Brits give Aussies fresh outlook on food

Posted by Josette Dunn on 19th March 2010

Some of Australia’s leading food manufacturing companies are travelling to the UK next week, looking to produce fresher, healthier food using cutting-edge British technologies.The mission, led by Richard Harper, Trade Development Manager at UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Sydney, will take in the 2010 Food & Drink Exhibition in Birmingham from 21-24 March, as well as the East Midlands and South West regions of England.

The Aussies will attend group briefings and one-to-one meetings across the UK with a variety of companies and organisations. The companies will learn how to better manufacture, process, transport, store, package and sell fresher, healthier produce in Australia for the Australian consumer.

One of the participating companies is Simplot, a multinational with a focus on agri-business and annual sales of more than AU$3 billion (nearly £2billion). Simplot Australia is best known for food brands such as Edgell, Chiko, Birds Eye, John West and Leggo’s.

Also in the group is George Weston Foods – one of Australia’s largest food manufacturers. George Weston employs around 8,300 people in close to 60 sites, and is best known for Tip Top, Sunblest, Burgen, Noble Rise and Don Smallgoods.

As a nation Australia has some of the most diverse, nutritious and attractive food supplies in the world. However, the technology for processing, preserving, transporting, transforming and value-adding to this supply is less well developed in some areas.

The food industry is a global business and food science and technology is an international discipline. The UK has much to offer across the whole spectrum.

The Australian companies will look to UK technology for ways to enhance food safety, shelf-life extension, refrigeration technology, bakery and gluten-free product development, minimal food-processing techniques and health-food supplements. Meanwhile, throughout the supply chain is the ever-growing challenge of reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.

Richard Harper said: “Food processing is one of the largest industries in Australia. In 2009, the estimated worth of food and drink exports (excluding alcohol) from the UK to Australia was AU$99 million (£60 million) – an increase of 2% from 2008. Here at UKTI, we see plenty of opportunities for our two countries to work together, now and in the future. This mission will encourage trade and knowledge transfer, and I look forward to seeing many more like it.”