Ian Henderson, Australian Vinegar’s Founder and CEO is a self-confessed science geek that hates waste

“I personally don’t like waste, hate waste, waste of any sort, waste of energy, waste of time, waste of resources”, said Ian.

His company Australian Vinegar has created unique, boutique vinegars using waste food and some clever science.

Ian pushes flavour boundaries, infusing vinegar with the likes of apricot, honey, orange, beetroot and pumpkin. In 2019, in response to the strawberry contamination crisis, Ian’s team developed a special vinegar, using the strawberries major supermarkets had to throw out.

So we are fermentation scientists and naturally we are looking at wasted hydrocarbons and trying to turn them into either food, food ingredients or agricultural industrial chemicals using nothing but vegetables and fruit and juices that were destined for the ground
— Ian Henderson, Founder and CEO, Australian Vinegar 

For the first 8 years in business, Ian ran the company on his own, managing everything from manufacturing to sales and accounting. These days, he employs 10 people, and exports products world-wide. Ian wanted to remain innovative as the business continued to grow, and turned to the Entrepreneurs’ Programme for more expertise. Enter business Adviser Mark Goldsmith who brought with him years of experience in the food industry.

Mark was able to connect Ian with a grant that allowed him to employ a research scientist, which meant he didn’t have to take other employees off-line to spend time investigating his “crazy ideas”. Having a PhD researcher in the company also reinforces Ian’s view that Australian Vinegar is a science-based company.

“That’s our niche. We are the world leaders in innovation in what we do. We’re not the biggest vinegar maker in the world, but man we are pretty smart”, says Ian.

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