Trisco Foods – Queensland’s Exporter of the Year for 2019 – hasn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic slow it down, instead diversifying production lines to make much-needed hand sanitiser.

The family-owned food manufacturing business is currently producing 5,000L a week of Precise Defend hand sanitiser at its Carole Park factory in Ipswich.

The hand sanitiser is part of Trisco’s long-term expansion into products approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for use in clinical settings such as hospitals and aged-care facilities.

Trisco Foods Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mark Halloran said the company had harnessed its industry connections to diversify product lines and minimise the business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘As the pandemic began, we saw a decline in demand for our traditional product lines such as toppings, sundaes and bakery fillings, which we supply to the food-services sector, quick-service restaurants and bakery markets,’ Mr Halloran said.

‘We already had a strong existing brand presence through our Precise products, which we’ve been supplying to the clinical industry for 8 years.

‘We were discussing releasing some TGA-approved products before the pandemic, so the launch of our hand sanitiser has assisted us with becoming TGA-compliant.

‘These types of products are a natural fit within the health and nutrition segment of our business.’

Trisco’s Precise brand already included a range of thickeners and cups for people who have difficulty swallowing.

The new Precise Defend hand sanitiser is being supplied Australia-wide to wholesale clients including Queensland Health, aged-care facilities and hospitals.

Mr Halloran said production of the hand sanitiser commenced on 1 May and the company started selling immediately.

‘We had pre-orders from existing customers, which meant we were able to manufacture and ship immediately – certainly one of the joys of having good relationships with customers,’ he said.

Trisco Foods is owned by the Tristram family, which has been manufacturing food and beverage products in Queensland since 1875.

TIQ has worked with the company for more than 16 years, supporting Trisco’s export activities through both TIQ Ipswich and a number of TIQ overseas offices.

TIQ Acting CEO Richard Watson said Trisco Food’s ability to continue to grow during challenging times was to be commended.

‘Queenslanders should be immensely proud to see a family-owned company that’s been operating for over 100 years remaining committed to developing new products,’ he said.

‘TIQ looks forward to continuing to work with Trisco Foods as they enter this new chapter of developing TGA-approved products.’

Mr Halloran said the company would continue to manufacture hand sanitiser and intended to export sanitiser products in the near future.

‘We’ve been working the export area for a long time, exporting to over 20 countries across Asia, the Middle East, the US and Europe,’ he said.

‘We’ve registered the Precise Hand Sanitiser brand in New Zealand and, once we have a wider range of these sanitiser products in production, we will start looking at other markets like Singapore.’

Trisco Foods currently employs more than 80 staff at its Carole Park factory and plans to hire more production staff and specialist sales staff to promote the new sanitiser.

Supporting Queensland exporters is a priority under the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.