Food Industry Innovation

Page last updated: Tuesday, 21 May 2019 - 11:22am

The Western Australian Government, through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, is focusing resources on supporting the growth of premium and value-add food and beverage businesses through the Food Industry Innovation project.

The project aims to develop the full potential of WA food and beverage businesses that are:

• producing premium products

• adding value to raw produce

• staging their product for domestic and international markets

• creating jobs

• boosting the state's economy.

Food and beverage value-add: a national growth industry

Value-adding by transforming agricultural produce into consumer packaged food is a key industry for Australia - one with tremendous growth potential.

Food and beverage value-add is a major contributor to the Australian economy, providing about 250 000 jobs and generating $26 billion in export value. The industry has increased by 30% nationally in the past seven years.

It is crucial food and beverage sector opportunities are captured to generate new drivers of jobs and growth for food producers, regional communities and the broader economy.

How is Western Australia performing in the value-add sector?

Western Australia has traditionally produced and exported bulk quantities of raw produce.

These ingredients are sent to other countries where they are transformed into products consumers eat and drink.

While WA is in a strong position to capitalise on the growing global demand for food, we risk falling behind in the share of premium, value-added, consumer-ready products we export compared with other states and wealthy developed countries.

In 2015-16, Victoria and Queensland generated more than $7 billion each per annum in export value, compared with just over $1.5 billion in Western Australia (Australian Food & Grocery Council and Ernst & Young Australia, 2016).

There is an emerging value-added food and beverage sector driving innovation in WA, but it is small, diverse and will benefit from targeted development.

Due to the state's sheer land size and geographic and climatic diversity, premium food and beverage businesses often operate in isolation.

They can face a huge task competing against established international brands and identifying new markets due to constraints such as limited business collaboration opportunities, a lack of market analysis resources, and insufficient regional infrastructure.

The Food Industry Innovation project has been developed to bring premium and value-add food and beverage producers together and help them overcome barriers to growth.

Western Australia's competitive strengths

Western Australia's premium food and beverage industry can take advantage of growing global demand by building on a range of competitive strengths:

  • Environment: The state's pristine, diverse environment and range of climatic conditions put us in a unique position to provide year-round, high-quality food and beverage products for domestic consumption and export.
  • Quality and safety: An isolated production base from the rest of the world means our world-class biosecurity practices protect us from exotic pests and diseases. We have a reputation as a reliable producer of world-class, premium, clean and safe food and beverages.
  • Time zone: About 60% of the world's population lives within WA's time zone, making us ideally placed to capitalise on market opportunities. An increasingly wealthy Asia, coupled with rapid worldwide population growth, is creating the demand and buying power needed to focus on growing our capacity and better meeting market demand.
  • Innovation: We have access to the latest innovations through vibrant national and international science and innovation partnerships, as well as modern infrastructure and sophisticated supply chains.
  • Culinary tourism: WA is a gourmet traveller destination because of our exceptional produce, natural beauty and culture - providing an idyllic setting for an all-encompassing, extraordinary tourism experience. Taste 2020 is a joint strategy developed by the department in conjunction with Tourism WA. Its purpose is to strengthen WA's position as an internationally recognised destination where you can savour gourmet produce, fresh seafood, premium wines and boutique beverages. The Margaret River Gourmet Escape event showcases WA as a world-class culinary destination, and demonstrates the success of a coordinated approach.

How is the Food Industry Innovation project helping WA premium food and beverage businesses?

The Food Industry Innovation project helps Western Australia’s premium food and beverage businesses achieve their growth plans by offering a range of tools and support services to address their needs, gaps and barriers to domestic and international export.

Food Industry Innovation priorities:

  • Identify and prioritise premium food and beverage trends and high-value, high-growth markets for WA
  • Identify WA premium food and beverage businesses that are suitable to increase production and/or expand domestically and internationally
  • Provide targeted assistance to WA premium food and beverage businesses that are actively pursuing growth strategies
  • Provide assistance to other WA premium food and beverage businesses through knowledge-sharing, skills development and collaboration opportunities
  • Celebrate WA's premium food and beverage business success stories and raise the profile of the industry globally and domestically.

Tools and support services available:

Some of the targeted resources offered by the Food Industry Innovation project include:

  • market intelligence
  • tailored business growth training and workshops
  • access to relevant subject experts based on identified business needs
  • links to in-market officers
  • industry networking events
  • collaboration and knowledge-sharing opportunities

Expression of Interest form:

Registered Western Australian premium and value-add food and beverage businesses are encouraged to participate in Food Industry Innovation programs. To register your interest, click on the Expression of Interest form and complete the online questionnaire to let us know how the project can best support you in your business growth journey.

