The unprecedented rate of change in Australia’s business landscape dictates that to be sustainable into the immediate future we must adopt technologies and embrace innovations which strengthen our competitive edge in the expanding markets of Southeast Asian nations.

With the potential we have in our food production industries, Australian businesses all need to take advantage of data- and science-driven advances in Product and Pack technologies, e-commerce and consumer insights.

The University of Melbourne is known for the collision of ideas and the Industry Transformation Research Program Hub (ITRP) is the supercollider, with six departments and two universities collaborating to open new opportunities for small, medium and large food and packaging businesses.

The University of Melbourne’s new sensory lab records biometric data in tasting panels including changes in temperature, heart rate and facial micro-expressions, allowing its researchers to give its stakeholders unprecedented insights into consumer reactions to food and packaging.

The ITRP creates the underlying knowledge for premium food products export to Asia by applying leading-edge R&D with novel interdisciplinary research, market insights and manufacturing innovation to unlock and grow opportunities. The research outcomes are shared with SME’s and the wider sector to enable industry transformation

Now entering its fourth year, this research hub has delivered successes in advanced molecular emulsion, sensory product evaluation and anti-counterfeiting technologies to allow companies to develop innovative products, match them to overseas consumer tastes and protect their reputation against imitation and forgery in new markets.

The hub now innovates across eight technology platforms, which not only offer opportunities to delight and improve products but also provide manufacturers with tools to protect their business from counterfeiting and supply chain complexities:

  • Consumer Insights focuses on exporting to ASEAN markets.
  • Sensory Evaluation from our recently opened state of the art facility in Parkville utilises the world first technology to measure human Biometrics to clarify the ASEAN consumer responses.
  • Packaging technology developments in novel smart inks detect temperature or pressure changes on pack.
  • Emulsion and Encapsulation technologies delivering flavour, health and productivity initiatives
  • Supply Chain modelling for greater efficiency and export effectiveness.
  • Market Analytics provide data to support intellectual property and future investment in knowledge,
  • e-commerce looks at how to de-risk risks into the fastest growing commercial market, along with an understanding of how to build e-trust,
  • anti-counterfeiting innovations providing security and/or brand building in export of products

Further information on these activities can be found at: foodvaluechain.unimelb.edu.au/research

Opportunities are now available to tailor and direct research for future developments with our PhD students around these technology areas for utilisation by your business and benefit in exporting to Asia. A range of funding structures from single linkage studies to partnered, collaborative, cross-organisation programs can be arranged.

Please contact:

COLETTE DAY; Extension Consultant, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Level 3, 780 Elizabeth Street, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria,3010.  [email protected]

HOLLIS ASHMAN; Enterprise Director, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Level 3, 780 Elizabeth Street, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria,3010.   [email protected]

This article was kindly provided by Colette Day, ITRP hub University of Melbourne