September 2016 News

Business Disruption

The examples of companies challenging the status quo, or being challenged by change, keep coming, including:

  • The Australian Financial Review, on p14 in its BOSS magazine of15 July, cited Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder as saying that they see Amazon as being a bigger threat that Aldi or Lidl.   Amazon Fresh has 54 million subscribers at $99 pa.  Yes, Amazon selling fresh food!
  • Caltex sees the market for petrol and diesel contracting 20% by 2030 and is working out how to respond to this. Caltex is also an Australian company, Chevron having sold it share.   See the article on p26, Weekend Australian 16-17 July.
  • Alan Kohler suggests that Reposit Power, new software to optimise the new battery and solar combinations, will transform the power system.  See the article on p37 Weekend Australian of 28-29 May.
  • Real Estate agents are being threatened by at least two on-line retailers, buyMyplace,, and Purplebricks,
  • Car dealers such as AP Eagers, with assets of $2B and profits of $100M, have been threatened by, with assets of only $404M but profit of 95M. However, Eagers are fighting back with Carzoos,, an on-line way to sell Eagers trade-ins on new cars, via staff in shopping malls with an iPad. See the article on p 33, Weekend Australian 23-24 July.
  • The Japanese population is declining by about 250 000 a year, so presumably the Japanese market will decline in absolute terms as numbers and as purchasing power declines.   It seems people are not having babies and they have no immigration, see the article on p14 of the Australian Financial Review of 15 July.
  • The CSIRO Strategic Foresight Team have done an interesting projection on  five key megatrends that will significantly impact the future of Australian agriculture in the next 15 to 20 years, see The diagram showing how these trends link is well worth a look.   

Innovation Optimisers and FoodStream can assist with your company’s strategic planning, contact   

Government Programs.

It is not feasible for a Newsletter such as this to keep clients up to date with the ever-changing aspects of these comprehensive programs and with deadlines for applications.   It is strongly recommended that clients sign up for electronic newsletters to keep up to date. Significant funding is available. For information see:

An application is more likely to be successful if it has a good business case and a well organised technology approach. Innovation Optimisers and FoodStream can assist with both these issues, contact   


Fierce debate rages in Queensland over vegetation management legislation. The Labor Government is saying the existing laws are too lax, the farmers are saying they are just right. It is pity that such legislation is not based on international standards, such as the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, see Using such international standards will give us a competitive edge. Also, the Roundtable is supported by McDonalds and the big abattoir company JBS.

Queensland farmers have done well with energy efficiency programs run by the Queensland Farmers federation see   

Changes to national energy markets and the national grid may come from power problems in Tasmania and South Australia, see an articles on pages 21 and 25 in The Weekend Australian of 23-24 July. South Australia has a lot of wind power and had big power shortfalls as the wind dropped, there was a big cold snap, gas prices went through the roof and the interconnector between SA and Victoria had problems. Josh Frydenberg evidently asked to be both Minister for the Environment and Minister for Energy so presumably he has some plans for the future. The article certainly urged him to develop a better national energy policy and address issues re the national grid. Frydenberg certainly has spoken about the need to have systems that lead to reducing emissions.   

Queensland Country Life on 6 June commented on a new report on GM crops from the UK group PG Economics, see The report shows that in 2015, 180M ha of GM crops were grown, with no illustrated side effects. In Australia, savings with GM cotton and canola since 1996 were worth $1.37B, due to using 22 million fewer kg of pesticide, linked with 27 million fewer litres of diesel due to less spraying. The article suggested that State moratoria on GM cops needed to rethought.   

Capital Raising

As with anything to do with money and investment, obtaining good financial and legal advice is paramount. The following is provided as general information only, not as specific advice.   

The speaker on crowdfunding at the AIFST Conference this year was Elliott Chapple, from the company Pozible, see This group focuses on startups and have invested $43M, with a 60% success rate.  

