News & Analysis

South Australian government launches Food Innovation Centre to boost state’s food and beverage businesses

- January 29, 2016 2 MIN READ

The South Australian government has this week launched a Food Innovation Centre, established to ensure the state’s food and beverage businesses remain at the forefront of local, national and international markets. The Centre will help generate ideas for the booming food sector and will enable businesses to develop and deliver high value, market leading products.

The Centre, launched by the Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell, is a State Government economic priority commitment, born from a collaboration between State Government, industry, universities and research organisations.

Bignell said the world was rapidly changing and today’s food and beverage industry would be very different to tomorrow’s and new ways must be adopted to remain competitive.

“The Centre will maximise opportunities for our food and beverage businesses by supporting innovation and encouraging commercialisation of new ideas and products,” he said.

“It will help create local jobs, grow South Australia’s exports, and lead Australia in the development of robust and enduring export markets for our premium food and wine products.”

In 2014 to 2015 the South Australian food and wine industry generated $18.2 billion, with $8 billion of that revenue coming from added finished food and wine products. This accounted for 46 percent of the state’s merchandise exports and employed around one in five working South Australian’s.

The centre will be established in stages, with the first stage set at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus. The campus will provide a virtual single enquiry point to access through existing innovation capabilities, technical services and government support programs provided by the foundation partners.

These partners include: Food South Australia, South Australian Research Development Institute, The University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, The Australian Wine Research Institute and Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL).

Bignell said, “It’s a real coup for South Australia to have FIAL on board and it brings state and national food programs together like never before. It will also assist South Australian businesses to have greater access to federal programs.”

President of the Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society Richard Fewster added, “It is pleasing that we have such a strong coalition of partners that have committed to work collaboratively and strategically to develop the Centre now and into the future.”

The Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia has had major input and development of the centre. Both parties have been responsible for bringing the partners together as well as supporting the contribution from Primary Producers SA and the Economic Development Board.

“During the next few months, the foundation partners will help industry adopt new technology and explore how the centre could connect with the Northern Adelaide Food Park,” said Bignell.

Future stages of development include: ensuring innovation and technical support services align to identified priority needs and improving support services to assist food and beverages to become innovative value-adders, adopters of new technology and producers of high value products.

The Food Innovation Centre is the latest initiative focusing on innovation in South Australia. 2015 saw Microsoft launch an Innovation Centre in Adelaide to drive the next generation of startups and accelerate the growth of existing SMEs in the region, while the state government also launched a strategic partnership with the University of South Australia and Hewlett Packard Enterprise to establish an Innovation and Collaboration Centre at the university.

Premier Jay Weatherill said, “Innovation is key to transforming the state’s economy and our vision is to position South Australia globally as a startup destination.”

Image: Leon Bignell. Source: The Advertiser