WALNUTS Australia won the Emerging Exporter Award at the 50th Australian Export Awards on Tuesday night.
The company, a division of Webster Limited, is the southern hemisphere's largest grower, processor and exporter of walnuts, with 86 per cent of its sales being derived from exports.
The company has grown rapidly in the last few years, approximately trebling export sales in dollar terms over the past 12 months.
The company targets northern hemisphere markets where in-season Australian walnuts are fresher than the local product and demand is strong.
In 2011-12, the company accessed international exports, marketing its in-shell walnuts into Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, China and Hong Kong.
Webster Limited managing director Leigh Titmus said the award recognised the commitment and hard work of the Walnuts Australia team over many years.
Mr Titmus said he believed future prospects for the company were strong.
"Walnuts Australia offers the key point of differentiation in northern hemisphere markets with our ability to supply fresh in season walnuts when local production is already 6 months old,'' he said.
:Marketing staff target sophisticated walnut markets in Europe and in Asia where per capita walnut consumption is high, the considerable health benefits of walnut consumption are widely appreciated, where walnuts form an integral part of the culture and cuisine and where disposable incomes are rapidly increasing.''
Webster Limited has said it will invest heavily in the walnut industry over the next five year by expanding its orchard estate in the Riverina district of NSW by approximately 1,000 hectares in-line with projected business growth.
It will also build a walnut cracking facility to extract the kernel and replace import product.
General manager John Hosken said the new walnut cracking plant would see Australian walnut kernel replace significant volumes of imported in kernel in the Australian market for the first time.