The Weekend Australian of 28-29 May on p33 spoke of the crowdfunder leading a crowdfunding bid to buy the Kidman cattle empire, which owns a series of properties which are in total the size of Bulgaria. The article said they had raised $70M. There has been no follow up news on this proposal. Interesting though.   

The session on Current Challenges and Opportunities at the AIFST Conference made a number of interesting points;

  • That Australian companies don’t collaborate well was raised by several speakers.
  • Of our 30 000 agribusiness companies, only 3 000 are businesses of tomorrow.  
  • We think we are better than we are.
  • As we are a high cost nation, so we need to look at high value products.
  • We need more cooperatives with take-off agreements, not just bigger farms.
  • Business models are a good source of innovation.
  • South America is really targeting China and in many areas is cheaper than us.  
  • The speaker Dr Michelle Allan, who is on the Board of the Australian Government’s Innovation and Science Australia,, which was set up to offer strategic advice on science, research and innovation, said that Turnbull is really driving innovation, so watch this space!

Innovation Optimisers and FoodStream can help with your strategic planning, project design and implementation and grant applications.    For more information contact


If for over twenty years, you’ve managed restaurants, night-clubs and bars, you get to notice your clientele’s drinking preferences: what changes; what stays the same. Matt Fraser experimented with the flavouring of vodka. He created a new taste sensation using candy. It consistently sold more than anything he had on the back bar shelves. And so The Candy Liqueur Company ( was established.

Matt joined forces in 2014 with long-time colleague and friend Darren McCosker.  But producing this taste sensation required a method that was not practical for large scale production. So they approached the food technology facility of the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries at Coopers Plains, who contracted FoodStream to assist with the product development using the Coopers Plains pilot plant.  Associate Julie Crowe completed the product development with an outstanding result – the product has just received a Silver Medal at the 2016 London International Wine & Spirit Competition, Gold Medal at the China Wine and Spirit Awards (CWSA), and a Bronze Medal in their Best Value section!

The final product combines the delicate taste of candy with the true alcoholic kick of the world’s favourite spirit – vodka.

Scale-up to commercial production and on-going support is being provided by FoodStream Associate Gordon Young.  With production contracted to Hunter Distillery in New South Wales, a large number of different organisations have been involved in this project – but cooperation pays off!

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Extrusion Training Continues to attract Attention Internationally

In the past few months, a number of successful extrusion courses have been offered. Our second specialised course on “Aquafeed Extrusion” was held in Norway in May, this year adding a drying course to the program. Participants came from as far as the USA and Africa, as well as a range of European countries.  We also provided on-site training at one of the largest aquafeed factories in the world. Dates have been set for courses in June 2017 – with plans to additionally offer a “Petfood Extrusion” program.

In July our annual “Applied Food & Feed Extrusion” program was presented in Thailand, with good attendance and excellent feedback from participants.  Similar dates have been set for this course in 2017.  

And our annual Australian extrusion course at CSIRO in Werribee has just been held (August), again with high participation from a range of companies with interests in extrusion of petfood, confectionery, aquafeeds, breakfast cereals, and snacks.

More Drying courses with CSIRO – in both Brisbane and Werribee

Following the successful “Food Drying Technology” course at Werribee in March this year. Cooperation with CSIRO is continuing, with the course being offered at the Coopers Plains Food Innovation facility in Brisbane on 17 & 18 November, and again in Werribee Victoria in March 2017. The next Werribee course has been modified to provide an optional parallel session focusing on Spray Drying.

Retort Supervisors Courses – a course at Arundel (near the Gold Coast in Queensland) is being starting 28 in November.  A course may be run at GoTAFE in Shepparton Victoria early in 2017 subject to sufficient interest. In addition Chris Bourne is presenting retort training for participants from the Pacific region, from 13 to 17 October in the Marshall Islands.

Links to coming courses:

These courses are organised through Food Industry Engineering (FiE) – Direct links to coming programs:

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