Premium quality all around
Eastcoast Foods and Beverages is a family owned and operated company based on the Australian Central Coast. For over 15 years, it has been producing premium quality fresh fruit juices, fruit drinks, and natural spring water – the key words there being ‘premium quality’. Because Eastcoast are forced to compete with large multinational companies that can usually offer lower prices, the only way they can contend is with quality that no one else can offer. That includes their quality, locally sourced product, as well as their devotion to quality customer satisfaction. “Once consumers taste our fruit juice they’re convinced,” says Samuel J. Lentini, Eastcoast’s Business Development Manager. “They’re convinced to buy locally and buy a product that’s made from quality as well.”
Eastcoast Foods and Beverages began three generations ago with Samuel’s grandfather, who started his own farm up in Kulnura, New South Wales. “Basically, he started off just picking and packing the citrus fruit. Then he left it to his three sons”.However, it was around that time that the government lifted tariffs on imported concentrate. Lentini says that the new market for imported concentrates from overseas meant there was no longer any money in citrus industry for them as they supplied a lot of juice processing facilities “The three brothers found themselves in a predicament,” he says. “So they decided to start squeezing the fruits and making them into fresh fruit juice.” This means that all of Eastcoast’s citrus juice products were made from locally grown fruits; not imported concentrate. This practice, in addition to increasing the quality of their product, also helps to support local growers in the Kulnura area. The next generation of Lentini’s continued this practice, which still goes on today. “So three generations in, there’s now me, and my cousin Sam also helping in the business – two of the three brother’s sons.”
That family component has made for a positive working atmosphere at Eastcoast, says Lentini. “We all get along together. We all sit down regularly and conduct meetings with one another and discuss which way we’re going to move, or the best way to move forward.” While many of the employees there are family, there are also some who are not related to the Lentini clan, and he says the atmosphere extends to them too. “The relationship towards one another, employee to management, is quite good. We’re always sitting down to discuss business development and how the staff are conducting themselves, if they’re facing any issues within the organization and we try to address any as soon and as well as possible. Within the organization we all get along very well – we’re all aiming for the same goal.”
Part of Eastcoat’s strategy going forward involves a campaign with Coles supermarket. That partnership started with two local stores, and has ballooned into over 40 all over the Central Coast, Sydney and Newcastle. Lentini says they are planning to keep growing that number. “We like to emphasise that we’re a local company on the central coast, and due to in store demonstrations that we do within the Coles supermarkets and similar businesses, we’ve got a lot of feedback. That’s been a very important tool and helped gather very useful information. We’ve learned that people would rather buy from a local Australian company than from large multinational companies that import all their concentrates from overseas.” For people who are looking to buy the best quality fruit juice, and want to buy locally, Eastcoast Food and Beverage is the best option. “All of our citrus products, like I said, are grown locally and squeezed on site up here in Kulnura.
From an environmental perspective, Where possible Eastcoast ensure not to waste anything .They recycle all cardboard, and all of the peel is also reused “it never goes to waste – cattle farmers come and pick them up and they use it to feed the cattle and some of them use it for compost for the farms.” Additionally, they have a wastewater treatment program. “All the water that comes from the factory gets pumped back into our own orchards.” Being wasteful, he says, does not make a sense from a sustainability perspective or a business one.
The challenges Eastcoast Foods and Beverages face are usually ones relating to being outsized. “We’re always facing challenges with the likes of the large multinational companies like Coca Cola where they can supply the fridges to the companies. They also buyers tied up with the convenience of also supplying milk, water, fruit juice – they even do beer now – so it becomes an issue to face these companies. In addition to convenience, those larger companies can also pose a pricing challenge. Although we try to remain as competitive as possible.
So how does Eastcoast compete? The answer to that question is on two fronts: quality, and customer relations. “Our product speaks for itself, all of our citrus juices actually taste like real fruit! This is because it is made from locally grown fruit, as said previously, it is this quality that differentiates us from brands that import concentrates from thousands and thousands of kilometres away. Also because we are a local company we are able to give our customers the satisfaction of same day delivery if needed, we are always willing to help, as we try to work with them toward the same goal.
Moving forward, Lentini and the company’s goals are straightforward: “Basically, just keep on moving forward and maintain our commitment to supplying up to standard premium quality product When Lentini says ‘up-to-standard’, what he is referring to is the Eastcoast standard, which is premium quality. In the future, he would like more of the market to know that. “Five years in the future we’d like to create more brand awareness and become the leading fruit juice brand in Australia, but continue to maintain the same quality products.
The vision at Eastcoast Foods and Beverages, he says, is another straightforward one: to be the first choice supplier of 100 per cent fresh fruit juices, fruit drinks, and natural spring water every time. “You can taste the difference!” Lentini says.