The Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology’s annual innovation masterclass will be held at the William Angliss Institute of TAFE in Melbourne on October 20.
The masterclass will explore how food businesses can create a culture of innovation in their businesses and identify collaborations that will help them achieve the innovation required to survive in the highly competitive food industry.
Food Innovation Partners founder and principal innovation advisor to commercial businesses and government sectors for the past three decades, Russel Rankin, will host the event. He says innovation in the food sector has virtually ground to a halt.
“We have seen a steady decline in innovation and new product development in the past few years, largely due to the combination of manufacturing cost pressures and a highly competitive environment,” he said.
“Slim margins exacerbated by the cost of materials, labour and logistics are making it extremely difficult for companies to invest in innovation. It is crucial that businesses make investment in innovation a priority to ensure the Australian food industry continues to thrive and survive in the competitive global industry.”
Mr Rankin said Australian businesses are well supported by a comprehensive network of innovation providers, including CSIRO, universities, government agencies and financial providers. This has been boosted further by the recent establishment of the federal Government’s new Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre.
“However, this latest initiative, along with others, will not be enough to reverse, or even slow, Australia’s declining food innovation scorecard,” Mr Rankin said. “We need to connect all the current resources together in a cohesive way to deliver innovation at a business level.
“All players should be acting as facilitators, working together to develop and commercialise innovation that is driven by deep market and consumer insights. It is important to remember that innovation is only a success when a product is purchased by a consumer.”
Mr Rankin said innovations were likely to come in the form of packaging technologies that maximised shelf life and quality, new processing technologies such as HPP, as well as new business models that allowed value to be captured from different supply chain designs.