Up-and-coming food and agriculture businesses from across South East Queensland are taking their next step through the Future Food Initiative – an industry development program which aims to drive sector investment and support job growth across the region.
Now in its second year, Future Food’s programs and workshops have already generated $29 million for the local economy, with 1,500 attendees representing 355 SEQ businesses participating in last year’s programs.
My Berries co-managing director Stuart McGruddy, who participated in the Future Food Global Readiness program in 2018, has since invested in new automation equipment and hired additional staff.
McGruddy said Future Food’s accelerator programs are the perfect way to help businesses like My Berries continue to innovate, grow and reach new global markets.
“We’re expecting a bumper berry season this year and having gone through Future Food’s Global Readiness program last year, we’re ready to take advantage and continue to grow export opportunities and leverage our new automation equipment,” McGruddy said.
“Future Food has given us the right expertise and insight to help us innovate and scale our business, which has included bringing on almost 20 new staff members compared to last year’s peak season.
“We’re second generation berry farmers who started off by drawing from our family’s wealth of knowledge, and the Future Food Initiative helped increase our local success and refine our global strategy to ensure that we can look beyond our own backyard for new opportunities.
“One of the key learnings from the Future Food Initiative is how we can tap into global markets that are willing to pay a premium for Australian-grown, Australian-made products.”
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane has the facilities, infrastructure and networks to support local food and beverage businesses such as My Berries, who have been able to tap into national and international markets and exponentially grow their volume of sales in the past 12 months.
“The growth of My Berries is a great example of how Brisbane can produce some of the best fresh food and produce in the world, and Future Food is helping business capitalise on these local success stories and grow our local industry,” Schrinner said.
“After the devastation we saw in the strawberry industry last year, dedicated programs like Future Food have helped guide My Berries, and this weekend everyone will be able to sample their berries at Brisbane’s Regional Flavours food and wine festival.
“There is a hunger from Brisbane’s food community to expand their capabilities, capacity and expertise and the Future Food Initiative delivers a range of targeted education and industry development advice to help them achieve this.
“Growing Brisbane and South East Queensland’s food and agribusiness industry is a priority of the Brisbane 2022 New World City Action Plan for economic growth, which is why we want to help our local food and beverage businesses prosper.
“The Future Food Initiative was developed by the city’s economic development board Brisbane Marketing to help a range of food businesses to scale under the philosophy of ‘building local to grow global’.”