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Nominations close soon for Export Product of the Year

There is only a couple of days left for you to get in your nomination for Export Product of the Year award. This is an award given to a company that has produced “a food or beverage product that has recently been exported successfully at a commercial level”.

There are only a few criteria that have to be met:

  • The export of the product must have begun from 1 January 2019 (product may have been sold commercially in Australia or New Zealand before that date).
  • The exported product must fill a gap in the market for the country/s it is being exported to.
  • The nomination must demonstrate the success of the product in the export market – i.e. financial gains, customer satisfaction, increasing orders.
  • The nomination must discuss packaging and how this enhances exporting quality, shelf life of product, and marketing/promotion in export markets, as well as the packaging’s sustainability.

If you wish to nominate a person for the award, click here.


FIAL comes on board for Food & Beverage Industry Awards

Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) and Food & Beverage Industry News are excited to partner with each other for the upcoming food and beverage industry awards program, which will be held in September 2020.

Due to COVID-19, the awards will be a digital enterprise, but nonetheless will be a key event in the food and beverage calendar.

FIAL facilitates various industry lead solutions via initiatives in innovation, markets and food waste to sustain, support and grow the Australian food and agribusiness sector.

FIAL is the catalyst that encourages the food sector to collaborate to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace. It influences the industry by sharing knowledge, building capability and creating connections.

It is a not-for-profit organisation and is responsible for the Food and Agribusiness Industry Growth Centre Initiative created via the Australian Federal Government.

The Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre policy, fosters innovation and entrepreneurship utilising an industry-led approach designed to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness by focusing on areas of competitive strength and strategic priority. It leads Australia’s food focus sector transition into smart, high value and innovative sector, said FIAL general manager, commercial, Rod Arenas.

“We facilitate part of Australian Government’s Deregulation Agenda to reduce regulatory burden for individuals, businesses and community organisations,” said Arenas. “These Regulation Reform Agendas will contribute to a lower cost, business friendly environment, freeing resources at the firm level to focus on growth, competitiveness, productivity and investment. The initiatives enable national action on key issues such as deregulation, skills, collaboration and commercialisation.”

FIAL is a natural fit for the awards, as it is at the cutting edge of the latest innovations in the food and beverage manufacturing and processing space.

“It’s great to have FIAL on board as they bring a lot of experience to the awards, especially in terms of judging and knowledge of the industry,” said Prime Creative Media’s general manager  of events, Simon Coburn, whose company runs the awards and published Food & Beverage Industry News. “We look forward to bringing the awards to the industry, albeit under trying circumstances. It’s great to have an organisation like FIAL onboard and we look forward to working with them to make the awards the best event for the industry.”

“FIAL’s involvement in the FBIN virtual Awards is to acknowledge and celebrate success within the food and beverage manufacturing industry,” said Arenas. “It also offers a national platform for industry to showcase innovation and advancement and in turn facilitate business opportunities, for the winners of the individual awards in helping to grow individuals organisations and in showcasing capabilities both domestically and internationally.”

As well as practical advice and help, FIAL also offers opportunities for food and agribusinesses to take part in workshops, training programs, as well as creating dialogues with other businesses and help make connections with domestic and overseas buyers. The goal is to strengthen small and medium businesses global connections to enable them to find new markets for their products or alternate suppliers of key product or services.

“We’re also ensuring Australian businesses can still connect with various markets by hosting a series of virtual events,” said Arenas. “We’re connecting buyers with innovative export ready Australian food and beverage suppliers. We have stepped up to address this urgent need for market connectivity – launching the Australian Food Catalogue (AFC) platform with numerous new advancements and on-line events. This upgraded, free digital platform empowers collective sourcing via connecting qualified international buyers with Australian export-ready food and beverage suppliers. The AFC is endorsed via the industry growth centres initiative, Austrade and supported by the Australian Government.

“Increased digital connectivity has allowed more of us to work from home. The sector wants online solutions that deliver tangible outcomes in accelerating commercially driven collaboration. FIAL continues to deliver opportunities to transform current models, in order to achieve strategic industry growth,” said Arenas.

