The cattle farmers, banded together under the Gippsland Natural Meats brand, already markets their meat to butchers and restaurateurs in Melbourne and across Victoria.
The grant will allow the company to expand the marketing and sales side of their business and develop relationships in target markets more quickly and professionally.
Gippsland Natural Meats – owned by Bob Davie and Paul Crock – is underpinned by their beef production and supported by a number of other farmers. It was one of the first groups to recognise the brand power of beef produced under free range, grass fed production systems.
This strong brand, underpinned with environmental credentials and Meat Standard Australia grading, has helped them establish a presence in the domestic beef market.
Customers want to know the story behind the steak on their plate.
Since 2014, Bob and Anne Davie, have had an accredited zero carbon output on their farm on Phillip Island.
They achieved this through planting mixed species diversity in their pasture, including deep rooted grasses, and using biosolids to encourage healthy soil development. Their low carbon footprint has attracted interest from university researchers.
“Customers want to know the story behind the steak on their plate,” Mr Davie said.
“We’re able to assure them they are eating a steak that has been produced ethically, grazing pasture and coupled with our strong interest in animal welfare. These are the principles held by all suppliers to Gippsland Natural Meats.”
Alongside prime cuts, Mr Davie and Mr Crock developed a range of value-added products such as hamburgers, pies and healthy meal solutions; and even ethically-raised dog food.The pair work closely with chefs and have built a partnership with Pastuso’s executive chef Alejandro Saravia, who creates Peruvian grills from Gippsland Natural meats.
The business also supplies premium steaks into the signature Grain and Grass restaurant at the Australian Open Tennis each year; and hamburgers and other beef cuts to Melbourne Park and Etihad Stadium.
Mr Crock said the Food Source Victoria grant would be used to take that expertise to the export market.