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Monash Food Innovation Centre

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MFIC Q3 2017

What’s been happening? We’ve been building..

NEW Multimillion dollar infrastructure to assist Foodpreneurs:

We call it the future ‘Food Incubator’…….

The newly completed, Monash Food Incubator is a $3.1 million dollar investment into a state of the art facility for the food community, complete with a collaboration space, stunning food kitchen ‘incubator’ and a complimentary food lab.

It has been designed with flexibility and versatility in mind to encourage ‘foodies’ and entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life.

The vision for this investment is to:

  • Create a community of food creators. It’s a world class facility to let you imagination run free.
  • Support food entrepreneurs in their diversity and their ideas
  • Co create the future of food! Let’s bounce off each other.

The multipurpose space offers so many more possibilities for collaboration as well. It can be used to host conferences, workshops, demonstrations and, of course, food and idea exploration and incubation.

The ‘Food Incubator’ has been invested in to sure up the future of food. It is for the industry, foodpreneurs, researchers and students all in one. It is sure to promote future job creation, the spread of knowledge and inventions big and small.

Come and check it out! You are sure to be impressed.

2 Floors above the Food Innovation Centre in the Green Futures Building, Monash, Clayton.

Getting your product “China ready” breakfast events set new attendance records!

Throughout May, June and July, the FIC has been conducting breakfast events with key note speakers from China COFCO, Alibaba and KPMG insights. The main theme surrounds adapt your innovations for the Chinese market and taking advantage of the rising middle class.The pathways to China have recently been bolsted with the announcement of an historic agreement between Monash University and COFCO, Nutrition and Health Research Institute (NHRI), one of China’s biggest food companies. The strategic alliance between the FIC and COFCO NHRI, is aimed at boosting Australian exports to China by ensuring the product is right. Access to COFCO NHRI’s innovation and R and D resources, in-depth knowledge of Chinese consumers, regulatory expertise and market delivery platforms to fast track supply opportunities for Australian exporters makes this alliance very attractive for Australian Food and Ag companies looking at accessing the China market.

The first step is to understand how to adapt your product to the Target Consumers in China.

The FIC and COFCO can make this happen. Robust, timely and affordable research is actually conducted in China. This partnership also provides Australian manufacturers access to food safety testing and sensory testing. Next, a go to market strategy is agreed. This can be a mixture of online and bricks and mortar or specialise in one. At our recent breakfast on July 21st, our partner Alibaba talked to the over 100 strong gathering about the benefits of getting your product right, then using the largest on line platform in the world to expose your product to hundreds of millions of potential shoppers! Here’s an excerpt from ProducePlus Asiafruitnet article written about the event…

China’s leading e-tailer puts forward a merchant strategy for Australia and New Zealand

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba aims to have 2bn consumers on its platforms by 2026, and is on a mission to find great products from countries like Australia and New Zealand to drive the growth.

That is according to James Hudson, director of corporate affairs and marketing for Australia and New Zealand Alibaba Group, who spoke at a breakfast event hosted by Food Innovation Centre (FIC) and KPMG on 21 July.

“We want to connect these consumers to tens of millions of merchants and small businesses around the world,” said Hudson.

Alibaba opened its Melbourne office back in February for the group’s business in Australia and New Zealand, but Hudson explained that Alibaba is not currently focused on the consumer markets in these two countries.

“For Australia [and New Zealand], Alibaba is focused on a merchant strategy. It is about identifying great products, and connecting local retailers to Chinese tourists through Alipay and other platforms of ours,” he said, and added that fresh food is one category that the group believes will have tremendous growth.

While China provides an attractive consumer market, Hudson pointed out that he was often surprised when many Australian companies would launch into the market without any prior research. His view was echoed by co-panellist Angeline Achariya, CEO of FIC.

“In Australia we have a high labour-cost market, high utility rates in the complex of supply chain. How do you create high-value premium products so you get a return? ” said Achariya. “A green and clean image is not enough anymore. Many other countries can say the same thing. It is a value game.”