Export-ready Australian food and beverage suppliers are encouraged to sign up to the Australian Food Catalogue today by visiting For upcoming virtual events hosted by FIAL, visit



Making the most of indigenous ingredients

Diversification is one way for an enterprise to spread its wings – not only can it open up new markets, it can have a positive impact on the bottom line, as well as bringing new ideas and palette pleasers to a public that is hungry for new taste sensations.

When Eddie Brook, the director and co-founder of Cape Byron Distillery, decided to venture into the spirit market in the form of Slow Gin, he decided to forego the sloe berry. Both Brook and fellow distiller, Jim McEwan, were thinking of an ingredient a little closer to home – the native Davidson Plum.

Cape Byron Distillery is situated in the sub-tropical climes of New South Wales’ Northern Rivers region, which is ideal for growing the plum. Brook’s parents moved to the region 30 years ago at about the same time he was born. They bought an old, rundown dairy farm and quickly started planting trees on the 90-acre site. As well as planting macadamias, his parents, Pam and Martin, planted more than 35,000 native tropical plants. Of the 25 botanicals in Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin range, 17 are sourced from the Northern Rivers region, including from the family’s rainforest.

Which brings us back to its Slow Gin. Why use Davidson Plums as the core ingredient?
“From an early age I’ve always known about the Davidson Plum,” said Brook. “Every year, come December, we used to harvest them. Mum and I would make Davidson Plum jam. We’d pick them from the rainforest and then we’d cook it into a jam. The flavour of the jam is incredibly tart and sour. It is thriving with flavour and acidity, but there is a sweetness to it there.

“In the spirit industry I have been lucky enough to work with some great brands. I used to do a lot of work with different English ways of doing things. When you look at some of the characteristic of those fruits, they are similar to the Davidson Plum. I wanted to make a spirit in the same style, but also showcase what we’ve got in terms of native ingredients from the rainforest.”

There are several different varieties of Davidson Plum with the two main commercial varieties being the Jerseyana and Prurien. It is the former that makes up the bulk of the distilling process when it comes to producing Cape Byron’s Slow Gin. Since first making the gin, the number of plums needed as skyrocketed. In its first year of production in 2017, the distillery used two tonnes of the fruit. Fast forward to 2019 and they are up to 22 tonnes. And this is where issues might arise in the future.

“Supply is a tricky one. We’re now the largest purchaser of the Davidson Plum in Australia,” said Brook. “The vast majority of the berries come from Northern Rivers, while the remainder come from Queensland. The exciting thing is we get to purchase them all from the Northern Rivers and a little bit from Southern Queensland. However, the issue in the future might be supply.”

The distillery is limited with how much supply it can get because of the lack of plums being grown. A big part of getting enough supply is building relationships direct with farmers and getting the quality. Brook said the biggest challenge he has is that the Jerseyana variety only has one harvest per year.

“We purchase as much as we can over that 12 month period and we have to keep that in freezer storage throughout the year,” he said. “There are a few costs associated, and some call us a bit crazy but it is that little bit of craziness you have along the way that keeps you dedicated to quality.”

And with quality comes demand. And the spirit is in huge demand. So much so, the company cannot keep up with production, despite producing in excess of 100,000 litres per year.

“It has really taken off. We have been focused primarily on the Australian market but we do distribute to the UK as well as a little bit to Malaysia,” said Brook. “We will be doing more exporting this year. All the demand comes from the local market to the point that we have some of our largest customers in Australia in the spirit industry. The Dan Murphys and Coles of this world would love to have our product, and we would love to supply it, but we just don’t have enough of it to be able to be able supply it to them.”

Another issue is that this popularity means other distillers are figuratively starting to look over Cape Byron’s shoulder – not that Brook is too concerned.

“Since we’ve started there has been a number of other spirit brands that have come out producing Davidson Plum infused spirits and gins,” he said. “At the end of the day I don’t see that as too bad of a thing. One of our big passions is to speak to people about native flavours; people have zero education about what they are. For Australian spirits or food, that native food has to be the cornerstone of it. The fact that more people are using it, and there may be some imitation – and they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery – we’re not too concerned.”

