A new centre dedicated to food research has been opened at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s (RMIT) Bundoora campus.
The Food Research and Innovation Centre was launched by the Minister for Industry and Employment, Wade Noonan, and will seek to boost Victoria’s contribution to the expanding food processing industry.
Food processing employs 69,000 people in Victoria and 220,000 nationwide, attracting $55 billion in exports annually.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean told the launch that in northern Melbourne alone about 400 food and beverage businesses with a turnover of more than $1 million generated between them $2.6 billion a year.
“Most of these are small and medium enterprises that have the potential to double their business within a decade if they can overcome barriers to innovation, attract and retain a skilled workforce and create and implement more productive processes,” he said.
RMIT scientists are already working with Sanitarium, with future partnerships to include Coca Cola, Simplot and Murray Goulburn.
“About 100 students graduate from our food science and technology program each year, with those numbers expected to grow to more than 150 by next year,” Mr Bean said. “Now we’ve established this Food Research and Innovation Centre to bring together education, research and industry, and to provide the necessary workforce for the food industry.”