FIC has established an exclusive partnership with the Nutrition & Health Research Institute (NHRI) of Cofco, the largest and state-owned food manufacturer, processor and trader in China. According to FIC, the two parties will collaborate on consumer, sensory and safety research, and ensure Australian companies a better chance of success in China.

To identify and promote Australian brands, an Alibaba E-commerce Expo will be hosted in Melbourne on 13-14 Oct 2017, during which the group will select and showcase 75 SME (small to medium enterprise) brands from Australia.

Check out the article published in ProducePlus link: https://www.fruitnet.com/asiafruit/article/172965/alibaba-seeks-sme-brands-in-australia-and-new-zealand

Please reach out if you want to access the MonashFIC/Cofco pathway into China

James Hudson, director of corporate affairs and marketing for Australia and New Zealand Alibaba Group

Growing Innovation & Intrapreneurship Capability program: empowering employees to make a difference

From April to July for five full training days, SunRice upskilled a team of 21 executives in the art of Intrapreneurialism.

Sunrice were seeking a customised innovation best practice capability program for their team. The FIC offers a best in class Intrapreneurship Academy that can be fully tailored to arm and empower individuals with a proven methodology to enact and deliver innovation. The duration of the course can be tailored to allow participants time to digest the learnings and keep up with their day jobs at the same time!

Here’s an article written by SunRice at the completion of their course.


SunRice partners with The Food Innovation Centre @ Monash University

SunRice Research & Development and Marketing teams recently partnered with The Food Innovation Centre @ Monash University in a series of product innovation workshops. The Food Innovation Centre is a world class facility operated by industry and innovation practitioners.

To gain firsthand experience in the latest new product development techniques Marketing and Research and Development team members were involved in a simulation exercise. This culminated with teams’ involved in a “Shark Tank” style new product pitch to SunRice General Manager, Integrated Supply Chain Simone Anderson and Angeline Achariya, CEO Food Innovation Centre.

Jennifer Osborne, SunRice Senior Marketing Manager said “Stimulating the collaborative creation of new product ideas, developing prototype products, mapping category competition, and using eye tracking technology to assist in package design and placement, are just some of the tools we can leverage to assist successful new product innovation at SunRice. I’m really excited about utilizing these tools to improve the quality of our innovation.”

 “The program has equipped us with a number of proven methodologies to help ignite our new product development journey and provide the necessary rigour to ensure success in an increasingly competitive local and global marketplace.” Commented Kelly Hales, SunRice Head of Research, Development & Quality.


2017 Capability and Workshop program:

Learn with us…

Over last 4 years more than 900 SMEs have participated in our programs.

This has resulted in many businesses being able to increase the odds of success their innovation.

We have an entire calendar year of new programs (from full day to events to breakfasts) continuing to roll out for 2017 so there’s still time to register and learn how to co-create, accelerate and de-risk your innovation.

Workshop: ‘Bringing New Product Ideas to Life’

  • One day workshop providing an overview of best practice tools and proven methodologies including engaging, interactive exercises to reinforce learning.
  • Tools such as Knowledge and Product Mapping, Insights to Ideas and Design Thinking will provide the impetus to ‘Bring your ideas to life’ and launch a product in a day to demonstrate interactive learning techniques.


Testimonial from recent attendee:

I recently attended the ‘Bringing New Product Ideas To Life’ workshop in the impressive surrounds and learning environment of Monash University, Clayton.

The course was very informative with a great balance of innovation theory with practical participation along with sharing many new tools that are available  to help SME organisations to innovate and enter new markets.   They included using the state of the art shared resources of the innovation centre but also simple tools that any organisation could use and adapt.   Best of all,  the open innovation approach taken by the Food Innovation Centre facilitators truly encouraged collaboration across all participants and hence excellent network building.   I have followed up on several contacts and the leads created at this forum have already helped my business.

For dates and venues in METRO and REGIONAL locations, visit our web site and reserve a booking……(hurry, as places are limited!)


