FIAL announces $500,000 fund to support food and agribusiness innovation

From low-sugar beverages to energy-efficient technologies and snacks from sustainable food sources, Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has supported a rich and diverse range of innovation projects in Australian food and agribusinesses.

This grassroots involvement has given FIAL a front-row seat to knowing that innovation is central to the sector’s continued growth. Particularly in light of the current challenges affecting Australia – drought, flood, fire, and viral epidemics.

FIAL has announced its Black Summer Innovation Fund – providing $500,000 to support innovation in Australian food and agribusinesses impacted by recent events like the bush fires and summer storms.

“Backing Australian food and agribusinesses from the bottom-up during times of adversity is crucial,” said FIAL managing director, Dr. Mirjana Prica.

FIAL’s Black Summer Innovation Fund will provide businesses with up to $25,000 to support the development of new products and services. This fund is unique in that businesses are not required to match the value of grant awarded. It aims to encourage food and agribusinesses to think differently about their challenges, using innovation to supercharge their business.

Businesses can partner with technical experts and researchers across the sector to identify commercially relevant innovation opportunities. These could be the development of novel food processing, packaging and agricultural technologies for their new future.

Australian food and agribusinesses owners who have been negatively affected by events of national natural catastrophe or global diseases outbreaks in 2019 or 2020 are encouraged to apply today by visiting here.

FIAL celebrates Australian food innovation with book launch

As the wise Nelson Mandela once said, “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.”

That’s precisely what Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has done for the past four years with its book Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations. The FIAL team has searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country — from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.

The exciting innovations featured in the book are aligned to the five global food and agribusiness megatrends identified by CSIRO. These are; a less predictable planet, health on the mind, choosy customers, one world, and smarter food chains.From sugarcane packaging to bone broth crisps, FIAL is confident that these stories will encourage Australian businesses to continue innovating and find their niche.

Chef Adam Moore, who features in the book, said, “As a chef, I am excited to be a part of such an inspiring book which shares Australia’s innovation successes. These stories are a great insight into all the work that goes into bringing together the products that grace restaurant menus, supermarket shelves, and consumers’ tables.“

FIAL managing director, Mirjana Prica, is delighted to launch the 4th edition at Global Table in Melbourne. “In this years’ edition, it’s wonderful to see that technology underpins many of the innovations, a true sign that our industry is evolving. I hope that companies will use this book as inspiration to create something new for the world to eat.”

Sarah Leung, founder and chief dietitian at Alg Seaweed shared her excitement for the book, “Alg Seaweed is so excited to be recognised and published in FIAL’s Innovation Book alongside so many amazing Australian innovations. We are very proud.”

FIAL – Food and Hotel China 2019

Food & Hotel China (FHC) Shanghai is the largest specialist trade show for imported food and wines in China. FHC attracts local and international visitors including retailers, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, importers, distributors and more! Building on the success of last year, FIAL will again provide the opportunity for Australian food & beverage suppliers to showcase their products to international buyers at this exciting exhibition.

What is Food and Hotel China?
This show is dedicated to imports, attracting high-calibre buyers who seek quality international food products. Australian suppliers can take advantage of Australia’sglobal reputation for green, clean, high-quality food products, which are of high demand in China. Last year, the trade show comprised of 120,000 sqm of event space with 3,000 companies from 69 countries. The show attracted 118,274 visitors, including trade buyers from major retailers, importers, distributors and e-commerce platforms.

Why should you attend FHC with FIAL?
FIAL has been successfully showcasing Australian food & beverage suppliers at international tradeshows for the past five years. We provide companies with a low-cost pathway to enter new export markets and make meaningful connections with buyers. By participating in our Taste of Australia stand, many Australian companies have successfully negotiated and secured their first orders into China. All companies joining us will be included in our Australian Food Catalogue, a buyer-focused, supplier-sourcing tool which can open up further opportunities to attract buyers.

Trade show options — what’s included?

  •  Product Display
    Showcase your products on our stand and be connected to interested buyers via the Australian Food Catalogue.
  • Trade Show Sampling Pods
    Various pods on offer, including a premium option with a dedicated Chinese interpreter. All pod options include a complimentary ticket to the Market Insights and Retail Tour.
  • Market Insights & Retail Tour
    A guided market insight tour of high-end retail outlets in Shanghai including; Hema Supermarket, G-Super, City Shop, City Super (these are subject to change). Gain insights into the latest technologies used locally, such as facial recognition and virtual wallet payment options; shopper innovation in leading-edge displays and automated ready meal makers.

