Applications for project funding are now open for Australian food and beverage manufacturers, as part of federal government’s $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

Food and beverage is the fourth of six National Manufacturing Priorities to be supported under the MMI to help manufacturers to scale-up production, commercialise their products and operations, and integrate into domestic and global supply chains. 

To guide government investment, an industry-led roadmap has been released, which sets out a 10-year vision for the food and beverage manufacturing sector.

Opportunities identified include smart processing and packaging methods, origin and traceability systems, along with the adoption of solutions to increase differentiation of food and beverage products, in domestic and overseas markets.

Innes Willox, chief executive of Ai Group, welcomes the release of the roadmap, saying it will help secure Australia’s food security – from farm to factory to table.

“Australia has significant comparative advantages in food and beverage manufacturing and its supply chains, for example, in specialist food processing equipment and packaging,” explains Willox.

“This strategy will ensure that companies can position themselves more effectively for the next decade.

“Care must be taken to ensure that any regulatory intervention in the strategy is designed to underpin growth and support Australian-based business, and that resources are allocated to encourage local manufacturing.” 

According to the Ai Group’s latest index, the sector has grown significantly over the past decade, last year it was worth $27.2 billion to the Australian economy, while employing 229,000 people.

Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, said this funding would unlock investment to further grow the biggest manufacturing sector in Australia.

“The world already can’t get enough of Aussie-made food and beverages, but there are opportunities to further build on our international reputation for producing premium, safe and high-quality products,” says Andrews. 

“Investing in our food and beverage manufacturers will ensure they remain on the front foot and maximise every opportunity to tap into global markets and create jobs here at home.”

Initial applications will be limited to the Translation and Integration streams of the MMI, with expressions of interest for the larger Collaboration stream to open in coming months. 

The roadmaps for the two remaining areas – Recycling and Clean Energy, and Defence – will be released soon to coincide with the opening of their respective MMI funding rounds.

Applicatons and more information can be found here.

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