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.