A new Food Processing Industry Strategy Group with members including Fonterra, Kraft Foods and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has been developed to help ensure Australia’s food sector is productive, sustainable and ready for the massive growth in global food demand.
Announcing the group’s membership, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said that Australia could make a critical contribution to the global food security challenge.
“In the last financial year alone, we exported more than $16 billion of processed food products. With the human population expected to hit nine billion by 2050, the world will have to produce and process more food more efficiently in the next 50 years than it ever has before, if it is to have a chance of feeding itself. We must step up to help meet that need,” he said.
He also noted the food sector is vital to all Australians.
“Food processing is one of our largest manufacturing sectors. Our food processors employ over 200,000 Australians and sustain communities across the nation,” Senator Carr said.
“Climate change and shifts in the global economy have brought new challenges for the sector, and the only way to meet them is to change the way we do business. There are tremendous opportunities for our food processors if we capitalise on our competitive edge in science, research, and advanced processing technologies.”
The new strategy group will focus on ensuring that the Australian food processing and manufacturing industry continues to attract investment and build new capabilities. It will unite the expertise of senior representatives from industry, academia, and trade unions.
Some of the industry members include delegates from Kraft Foods, Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union, National Union of Workers, Fonterra, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, and University of Queensland.
The group will meet first on 14 February 2011 with a further five meetings planned over the next 18 months.