Partnership forged between FIAL and Gaia EnviroTech

Food Innovation Australia Limited is delighted to announce Gekko Systems as the recipient
of a $900,000 Project Fund grant. Gekko Systems will be using this funding to support the
widespread introduction of their unique multistage, modular biodigester across the food
and agribusiness industry.

Traditionally, Gekko Systems functions as a mineral processing company with expertise in
engineering and modular design. The organisation was approached by a business which
had been running a biodigester on its piggery for 30 years. The result of this partnership is
their biodigester division – Gaia EnviroTech – and their biodigester, which transforms
livestock waste into renewable energy in the form of electricity and heat. Most
importantly, the system is quick to install, low cost and modular in design and therefore
both adaptable and easily scalable.

Biodigesters convert organic waste into biogas, which can be used to generate electricity.
They provide clean, green energy and an environmentally sound solution for the
management of livestock manure on farms that reduces the global emissions of damaging
greenhouse gases. This technology has the added advantage of being able to decrease onfarm energy costs and increase revenues through the sale of energy and fertilizer made
from the biodigester by-products.

Gekko Systems now wants to expand its application to include not only livestock manure
but all organic wastes. FIAL’s funding will help Gekko Systems develop a lab and
relocatable pilot plant system that will predict the performance of a full-scale, multistage
facility. Additionally, it will provide businesses with best practices for optimising the biogas
outcomes from the system, information on associated technologies for enhancing
operational performance, and a community of practice for sharing information.
Richard Goldberg of Gekko Systems is eager to get this phase of the project up and

“Gaia EnviroTech’s modular biodigester offers businesses a commercial advantage through
the repurposing of their waste streams. Our consortium has been looking for a way in
which we can proliferate this technology throughout the food and agribusiness industry in
Australia. With FIAL’s funding, we are able to bring the benefits of this technology to
them,” Goldberg said.

Gekko Systems consortium includes Enwave Australia, who specialise in providing bespoke district energy and water solutions. “What is particularly exciting about this pilot project is that the biodigester has a reasonably small footprint, is scalable and can be tailored to the end-user. As a waste to energy solution for small to mid-sized food and agri-business waste streams, it is an exciting innovation. We are looking forward to learning more about this technology and its potential benefits for our customers as part of the pilot project,” said  Cameron Evans, CEO of Enwave Australia.

Through the Growth Centre Project Fund, FIAL has committed over $9m across 40
collaborative projects since 2015. The Project Fund is designed to help Australian food and
agribusinesses develop real-world innovation solutions to challenges faced by the industry.

Barry McGookin, FIAL’s general manager of Innovation, said, “FIAL’s Project Fund
provides strategic connections between researchers and business, so they can work
together to overcome real challenges. Gekko Systems can bring breakthrough results with
their engineering expertise, and it’s exciting to work with them and other innovative
Australian food and agribusinesses to help them adopt this fantastic new technology.”

FIAL launches Food and Hotel China 2019 competition

Shanghai, China: Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) is offering one lucky winner the chance to showcase their products at Food and Hotel China in Shanghai in November this year.

Food and Hotel China is the largest specialist trade show for imported food and wines in China. The expo attracts local and international visitors, including retailers, hotels, restaurants, importers and more. The last exhibition attracted 3,000 exhibitors from 48 countries and regions. This year, FIAL is offering one lucky winner a sampling pod at the trade show at its Taste of Australia stand. The prize is valued at more than $3,000 and includes product display shelves, 2x exhibitor passes, freight forwarding, and more.

China is home to a growing middle class with an appetite for foreign foods. The country is
Australia’s largest export market and represents a huge market opportunity. Competition entrants will need to tell FIAL why their product is right for the Chinese market in 30 words or less. The competition is free to enter and will run from 17 July to 15 August. Follow this link to enter the competition and find out more.

FIAL attends world’s largest food and trade exhibition

Food Innovation Australia Limited is creating connections for Aussie brands at Gulfood 2019 – the world’s largest food and beverage tradeshow.

