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New Coles deal could save 200 Simplot jobs

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More than 200 jobs at Simplot’s Devonport factory could be secured following a new five year contract with supermarket giant Coles.

The deal which is expected to be announced today, is set to increase Coles-branded frozen vegetable and potato volume by over 12 percent - making Coles’ smart Buy frozen vegetable and potato products 100 percent Australian grown by next year, The Mercury Reports.

Earlier in the year, the food processor advised employees that two of its plants - Bathurst, NSW and Devonport, Tasmania - were under threat of closure due to an intensely competitive industry and unsustainably high costs.

"When the potential closures were indicated by Simplot, Coles offered its support because they are a very important and valued supplier for us," Coles spokeswoman Anna Kelly said.

The deal echoes the recent decision by rival supermarket chain Woolworths, who announced a $7m contract with SPC Ardmona last month which will see the supermarket replacing imported fruit with Australian grown from the Goulburn Valley region for its private label branded products.

“Woolworths has signed a contract with SPC Ardmona worth $7 million to source 13 lines of canned fruit from their growers in the Goulburn Valley. We are also sourcing three canned pineapple products from Queensland.  These products replace Select canned fruit lines that were previously imported from South Africa and Thailand," said Woolworths managing director of supermarkets and petrol, Tjeerd Jegen.

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