NEW ERA: Jacqui Wilson-Smith, of Gourmet Garden, with some of the locally produced herb products.
NEW ERA: Jacqui Wilson-Smith, of Gourmet Garden, with some of the locally produced herb products. Nicky Moffat

US giant pays $150m for hinterland herb business

THE company which owns Palmwoods-based Gourmet Garden has been bought by a US-based firm in a $150 million deal likely to have the Sunshine Coast business expand its overseas exports.

Spice giant McCormick and Company has bought the Botanical Food Company from Australian agribusiness midas Doug Shears, who built up the Uncle Toby's and Berri juice brands.

The purchase of the Gourmet Garden brand, which supplies chilled packaged herbs, is said to complement McCormick's existing portfolio.

Company executives say it will be business as normal for the foreseeable future at Gourmet Garden's Palmwoods-based manufacturing facility, which employs about 150 people.

Chief operating officer Andrew Eves-Brown said the purchase was a "very positive move for the business and for the Coast".

"It's a great thing that we've got a big multinational investing in a Coast company," Mr Eves-Brown said.

He said the investment in the firm would help Gourmet Garden grow the export side of its business.

"It's all about how we can continue to grow and expand our export markets," he said.

"McCormicks are number one in the world for herbs and spices. They are very strong in Europe and America, where we already export to."

Mr Eves-Brown said employees were positive about the purchase of the firm by McCormick's.

He envisaged discussion would be held about increasing production at the Palmwoods-based facility, which was built with the room to double processing capacity.


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