Unilever Australia confirms sale of Toowoomba facility to Country Synergy
29 November 2021: Unilever Australia has today confirmed the sale of its Toowoomba facility to Country Synergy. The site which was previously used to produce Weis ice creams will now be used for storage, distribution logistics and food processing.
Country Synergy - an Australian, family-owned business - are planning to employ local Toowoomba people in the next year to help run the new operations, bringing significant job opportunities to the Toowoomba district and surrounding communities. The new site will be in addition to the family’s other Agricultural business interests in Inglewood and Pittsworth which employ more than 100 people.
Managing Director from Country Synergy, Katrina Hobbs said: “As a local family, we are excited to take on ownership and management of the site and we are looking for opportunities to work with other companies to provide food storage and distribution solutions, as well as offering opportunities for food processing.”
As previously announced, Unilever will be setting aside 25 per cent of the sale proceeds – more than $1million AUD – to establish the Weis Community Fund which will be used to have a longstanding impact in the Toowoomba community and leave a legacy that honours Weis’ 60+ year history and the Weis team’s passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, continuous improvement, and quality agricultural ingredients.
Unilever invited organisations operating in and around the Toowoomba district to submit applications which were then reviewed and shortlisted with support from a community panel of local leaders. The recipients of the Fund will be announced in the coming weeks.
Keith Head, who was Unilever’s factory director for the Toowoomba site and is now overseeing Unilever’s Minto facility where Weis is being produced said: “I have a lot of great memories of my time in Toowoomba and the incredible community.”
While we’re officially passing the baton to Country Synergy today, we hope the Weis legacy will live on in Toowoomba through the Weis Community Fund and we look forward to sharing more details about the recipients soon. We wish Country Synergy all the best as they grow their operations in Toowoomba – it’s fantastic to see an Australian family-owned business take the reins of the iconic facility.”
Unilever announced the transfer of Weis manufacturing and the subsequent closure of the Toowoomba site in 2019. The last Weis bar was produced at the Toowoomba site on 29 January 2021. Weis ice creams are now being produced at Unilever’s Minto facility in NSW, however Queensland continues to play a very important part of the Weis brand with much of the fruit that goes into the delicious ice creams still being sourced from Queensland farmers.
Country Synergy are seeking opportunities to work with interested parties to provide food storage and processing solutions. They would also consider applications to sub-lease parts of the site. For more information, contact: Katrina Hobbs 0407 736 299 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Greg Youngberry 0429 396 222 (email@example.com).
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. Globally, we have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets.
In Australia and New Zealand, we employ more than 1,000 people across our offices and manufacturing facilities in North Rocks, Minto, Tatura and Auckland. Unilever has around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. Our local brands include Dove, Rexona, Lynx, Vaseline, OMO/Persil, Surf, TRESemmé, Toni & Guy, Continental, Ben & Jerry’s and Streets.
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how we run our company today.
The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while improving the health of the planet; improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing; and contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2020 as a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the 2020 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.
For more information about Unilever and our brands, please visit www.unilever.com.au.
About Country Synergy
Country Synergy is a newly formed part of a family group of Australian Family-Owned Agricultural companies based in QLD. The family group has extensive interests in Agriculture in particular organic production and there are three generations working within the family group of companies. The first business interests were established in 1983 by Andrew and Jennifer Youngberry in Highfields north of Toowoomba. A hydroponic cut flower farm soon expanded to become Australia’s pioneering Continental Cucumber growers. Eden Farms continues to produce a range of horticultural crops with direct supply relationships with both Woolworths and Coles. The family later diversified into certified organic broadacre farming, and organic cattle and sheep production.
Andrew and Jennifer’s daughter Katrina Hobbs is Group CEO and has shown a flair for business since a young age. In 1998 she established Australia’s first Certified Organic Stockfeed Manufacturing business, Country Heritage Feeds at the age of 20.This business supplies certified organic and certified sustainable petfood and stockfeeds throughout Australia.
Katrina’s husband Adrian is also actively involved in the business and 3 of their 5 children are also working within the company. Their eldest daughter is working part-time in the marketing team while doing full-time study at the local university, USQ (University of Southern Queensland).Their second child is halfway through a school-based traineeship studying Beef Production and their 15-year-old plans to commence an Agribusiness school based traineeship next year. The younger two kids are keen to also do school-based traineeships one day, but they are both still in primary school.
Katrina’s brother Gregory Youngberry heads up Sales, Marketing and Digital Technologies across the family group and her younger sister and brother-in-law are also involved in the farming side of the business.
In 2013 the family purchased a financially distressed Certified Organic Chicken Farm from Receivers and Managers of the troubled RM Williams Ag Holdings company. Inglewood Organic has gone from strength to strength under the family’s ownership having just won the Australian Consumer Choice Sustainable Farmer of the Year Award for the 5th year running.
Country Synergy is another exciting diversification step for the family group, the family is passionate about creating synergies between the farmer and the consumer with authentic, sustainable and quality food for all to enjoy. The new site in Toowoomba brings a wide range of possibilities to connect paddocks to plates offering a range of storage, logistics, distribution and food processing opportunities to explore.