Dairy innovation in Australia to get a boost

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 1st December 2008

Dairy innovation has been a key driver of growth over recent years and it is set to be strengthened with grants to encourage new product development and shape the future commercial success of the Australian industry.

Dairy Innovation Australia (DIA) will offer a minimum $200,000 in funding the program for researchers, with grants given to suitable applicants who apply by the January 9, 2009 cutoff date.

Milk dealDIA told DairyReporter.com that up to AUS$2.5m per year could be provided for suitable projects, which will be judged on a set criteria; including the potential scientific and technological benefits to the industry and the track record of the research team. Priority areas for this round of applications are:

  • Cheese, fermented dairy foods and cultures – future processes and product innovations.
  • Thermal and non-thermal processing of milk.

Ian Powell, Cheese and Cultured Products Manager for DIA, informed DairyReporter.com that, with consumer demand and preference changing, the global and Australian dairy industries needed to continue to adapt. “Standing still is not an option, especially in the face of climate change, persistent regional drought, the rise of new international competitors, shifting consumer desires and changing international trade patterns,” he advised. “We aim to generate new fundamental knowledge and to foster knowledge through the development and innovation chain to industry application.”

The Australian dairy industry has been among the leaders in producing new products to attract consumers. ‘Functional’ yoghurt products have proven popular innovations in recent years, with fortified, organic and reduced fat among other options brought about by extensive research and development. About $150 million is spent on dairy R&D in Australia every year, according to Dairy Australia.

Dairy Innovation Australia is supported by many of the leaders of the dairy industry in Australia, with their members responsible for about 65% of manufactured dairy products in Australia.