A POLITICIAN took the opportunity of a break in NSW parliament to visit a Murwillumbah food manufacturing business.
Lismore MP Thomas George, whose electorate includes Murwillumbah, visited The Right Food Group on Wednesday to inspect operations and to hear about concerns on the economic conditions for food manufacturers.
"The message that I'm getting here is the same that's echoed to me wherever I go...things are tough," Mr George said.
"I have grave concern for export markets at the moment.
"It's very difficult with the dollar so high."
Despite the tough conditions, The Right Food Group is a success story after capturing part of the private label market for some on the large supermarket chains, including Woolworths and IGA despite an 80% drop in the export market.
Company founder Anni Brownjohn said the private label manufacturing started about three years ago.
"It's just become a bigger part of the business," Ms Brownjohn said.
"When you are a manufacturer you have to produce private label. You have to keep up with what is happening in the market."
Ms Brownjohn said she could import product to sell in Australia that did not meet Australian Standards but exported product needed to meet the organic standards of the destination's market.
The Right Food Group general manager Neil Sallaway said the private label was about 50% of the total production from the factory with The Right Food Groups own brand, Ozganics , making up the other half.
Mr Sallaway said the company was required to meet the standards of the Organic Food Chain and Australian Certified Organic organisations.