At the CEO Leaders’ Panel Breakfast on 19 May, part of the AUSPACK Leaders’ Forum, Berger Ingredients founder and CEO Diem Fuggersberger will share her experience of running a food and ingredient company in a time of great change and uncertainty.
While the last two years have been challenging for the food and beverage manufacturing sector, Fuggersberger is no stranger to hardship and having to adapt to events and circumstances beyond your control.
Fleeing Vietnam by boat with her family in the late 70s, coming to Australia as a refugee, losing everything in the GFC, and suffering the loss of loved ones in quick succession have strengthened Fuggersberger’s resolve to work hard, be true to Berger’s vision, and create a better life of equality and opportunity for her family.
“As a business, we continue to adapt to the new “normal”. This is ever evolving and changing everyday with the pandemic, floods and the threat of war and we are ONLY a quarter way through 2022!
“It brings us to the national conversation about cost of living and how we as a business continue to face these challenges,” Fuggersberger said.
Berger Ingredients has a number of brands including its herbs, rubs, premixes and flavouring offering. It also produces mueslis and has the capacity to make two million ready meals a year at its plant. Fuggersberger was first to market with Berger’s first retail branded product, Coco & Lucas’ Kitchen, a range of freshly frozen meals for kids and tweens that are healthy, gluten and lactose free.
Increasing inflation, vulnerabilities in the supply chain, and securing local ingredients supply are just some of the daily challenges.
“There are many vulnerabilities which small and big businesses are facing here in Australia. It’s something we definitely prioritise and it’s vitally important for us to invest our time into working smarter not harder.
“Looking for solutions that are new, filling a gap or resolving a problem for our customers is critical. We invest in new, local technologies as well as local talent to help us continually improve and innovate using what resources are readily available here in Australia,”she says.
For Fuggersberger, fulfilling the company’s promise to clients is a mainstay.
“When we agree to a price with our client, we need to fulfil our commitments regardless of the issues that may affect our bottom line or are out of control. For example, the price of Chinese broccoli rises 400 per cent, but we must bear this cost.
“We keep faith that it will bounce back to a sense of normality, and we do this by standing by our suppliers and partners during these difficult times.”
Fuggersberger said that despite the challenges, the business has a promising year ahead.
“We have nine new products hitting the shelves in May, bringing us closer to realising a long dream of mine to be a leader in the category,” she said.
With growth always top of mind, Fuggersberger said in the domestic market there is still room to test and improve taste, texture, and technology to keep pace with consumer demand.
“Over the last year we have conducted research to prove our concepts in the international market. There is definitely a big opportunity for continued growth and expansion into these relatively young markets, as well as make an impactful change,” she added.
Join Diem Fuggersberger and other CEO panellists on 19 May at the CEO Leaders Panel Breakfast. Fuggersberger will be joined by Alan Oppenheim, CEO of Ego Pharmaceuticals, and Dean Carroll, CEO of Brown Family Wines. The panel will be chaired by Kate Whitehead from Avant Group.
You can book to attend this session here.