The food and agribusiness sector is a key source of growth for the Australian economy over the coming decades.
Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) was established to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace. It is working to help businesses develop innovative, cost-effective and differentiated offerings to access and compete in international markets. In particular, FIAL is targeting the growing middle class markets in the Asia-Pacific.
The size of the global middle class is expected to increase from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 4.9 billion by 2030. The Asia-Pacific region is home to 66 per cent of this population. FIAL has engaged with over 15 000 firms in the food and agribusiness sector through activities such as capability building workshops, tradeshows, inward buyer missions, collaborative tools and learning events.
The gross value added from the food and agribusiness industry to the economy was $67.2 billion in 2017–18, with a total of 176 050 business estimated in the sector in 2016. The industry’s exports of $41.2 billion represent 12.0 per cent of total merchandise exports recorded in 2018.
Enhancing collaboration and commercialisation
FIAL’s projects and Cluster Programme are fostering a collaborative industry culture that promotes working together to advance research and development, strengthen value chains, whilst minimising export costs.
FIAL has committed over $9 million in project funding towards collaborative projects. There are over $50 million in benefit to be realised from the commercialising these ideas.
- FIAL’s Enterprise Solutions Centre is connecting SMEs with R&D expertise and short-term funding to help them access technology and upskill staff. The Centre has funded 73 projects (81 per cent of which are led by SMEs) valued at $6.73 million, with more than 50 per cent of this amount invested by industry. Seventy-five SMEs have generated new products with potential sales of over $50 million. Many participants collaborated with a researcher for the first time through the program.
- FIAL annually publishes ‘Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations’, which showcases 50 innovative companies of all sizes and across the entire value chain, acting as exemplars and inspirations for the sector.
Improving skills and capability
To address the practical needs of the sector, FIAL has identified Industry Knowledge Priority areas in R&D and management capability.
- FIAL’s Retail Readiness, Private Label and Market Diversification workshops have been delivered across the country in collaboration with the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, with over 200 companies in participation. These workshops have prepared firms for their discussions with buyers at ‘Meet the Buyer’ events with Ritchies, Coles, Woolworths and JD.com. Over 600 participants have attended these workshops across Australia, and 40 per cent have had one on one meetings with buyers.
Taking Australian businesses to the world
FIAL’s suite of online tools, workshops and international trade missions to China, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Thailand are collectively building capability around product innovation, export and business.
- FIAL has delivered a market-channel readiness program to help Australian firms build their capability to access new export markets. With the Entrepreneurs’ Programme, FIAL has delivered 65 workshops on topics including eCommerce Readiness, Intellectual Property and International Brand Building, and Market Diversification to over 1750 participants.
- With the help of “Are You Ready for Export?” series of workshops, at least 55 companies are now exporting to new markets and hundreds more are active in investigating international opportunities.
- FIAL has accompanied 174 firms to and showcased an additional 158 companies at international trade shows. These businesses made over 6500 supplier-buyer connections either during and/or post shows. This resulted in more than $2 million in estimated sales from the 2017-18 financial year shows alone.
FIAL helped Gold Coast functional-food firm Morlife expand its product range overseas by offering a range of online tutorials, inbound trade missions and international trade show programs. Morlife described these opportunities as ‘invaluable’ and has plans to double the size of its production facilities to meet growing demand. Co-founder Cheryl Stewart was named Gold Coast Woman in Business of the Year 2018, in recognition of her success in helping to expand business exports to 15 countries.
With FIAL’s support, Great Southern Truffles, a Western Australian firm exporting truffles to Hong Kong and the US, participated in international trade shows and workshops to build its export capability. As a result, Great Southern Truffles has experienced 50 per cent growth over the last 24 months and has employed an additional four full-time and six part-time staff.
For more information on FIAL’s activities visit fial.com.au