The other reason Brook isn’t concerned is because he believes it has a superior product due to the production process. For Cape Byron Distillery to produce one bottle of its slow gin, it takes on average 11 months of aging to get to the flavour profile that Brook is after. A 700ml bottle currently retails for $65 but will soon increase to $70, with the increase down to the cost of the plums and freezer storage.

And while Brook is happy with the product and sees a rosy future, he presses the case that more farmers need to grow native fruits, and not just the Davidson Plum. He also thinks education is important when it comes to using native ingredients.

“There are a lot more farmers starting to grow native ingredients, but there’s not an industry-type body where people can go into the native industry and learn from it and develop it,” he said. “This leads to one major issue – there is a real discrepancy with quality and also difference in pricing.

“If you turn up and are selling native foods to a restaurant the price can be as much as $80 a kilo, or as little as $20 a kilo and anywhere in between. And if that quality is not there, and there is huge price variation, it is understandable for venues or people not to use it in their produce.”

Not one to rest on his laurels, Brook and his team are thinking of the future. The family recently invested in buying up another old 70-acre dairy farm and they are going to convert that into growing native plants including the Davidson Plum. It will take a while for the trees to bear fruit, but Brook sees it as a step in the right direction to help them be more self-reliant on supply.

“One thing we’re going to be doing – because the amount of volume we need is going to be a challenge for us – is going to invest in growing our own Davidson plums in an orchard.

“We will be able to get enough fruit to produce the gin for the next five years.

“A Davidson Plum tree will start producing fruit after three or four years, depending on the season,” he said. “This season, we had a huge dry season. We got a splattering of rain and some of the harshest conditions, and yet this has been one of the biggest crops the Northern Rivers has had for Davidson Plums over the past five years. Every grower coming into it was quite concerned. But it’s actually when the plants become stressed they do really well in these conditions.

“When the tree first matures we will be getting five to eight kilos per tree. When they are completely mature, we should get around the 30-40 kilo mark. It is all about scaling the orchard. We start with 2,000 to 5,000-odd trees, and then we’ll have volumes and we might be able to supply others who need the ingredient.”

Overall, Brook is confident that his little corner of the world is doing its bit in putting native ingredients to the forefront of Australian consumers in the beverage space. And he sees
Australian ingredients as the cornerstone of some great innovations.

“The exciting thing is, if we can create more demand in the industry, that will lead to more regulations around quality and all of that, which will be a good thing for everybody.”

For Food & Beverage Industry Awards nomination please visit our website, click here.

Food & Beverage Industry News goes monthly

Food & Beverage Industry News is very excited to announce from August this year, the industry’s premier magazine will move to from a bi-monthly to a monthly model. What that means for our readers is more content, more insights and more of the latest up-to-date developments both locally and overseas. For our commercial partners, it means even more opportunities to have their message heard by decision makers and trend setters in the Australasian food and beverage market.

If you’re a business looking to get involved, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Food & Beverage Industry News.

Advertising Contact:
Luke Ronca
Ph: 0402 718 081


Food & Beverage Industry Awards – Paddock to Plate

Do you bring your products from the paddock to the plate?

You’re invited to nominate now for Paddock to Plate in the Food & Beverage Industry Awards. The Awards are seeking companies who source their product direct from the producer and maintain freshness while meeting a consumer demand, such as longer shelf life and/or ease of preparation and cooking.

Want to be a part of the premier Food and Beverage awards night of the year?

The Food and Beverage Industry Awards will return for its 16th year this July. To continue celebrating those companies and individuals who go above and beyond in the food and beverage manufacturing sector, join us for a gala dinner awards night to be held in Sydney.

WHEN: Thursday, 18 July 2019
WHERE: Doltone House Darling Island, Sydney
TIME: 6:30 pm

Click here to purchase tickets.



Food Industry Awards – Food Safety Equipment & Materials 

Have you developed a new technology or product to increase food safety?

You’re invited to nominate now for the Food Safety Equipment & Materials Award in the Food & Beverage Industry Awards. The Awards are seeking new products or advancements in technology designed to improve and maintain food safety standards in manufacturing facilities.