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Food and Beverage / Agribusiness

Assisting Australian Primary Producers

Food & Beverage

Key food and beverage categories include meat, grains, dairy, horticulture, seafood, confectionery and beverages including wine. The industry supplies a diverse range of products to all distribution channels: retail, food service and food ingredients. Flexibility within the industry means product supply quickly matches consumer trends such as healthy and wellbeing, as well as convenience and value for money.

Food and beverage is a major industry sector for the Australian economy, in terms of both its financial contribution and employment. Food and beverage processing is Australia’s largest manufacturing industry, and is included in Australia’s six national manufacturing priorities. Industry players are diverse in size – from multinationals producing large volume fast-moving consumer goods through to smaller players with flexibility to meet demand for niche gourmet items.

The industry is highly dynamic driven by demanding consumers seeking diversity, quality and value. The ethnic and cultural diversity of Australia is reflected in the food range available. Many specialty products have European, Asian and Middle Eastern influences. Foods with specific attributes including kosher, halal and organic are catered for by food certification systems and standards. The industry is internationally focused with exports to over 200 markets.

Australia has a reputation for supplying clean and natural products with low chemical residues. Quality and safety is paramount with strict safety standards regulated and enforced along the supply chain. Excellent R&D facilities, both public and private, assist in the innovation process by facilitating development of new and differentiated products, as well as continual improvements to packaging and production processes.

TCF services assists food and beverage companies via our in-house expert Dr. Raja Mohan, who is a highly experienced specialist in process engineering.


Australia’s primary industries have a strong tradition of being innovative and adaptive to new challenges. They have proven to be highly efficient and competitive in international markets. The outlook for the Australian primary industries sector is strong, with the world’s demand for food rising, driven by population growth and calls for higher quality and greater variety of food.

Investment in research and development (R&D) and innovation is vital for ongoing growth and improvement in the productivity, profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of Australian agriculture, fisheries, forestry and food industries.

The Australian Government is providing $157.4 million over eight years to 2021–22 for a competitive grants program – Rural R&D for Profit – to deliver cutting-edge technology and applied research, with an emphasis on making the results accessible to Australian agriculture and other primary producers.

This new funding is in addition to the current government funding of around $250 million per year for rural research and development corporations.

Government investment (both federal and state/territory) in primary industries’ innovation:

  • recognises that the large number of small producers could not gain an economic return from individual investment in R&D and that farm products are largely uniform and non-rival in nature
  • acknowledges the significant intra- and inter-industry spillovers and regional and rural benefits that accrue from publicly supported R&D
  • addresses important national development and sustainability objectives, such as biosecurity and natural resource management.

Rural research and development corporations (RDCs) are the Australian Government’s primary vehicle for funding rural innovation. RDCs are a partnership between the government and industry created to share the funding and strategic direction setting for primary industry R&D, investment in R&D and the subsequent adoption of R&D outputs. The RDCs commission and manage targeted investment in research, innovation, knowledge creation and extension.

Australian Wool Innovation will undergo an independent review of its performance and governance, as part of its normal statutory reporting requirements, with stakeholders being consulted as part of the process.

While RDC investments service the identified needs of industry, they also address national R&D needs through the Rural Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) Priorities.

Through the National Primary Industries RD&E Framework, the Australian Government works with the state and territory governments, the universities and the CSIRO to develop and implement a national approach for rural research, development and extension (RD&E) in Australia. The Research and Innovation Committee of the Agriculture Senior Officials Committee is charged with looking for improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of rural RD&E, to maximise the contribution of RD&E to primary industries, rural and regional Australia and the wider community. The Committee is made up of representatives from the Australian, state and Northern Territory government departments responsible for primary industries, RDCs, CSIRO and universities.