Organic Australia recently partnered with us for an annual event: Here’s the article…

On Tuesday evening 25th July 2017, Australian Organic hosted a Networking Event at Monash University’s Food Innovation Centre in Clayton, Melbourne. We’d like to take this opportunity to officially thank every one of our members, clients, and Industry personnel for joining us for a fantastic event, and our speakers for adding such knowledge and value to the event.

The evening commenced with staff from the Food Innovation Centre taking groups of guests on a tour which involved wearing 3D glasses and experiencing a virtual supermarket (as well as the planet Mars) across 80 plasma screens joined together to form a semi circle. The Food Innovation Centre showed guests comparisons of labels on a supermarket shelf, product positioning and where consumer eyes are drawn to when walking down an aisle via a virtual heat map.

Angeline Archariya, CEO of the Food Innovation Centre, presented to guests on the background and capabilities of the Food Innovation Centre, including the ability to print 3D product prototypes, map products in supermarkets, and also accessing export into China via relationships formed with the Centre.


AACS visits the FIC during their ‘Down Under ANZ Study Tour’….here’s a note post event from Jeff Rogut, AACS CEO.

The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores recently toured 52 of our Members  as well as industry associates from NZ through the Monash Innovation Centre as an integral part of a 2 day ‘AACS Down Under Study Tour’  that focused on the latest innovations in the fast moving consumer goods industry, and most importantly, convenience stores.

The exclusive visit to the FIC for  convenience retailers, account managers, marketers, operational and category personnel was included to showcase how products may be developed from scratch to 3D model building, testing and printing and then placing that new product in a virtual store planogram to ensure future consumer preference.

In short, the planning and hosting of the AACS contingent was extremely well run. The feedback  after the tour was incredibly positive and the experience was a highlight for many attendees.

As CEO, I am recommending that members consider the FIC in future relevant innovation pursuits and I am sure there will be some positive connections forged as a result of the capabilities we were exposed to and the reception we received.

 From one of the attendees after the Tour : “I had a wonderful time on the study tour, picking up some great ideas on

Need Marketing Mock Ups for your next range review or chocolate mould designs and prototypes?

The FIC has a state of the art Design Studio to bring mock ups to life:

Nick Booker is a Senior Industrial Designer at the FIC and specialises in creating product mock ups of the highest standard for range reviews, internal critique, research, factory piloting etc. You name it, Nick can do it! He is also well schooled in the art of fashioning award winning mould designs.


The FIC has a partnership with Hollar Initiative and Keele Global that can help….

The Hollar Initiative (THi) and Keele Global is delivering an in-depth program to assist exporters with international market development and strategy with a focus on emerging markets. A strategic decision for this program is to target less obvious markets that are developing a hunger for new, different and great products with a point of difference.

These markets do too have a growing wealth and middle class with diversifying tastes and increasing disposable income to spend. Resulting in great opportunities for manufacturers of both Retail and Food Service products.

The program will have limited participants for each mission, allowing for a stronger focus and greater attention to detail for each participating company. With both group and individual mentoring, the program will:

Identify your opportunities to export and where to start.

Give you understanding of key Growing Consumer Markets that are often overlooked.

Have you properly prepared for Overseas Enquiries and Trade Events.

Provide your own customised Export Development Plan.

Introduce you to “REAL” buyers, genuinely interested in engaging your product.

Inside this program , the FIC from Monash will run a Group Workshop:

Getting your product right for the market and consumer: This is a 4hr session on helping businesses post market visit to identify the insights and how to apply these for current and new products.

The FIC@Monash will focus on some key next steps and show businesses tools that can be applied. The process through the workshop will also have access to FIC@Monash innovation experts to support clients on “So what…Now what”.

Review of in market feedback on product and packaging (each business to provide and share) as part of this workshop.

 Knowledge mapping session – what I know and don’t know.

Each participant learns the tools and then completes one on their knowledge

Distilling the insights from the market session

So what now what – how to apply those insights in tweaking the product and packaging and/or developing new products

For more information and dates: More information at

That’s it for August FIC Times Newsletter……thanks for reading and get in contact to help increase your odds of successful innovation soon.

Bye for now……

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