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International best practice

Achieving growth in domestic food and beverage manufacturing is not only reliant on manufacturing orientated actions but on broader actions which cut across the entire food and beverage ecosystem.

The Netherlands has one of the fastest growing food and beverage manufacturing sectors. It is backed by a range of complementary initiatives aimed at embedding a culture of collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship within its golden triangle (business, science, government). A similar model is possible in Australia if all relevant parties within the food and beverage sector take a united whole-of-value chain approach.

Netherlands: private-public collaboration and innovation at a national scale

A key aspect of Netherland’s success is the active clustering of complementary businesses and institutions, and a mindset to create solutions which can be scaled.[42]

Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP)

Established in 2019, the NFP is a foundation endorsed and funded by the Netherlands Government to enable collaboration between relevant Dutch organisations and international partners. NFP supports ‘coalitions’ targeted at improving food security, healthy diets and sustainable agriculture. Support is provided for ‘proof of concept’ and to bring innovations to market.

Topsector Agri & Food

Topsector Agri & Food stimulates new knowledge and innovations by creating and financing research projects. Using a three-way governance partnership of business, Government and knowledge institutes; it establishes a network of key actors to drive collaboration and encourages public-private partnerships to get involved.

Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TiFN)

TiFN is a public-private partnership for multi-and interdisciplinary research in food and nutrition. Using a systems approach, scientists collaborate on projects ranging from fundamental, applied and valorisation research. Programs are funded by private and public sources, with public programs using funding schemes deployed by Topsector Agri & Food and others.

Foodvalley NL

Established in 2004, Foodvalley NL is an independent organisation that has been developing and strengthening the Foodvalley ecosystem; an international network of organisations that are jointly working on transitioning to a sustainable food system. Its role is to connect firms with business partners and research facilities, organise knowledge events, and to support and facilitate cooperation and knowledge sharing.

Another useful model for Australia is the European Union and the European Institute of innovation and Technology model of knowledge transfer at scale. Using Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) the EU has created a pan-European network across the entire innovation chain reinforcing the journey from research to the market. KICs are set up as partnerships across businesses, research centres and universities to solve industry challenges. Using a consumer-centric approach, KICs seek to develop a food system that is more sustainable, innovative and trusted. It is focused on creating and scaling up, developing talents, encouraging development of innovative products and engaging the public. Drawing on the experiences of similar nations to Australia can help design better strategic approaches and build leading edge food and beverage manufacturing capabilities.

Collaboration

Collaboration is an important part of growing food and beverage manufacturing, and will be fundamental in helping the food and beverage sector achieve its vision. Industry consultations suggest a shared framework will be important to support better cohesion and better industry-to-industry and industry-to-research collaboration. Collaboration was also seen as a mechanism to potentially reduce non-competitive costs by sharing these costs across the partnership. Supporting greater levels of collaboration across all levels (government, businesses, industry experts and researchers) will ensure Australia:

  • realises the benefits of innovation
  • harnesses world-class research capabilities
  • translates great ideas into commercial outcomes.

Long-term industry-led collaboration for the sector, is supported through Australian Government initiatives such as the Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs), the RDCs and through the Australian Government’s 6 Industry Growth Centres (IGCs). FIAL, one of the IGCs, is working with the food and beverage sector through their Project 2030 to grow the share of Australian food in the global market. FIAL’s report, Capturing the Prize: The A$200 billion opportunity in 2030 for the Australian food and agribusiness sector identifies 19 Growth Opportunities that will be critical in shaping the Food and Agribusiness sector over the next decade. Ten of these opportunities, relate directly to the opportunities captured in this road map:

  • The future consumer:
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Targeted eating
    • Plant based and alternative proteins
    • Transitional proteins
  • Food security and sustainability:
    • Food fraud and safety
    • Sustainable inputs
  • Enhanced production and value addition:
    • Food loss and waste
    • Sustainable packaging
  • A global marketplace:
    • Direct to consumer model
    • Supply chain transformation

The Government knows businesses are more likely to grow and attract investment when they are supported by a thriving business environment. The Government is focusing its investment on partnerships and projects that will:

  • create collaborative environments
  • encourage the market to invest
  • facilitate collaboration between business, research organisations and state and territory governments.

For example, food and beverage clustering is growing across Australia’s regions, enabling firms to tap into knowledge and relationship ecosystems at a local level. The focus, applied research driven by market and consumer demand rather than supply pulled. Clustering has the additional benefit of building a region’s capability, capacity and business confidence to innovate, invest and scale-up.

This road map focuses on how government and industry can collaborate to use science and technology as enablers to drive the pace of manufacturing growth in areas of advantage and support the food and beverage sector to make more products here in Australia. Through strong collaboration across industries and between government and the private sector, food and beverage manufacturers will leverage economies of scale, share knowledge and drive innovation.

Funding available

The Modern Manufacturing Initiative is now open for food and beverage manufacturing projects that meet eligibility under its Translation and Integration streams.

Footnotes

42 KPMG 2018, Going Dutch: Opportunities for the Australian agri-food sector, August

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