Premium and fresh produce from Tasmania to the EU

Over the last 60 plus years, Premium Fresh has grown from a small farming enterprise owned by the Ertler family, to one of the largest growing, washing, grading and packing operations in Australia. At its 10,000-square-metre factory in Forth, Tasmania, the latest technology is used to pack over 30,000 tonnes of carrots, onions, swedes, turnips, shallots, leeks, broccoli and echalions every year.

Premium Fresh logo

Premium Fresh has partnerships with over 80 individual landholders and retains complete control of all processes from the field to the packing shed. Premium Fresh personnel prepare the land, plant and nurture the vegetables, and harvest each and every crop with company-owned machinery, before transporting it back to the facility to be graded and packed prior to dispatch.

Premium Fresh takes advantage of Australia's counter-seasonality to export produce to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The importance of European destinations are growing for Premium Fresh. The uncertainty of more variable climatic conditions has now meant that European buyers are looking to lock in purchases with Southern Hemisphere producers. However, competitiveness within the European retail market can result in fairly tight margins.

How an Australia – European Union Free Trade Agreement could help:

Improving commercial opportunities

A free trade agreement with the EU has the potential to open up a market of half a billion people to Australian horticultural products. It would provide Australian horticultural exporters with a competitive edge and improved access to a much larger export market in the EU.

Bringing down trade barriers

High and seasonal tariffs impair trade in some Australian agricultural commodity exports such as horticulture. We will seek elimination of the EU's tariffs on almost all agricultural goods in the FTA, acknowledging there are some agricultural sensitivities in the EU. In these circumstances, we will seek new commercially meaningful market access, including through tariff-quota expansion.

Promoting trade facilitation

We aim for an FTA that makes trading easier by promoting effective and efficient customs procedures and building on existing commitments under the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation. Greater transparency of customs procedures will make it easier for Australian companies to do business with the EU.



Last Updated: 2 August 2019

Key info

Year founded: 2000
Location of headquarters: Forth, Tasmania
Number of employees: 200
Annual turnover: $30m


Three men standing in a green paddock
Jim, centre, pictured with Premium Fresh co-owners Rick (left) and Mike Ertler (right). Credit: PFT/Grant Wells.

The Australia-European Union FTA will reduce the costs of exporting Tasmanian produce and assist in strengthening the demand for Tasmanian product and allow Premium Fresh to build volume and resulting efficiencies.

Jim Ertler
OWNER