Leeton (Wiradjuri Country), New South Wales
With a portfolio spanning more than 1,500 products, the SunRice Group is helping manage increasing climate variability to provide essential food security across the world.
The SunRice Group is a global food manufacturer and one of Australia’s leading branded food exporters.
With a heritage spanning over 70 years, SunRice began when a group of Riverina rice growers pooled their resources to build a single rice mill.
Today, as one of Australia’s most iconic food brands and Australia’s number one rice brand, with market leading positions in 14 countries, SunRice sells more than 1,500 products, under 35 major brands in over 50 countries.
SunRice is driven by innovation, with an ongoing commitment to research and development to maintain Australia’s global reputation as a leader in rice products.
Visit SunRice website.
The SunRice Group was established over 70 years ago, when a group of Riverina rice growers pooled their resources to build a single rice mill.
SunRice won its first Australian Export Award in 1969. Since then, the 2023 Agribusiness Food and Beverages winner has grown to become one of Australia’s most iconic food brands.
The SunRice Group now employs more than 2,000 people across 10 countries. It produces more than 1,500 products, including a portfolio of around 35 major brands.
SunRice Group CEO, Paul Serra, notes that Australian rice-growing practices are very advanced in the international context.
'Our growers are world leading,’ he says. ‘This provides an advantage for the SunRice Group in terms of the quality of the products we export.’
Today, the Group’s global reputation and operations strategy allows it to source paddy rice from 12 countries, including Australia.
‘This is helping to meet global demand and manage increasing climate variability to provide essential food security,’ says Serra.
To reduce earnings volatility for its rice growers and shareholders, the SunRice Group has diversified its product range to become a branded food group.
In addition to rice products, the Group’s diversified portfolio includes gourmet foods, ‘free-from’ and organic foods. It also includes animal feed and nutrition.
The business has also used strategic acquisitions to grow its product offerings. This included acquiring Pryde’s EasiFeed in 2022. The acquisition has increased the SunRice Group’s presence in the high-value equine market in Australia and abroad.
A recent initiative from the SunRice Group’s US team is opening new channels for Australian rice exports.
The team is promoting Australian-sourced medium-grain rice for sushi under a new brand, Kokusai. Kokusai translates to 'international' in Japanese.
Fifty-five Costco stores in the San Diego area are now selling the new targeted brand. The US team is working on further expansion in this important export market.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary Rice Research Australia, the SunRice Group is involved in various research and development programs with government partners to improve rice varieties.
This includes the development of VO71, a rice that is better suited to the Australian climate, uses less water and achieves higher yields.
The Group’s science-backed supply chain includes its traceable Pure Seed Program. The program uses genetic markers to select for specific characteristics such as quality and yield to ensure rice consistency.
Most recently, the SunRice Group has been leveraging strong Australian rice crops to target new opportunities in drought-affected markets like the US and Europe. It has also re-entered premium rice tender markets in Asia, including Japan and Korea.
‘The resulting strong performance meant that Australian rice growers were paid a record naturally determined paddy price last year,’ says Serra.
‘This historic record is testament to the strength and provenance of the SunRice brand and the strong sales volumes achieved in premium destination markets.
‘This enables us to deliver the best quality rice from paddy to plate,’ says Serra.
Aside from products, the SunRice Group also exports its industry expertise.
In late 2022, it launched a public-private partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Vietnam.
This venture aims to establish a traceable, quality-assured value chain for tropical medium-grain rice in the Mekong Delta.
Looking forward, the SunRice Group plans to continue cultivating markets while remaining firmly rooted in the Riverina, Australia’s food bowl.
‘Our drivers are linked to our Growth Strategy, designed to cement our position as a global, multi-origin, multi-market food business,’ says Serra.