13/02/2008 - 22:00

Case Study: Traditional approach to gourmet fare

13/02/2008 - 22:00


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Ogilvie & Co Fine Food Merchants has come a long way since its inception in a vacant corner butcher shop 20 years ago.

Case Study: Traditional approach to gourmet fare

Ogilvie & Co Fine Food Merchants has come a long way since its inception in a vacant corner butcher shop 20 years ago.

One of the first gourmet food manufacturers in Australia, the business was started by graphic designer Anna Maria Ogilvie when the Australian gourmet food industry was in its infancy.

Ogilvie & Co has since become one of the best-known brands in this niche, with its range of hand-made preserves, sauces, antipasto and other gourmet comestibles sold around Australia and internationally.

In 2004, the business was sold to a large WA-based family business with interests in wholesale liquor distribution, vineyards and freight. Just two years later, the business was sold again to its current owners, Jodi and Paul Paindelli.

Ms Paindelli told WA Business News the business had suffered under the hands of the previous owners, who had departed from the brand’s original vision of producing quality hand-made products by outsourcing a large part of the cooking.

The new owners were intent on growing the business without having to compromise the integrity of the brand.

“The business is very hands on, the corporate structure [of the previous owners] didn’t suit,” she said.

“The care factor is there when you own it, and its your passion. When you don’t, it’s very  different.”

The Paindellis brought product manufacture back in-house, while also reverting to the traditional recipes that had been handed down by the founder.

Not only did this allow the owners more quality control over production, it also minimised the risks associated with relying on an outside company to fill large or last-minute orders.

They also made investments in new machinery, including a forklift and labeller, to allow the business to fill the larger orders more easily. But the biggest investment was in its new larger premises in Jandakot.

Ms Paindelli said the new office, which the business moved into last month, would give the business room to grow.

At 862 square metres, the Jandakot office is more than twice the size of its previous Bayswater premises, with more storage and office space, and a much larger kitchen.

With the initial investment making for a financially challenging first year, Ms Paindelli said the investment needed to be made to move the company forward.

“We bit the bullet and did it. Even our accountant, who is quite conservative, said to us ‘you have no choice, you have to do it,’” she said.

Despite the expansion, Ogilvie & Co remains a family business with a strong focus on keeping with the tradition of quality hand-made products.

Almost all of its range is still hand-made in-house, with all of the products hand packaged using traditional preserving methods and most hand-labelled by its dedicated team, which grows from 12 to more than 20 in the busy periods.

With business continuing to grow each year, (this year’s were up 13 per cent on last year, with WA sales alone up 22 per cent), the Paindellis say they are committed to growing the business without compromising the quality it is known for.


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