On 17 February 2019, Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) is at Guldfood showcasing 15 unique Australian food brands on an united Australian stand. This provides a platform for Australian companies to network with buyers and suppliers from across the world.

Held annually, Gulfood is the largest international food and beverage tradeshow in the world. The show is projected to welcome over 98,000 attendees from 193 countries. Our Australian businesses will be showcasing their products, along with 5,000 other exhibitors across eight primary market sectors.

Australian food suppliers are increasingly looking to export their products as more consumers seek out Australian brands which are trusted and deliver high-quality products.

In addition, the great demand for Australian food is being bolstered by the industry’s strengths in accessing agricultural inputs, manufacturing capability and novel technologies.

Manufacturers are able to leverage Australia’s diverse cultural heritage to create a range of differentiated functional and nutritional food products.

“With the growing consuming classes around the world, Australia is well positioned to benefit from the thriving export opportunities globally. There is a strong demand for Australia’s premium food that has the reputation for being differentiated and of high quality. Gulfood is a great opportunity for Australian food and agribusinesses who are looking to dip their toe into the waters of export to grow their business,” said FIAL’s managing director, Mirjana Prica.

CSIRO maps out Australia’s food future

New technologies could see us eating algae-based sources of protein, developing allergenic-free nuts and tolerable varieties of lactose and gluten, and reducing environmental impact through edible packaging.

Speaking at the launch during the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology’s (AIFST) 50th Anniversary Convention in Sydney, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy , highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving new economic growth in the industry.

Keeping a greater share of food processing onshore and better differentiating Australian food products are major themes across the Roadmap, which calls on businesses to act quickly or risk losing future revenue streams to the competitive global market.

Developed with widespread industry consultation and analysis, the Roadmap seeks to assist Australian food and agribusinesses with the desire to pursue growth and new markets.

Deputy Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Dr Martin Cole said Australia was well positioned to act as a delicatessen of high-quality products that meet the needs of millions of informed and discerning customers both here and abroad.

“Australian businesses are among the most innovative in the world, and together with our world-class scientists, can deliver growth in the food and agribusiness sector amid unprecedented global change,” Dr Cole said.

“Less predictable growing conditions, increasingly global value chains and customers who demand healthier, more convenient and traceable foods are driving businesses to new ways of operating.

“Advances are already being made through the use of blockchain technology and the development of labels that change colour with temperature or time, or are programmed to release preservatives.

The Roadmap was developed in collaboration with the government-funded food and agribusiness growth centre: Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL).

Recently, FIAL launched their Sector Competitiveness Plan, which outlines the over-arching industry vision to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace and the necessary strategy to achieve the vision.

“With the growing Asian middle class, Australia is in the box seat to take advantage of the many emerging export opportunities,” FIAL Chairman Peter Schutz said.

“Consumers are looking for differentiated products that cater to their needs.

“This is especially exciting for Australian food and agribusinesses which have the capability to respond with customised and niche products.”

Currently, Australia exports over $40 billion worth of food and beverages each year with 63 per cent headed for Asia.

Dr Cole explained that Australia is a trusted supplier of sustainable, authentic, healthy, high quality and consistent products.

“We must focus on these strengths and enhance the level of value-adding to our products,” DrCole said.

“Recent Austrade analysis shows early signs of such a shift, as for the first time in Australia’s history value-added foods have accounted for the majority (60 per cent) of food export growth.”

The Roadmap outlines value-adding opportunities for Australian products in key growth areas, including health and wellbeing, premium convenience foods and sustainability-driven products that reduce waste or use less resources.

Five key enablers for these opportunities are explored in the Roadmap: traceability and provenance, food safety and biosecurity, market intelligence and access, collaboration and knowledge sharing, and skills.

These enablers align with FIAL’s knowledge priority areas that are central in helping the food and agribusiness industry achieve its vision and deliver increased productivity, sustainable economic growth, job creation, and investment attraction for the sector.

The Roadmap calls for improved collaboration and knowledge sharing to generate scale, efficiency and agility across rapidly changing value chains and markets.

“To survive and grow, the challenge facing Australia’s 177,000 businesses in the food and agribusiness sector is to identify new products, services and business models that arise from the emerging needs of tomorrow’s global customers,” Dr Cole said.