Food & Beverage
|In the northern hemisphere, when winter sets in, Victoria’s summer crops are making their way to consumers craving out-of-season produce. |
That seasonal advantage has been the traditional basis for a thriving A$6.3 billion food export industry. Victoria is now also servicing a growing appetite closer to home in the Asia-Pacific for advanced food and beverage products.
Victoria’s food processing industry is renowned for high quality raw ingredients, excellent innovation infrastructure and seamless 24-hour access to global markets.
They’re the reasons why major global companies like Cadbury, Mars Foods, Heinz, Kraft Foods, Pepsi, Nestlé, Unilever and Yakult have operations in Victoria.
Melbourne’s multicultural population was instrumental in creating a domestic market for foods from around the world. This demand led to the formation of a strong export industry, and turned Melbourne into Australia’s food and wine capital.
|With annual turnover of A$25.4 billion, Victoria’s food industry employs more than 133,000 people across the value chain and exports to over 100 countries worldwide. |
Victoria occupies a land mass roughly the size of Switzerland, but has an array of climates ranging from Mediterranean to alpine, and diverse soil types.
Though it accounts for only 3 per cent of Australia’s land mass, Victoria accounts for 24 per cent of the gross value of Australia’s food and beverage industry.
Victoria's major food sectors include dairy, confectionery, processed grains, horticulture, meat, wine and micro-brewing industry, seafood and organic foods.
|Food processing is one of Victoria’s biggest export earners, worth more than A$6.3 billion in 2010-11.|
Major export markets include the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Value-added specialties include gourmet cheeses, powder-based foods such as protein shakes and infant formula, processed meats, cereals, confectionery and wine.
Victoria also has strengths in:
- new food packaging technologies that minimise waste and maximise efficiency
- environmentally sustainable farming
- new processing technologies that deliver safe and fresh foods, including high pressure processing, pressure-assisted thermal sterilisation, ultrasonics, pulsed electric field and microwave technology
Quality second to none
|Victoria was identified as by far the best quality location in the Asia-Pacific for advanced food and beverage processing, in a recent IBM Plant Location International benchmarking study. |
The study identified a range of factors where Victoria came out on top such as real estate, infrastructure and connectivity, talent, sector specialisation, regulations, stability and risk.
A strong cluster of biotechnology, agriculture, packaging, and transport businesses offers complimentary technological capabilities.
|Victoria’s food industry operates within a strong national safety and quality framework. |
Rigorous national Customs and Quarantine systems help keep produce and livestock disease-free. Victoria also has its own biosecurity framework governing livestock and crops.
A thriving organics industry is underpinned by reliable certification.
And a growing number of Victorian producers now supply halal and kosher foods to domestic and overseas markets. Many have local and/or international certification to produce foods for these markets.
Knowledge and innovation
|The global competitiveness of Victoria’s agri-food sector is maintained by its ability to understand and respond to the rapidly changing trade environment. |
A key element of this is the relationships between governments, industry and researchers to develop capability. Victoria’s food research and development infrastructure includes:
- CSIRO Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences - Australia’s premier scientific organisation is the largest producer of food industry R&D in Australia.
- Dairy Innovation Australia conducts leading edge research and training in processes and products.
- Dairy Futures Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) – based at La Trobe University in Bundoora, is the single-largest research program in Australia for the dairy industry, focusing on increasing the value of pastures and dairy cattle.
- Food Science Australia (FSA) works with industry and university partners to turn scientific research into innovative solutions for the food industry. Its research portfolio includes the Innovative Foods Centre.
- Food Technology Association of Australia (FTAA) provides food technology and safety services, and networking opportunities.
- Universities conducting food industry research and education include the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, RMIT University, Victoria University, and the University of Ballarat.
- Many colleges in the Victorian Government’s network of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes offer certificate training in food production.