to include exports targeting the Southeast Asia markets,” says Leslie.

In terms of its customer base, Carpenter points out that the business already has a solid foundation in all wholesale markets across the country, including a vast food service network. “With Adam’s 20 years background of working with leading retailers in Australia this was always going to be an integral part of our overall customer base” he adds.

While Leslie is responsible for business development and sales, Carpenter brings his experience in management consulting to bear as director of finance and operations.

Originally from the UK, Carpenter ran his own consultancy providing specialist advice and management services to large corporations for many years, before that was bought out by a large UK consulting firm. Over the past seven years since gravitating to Australia, he has been advising Australian companies on business and IT strategies.

“I might not know much about this business, but I know how to run a business efficiently,” says Carpenter. “Seventy-five per cent of start ups fail in their first 18 months of operation, so risk analysis and risk profiles, business development and sound financial management are all key to success.”

As well as applying his knowledge of these areas to Fresh Solutions Group’s own business, Carpenter notes that the company can use it to add value for its suppliers and customers.

“Many of our suppliers and customers have found it refreshing to be dealing with an organisation that has both great produce knowledge and good business acumen,” he says. 

One of the key principles of Fresh Solutions Group’s business model is transparency, according to Leslie. “For instance, we’re providing our suppliers globally with daily and weekly market updates detailing wholesale and retail market conditions and shipping information.”

Fresh Solutions Group has already begun importing, with California grapes being one of the first cabs off the rank. “We’re working with Nick Dulcich of Sunlight International, who has previously not supplied the Australian market, so it’s exciting for both of us,” says Leslie. “The transparency of our model appealed to him.”

Other key import lines for the company include California citrus, US cherries, Mexican mangoes, Peruvian asparagus and US Medjool dates.