Australia’s Food Future is Bountiful – AFGC Industry Leaders Forum 2015

“This year’s event is abuzz with possibility and positive talk of the future.” said Steve Christie, Process Engineer Director at Wiley, addressing Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) Industry Leaders Forum delegates gathered at the pre-dinner and annual Foodbank Awards drinks in Canberra last week.

Steve speaking

Steve Christie – Wiley Process Engineer Director

“There is an upbeat feeling in the discussions and presentations today, of an industry on the move, away from ‘business-as-usual’ projects into more growth projects with a focus on improved processes and new products.”

“Wiley works with a broad range of people and companies in the food manufacturing industry. In this respect, I guess we are somewhat of an industry indicator and based on what has been presented and discussed here today, it is good to confirm that the industry is starting to embrace the next push toward a smarter, more connected future.”

Steve identified three key megatrends (listed below) that will impact food manufacturing in the near future and shared his insights that Australia’s true point of difference, in a world where many countries will have the ability to adopt these new technologies, is our educated workforce and skilled designers who can best leverage these opportunities in the shortest time frame and for the most productive gains.

“Australia is in a truly unique position, geographically, educationally, commercially, and most importantly politically, to capitalise on these new technology developments and bring about real change that will catapult us into the future we need to sustainably feed the world.” said Steve.

Steve’s message of opportunity, innovation and growth were supported by a number of the speakers throughout the day some key points were captured in the following tweets:

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Another significant government announcement that signals potential opportunity for food manufacturers going forward was the Hon Dr Peter Hendy MP, Assistant Minister for Productivity, sharing the release, before Christmas, of the Government’s Innovation Statement.

Wiley will keep you posted on what this exciting development means for the food industry.

This event also marks the release of the latest AFGC State of the Industry report which gives a comprehensive snapshot of the food, beverage and grocery sector using the most up to date data from the ABS and other sources.

The report shows a 28% surge in Australia’s food and beverage exports in 2014-15 underpinning growth in the food and grocery sector despite challenging economic conditions. The meat and meat manufacturing saw both the largest turnover amount and experiences the greatest real growth in this period.

Other key facts include:

  • Industry turnover $118.8 bn, up 0.9% in real terms; 2013-14 data
  • Direct employment 322,900, up 3,183 or 1%; 2014-15 data
  • Industry made up of 26,551 businesses; 2014-15 data
  • Capital Investment of $3 bn, down 9%; 2013-14 data
  • Total international trade $61.7 bn (up 12%); 2014-15 data
  • Labour productivity growth of 2.4%; 2013-14 data

AFGC CEO Mr Gary Dawson said the State of the Industry 2015, compiled by EY, highlights strong export growth and a lift in overall industry turnover and employment in Australia’s largest manufacturing sector.

“Food and grocery processing makes up almost one-third of Australia’s manufacturing sector and it is encouraging to see growth in both industry turnover and jobs,” said Mr Dawson.

A more comprehensive look, by Wiley, at what the report reveals for food manufacturers is coming soon.