Where is our team located?

The Food Industry Innovation team works out of four locations across metropolitan and regional WA to provide premium food and beverage producers with access to state-wide information, resources and services to help address their business needs and gaps.

Food Industry Innovation staff are located at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development offices in South Perth, Bunbury, Manjimup and Albany. Refer to the 'Contact information' below for more details.

Premium Agrifood Market Opportunity report

The Premium Agrifood Market Opportunity report was commissioned by the Food Industry Innovation project and completed by Coriolis Research in December 2016.

About 250 Western Australian premium food and beverage stakeholders attended a series of events throughout the state in July 2017, to hear about key findings of the market trend research.

The report was launched by Minister for Agriculture and Food, The Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, at Whipper Snapper Distillery in East Perth.

It identifies a shortlist of 20 key food and beverage product opportunities targeting high-value, high-growth markets for WA’s premium food industry - narrowed down from more than 500.

The report also highlights export market value up to $4 billion across the 20 priority opportunities and analyses the capacity for WA businesses to capture this potential value.

The premium products are wide-ranging from organic beef and specialty breads to baby food, healthy snacking and cider.

These products represent real opportunities for WA producers to grow and add value to their businesses.

The report is influencing Food Industry Innovation priorities, ensuring the project focuses on market demand and delivers tangible commercial outcomes.

Click on the Premium Agrifood Market Opportunity report link to download your free online copy.

Subscribe to our eNewsletter 

For more information about how the Food Industry Innovation project and Premium Agrifood Market Opportunity report are helping drive growth within WA’s premium food and beverage industry, subscribe to the Food Industry Innovation eNewsletter

Each edition features industry news relevant to you, including:

  • educational and collaborative opportunities
  • updates on latest market trends and opportunities
  • tips for growing your business and expanding into domestic and international markets
  • shared business stories and learnings
  • Food Industry Innovation activities, resources and partnerships.

Food Industry Innovation brochure

Download a copy of the Food Industry Innovation brochure under 'Documents' in the right-hand menu, for an overview of the WA premium food and beverage industry and the role of the project.


"Craft distilling, although still in its infancy in WA, offers plenty of opportunity. With help from the government through projects like Food Industry Innovation, we could really see micro-distilleries like us expand to the point of being able to sustain a healthy export market. Value-adding opportunities for the agriculture sector in terms of whiskey production are out there. As a craft producer we thrive in a collaborative environment. Industry collaboration is essential to share our business learnings and experiences." - Whipper Snapper chief distiller, James McKeown

"We are always prepared to collaborate across other industries and within our own. We collaborate with people to see if we can come up with industry solutions that are sustainable and beneficial. Collaboration creates critical mass and critical mass is what you need to be successful in export markets." - 2017 Telstra Australian Corporate and Private Award winner: National Telstra Business Women's Awards, Jennie Franceschi

Past events and seminar resources

The following is a list of capability development events and seminars delivered by the Food Industry Innovation project across Western Australia. Where possible and with permission we have provided the resources produced by the service provider.

Please contact the Food Industry Innovation team if you require these resources in an alternative format.

Accelerate your dairy business growth

In partnership with Dairy Australia.

     7 August 2018 – Albany



Country of origin labelling workshop

     13 April 2018 – South Perth



Developing a winning Asian distribution strategy

In partnership with DPIRD's Asian Market Sucess project

     30 November 2018 - South Perth & regional video cast



E-commerce Masterclass (China and South East Asia)

In partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia.

     28 August 2018 – South Perth & regional video cast

     29 August 2018 – South Perth



Embrace the supply chain revolution (Automated warehousing) - GS1 Australia

In partnership with AusIndustry and FIAL

     9 August 2019 - Perth

     10 August 2019 - Margaret River


Global food industry trends – what do they mean for your business? – Professor David Hughes

     16 October 2018 – Busselton

     18 October 2018 – Wanneroo



Market Diversification - Shopability

In partnership with AusIndustry and FIAL

     26 March 2019 - Perth

     27 March 2019 - Busselton


Marketing food and beverages in a changing world – John Stanley

     14 August 2018 - Denmark

     21 November 2018 – Katanning

     7 February 2019 - Denmark (Masterclass)

     19 February 2019 - Geraldton

     28 February 2019 - Gingin



Premium Food and Beverage Forum Albany

     28 July 2018 - Albany

Resources (YouTube links):


Proteins for food and health: sustainable alternatives for future food - CSIRO

In partnership with CSIRO and FIAL

     3 April 2019 - Perth

Contact information

Food Industry Innovation
+61 (0)8 9892 8560