How to receive a substantial cash as well as increased sales opportunities in China?

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“We also started doing trips to China and attending trade shows, which were mainly facilitated through FoodSA.”

While businesses such as Beerenberg, Robern Menz and Haighs are larger in size, Wylie says that Pendleton Estate was one of the first to sell finished product in to China.

“Ten to 15 years ago the Chinese government made a decision to direct water to industry rather than for the growing of food which made me think there would be a good market for supplying food in the future because if there’s less water for irrigation, then the ability to produce food would be diminished – well that future is arriving now.

“We are currently exporting over one to two containers of extra virgin olive oil to China and it is growing exponentially each year.”

And it’s not just olive oil that’s popular with the Chinese: Wylie says the demand for South Australian GM-free canola oil is also growing.

“In the last three years food producers in China have had extremely bad publicity – the blueberries, baby formula and gutter oil scandals have all had an effect resulting in the Chinese having trouble trusting the food quality of their own suppliers.

“The Chinese consumer is looking for safe and natural food and to them the Australian brand represents a safe, quality brand to buy.

“Wanting to meet this increasing demand in China we needed to take on an outside investor because since the GFC the banks are very conservative in lending finance to small to medium businesses.”

It was through Austrade that the Chinese investor, who is also involved in agribusiness, approached Pendleton Estate.

Wylie would not name the investor.

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