South Australian food industry targeting opportunities for innovation

From changing weather patterns to more mouths to feed, there are a number of challenges facing the South Australian food and beverage industry. Yet along with these come extensive opportunities for it to expand, boost its economic clout and support job and business growth. So what is the current state of the food and beverage sector in South Australia, and how could technology shaping the way it operates?

The SA food and beverage sector exported $5 billion worth of consumables between 2014 and 2015 alone.

The Australian food and beverage industry is fertile for growth

According to a report from BankSA, there are around 47,000 people employed in the South Australian food and beverage sector, which exported $5 billion worth of consumables between 2014 and 2015 alone. With rapid population growth occurring not only within Australia but in major export markets such as Asia, food producers and manufacturers have the opportunity to take advantage of the rising future demand.

In addition, the report reveals SA has a number advantages that will help the food and beverage sector grow and compete, such as its closeness to a range of export markets, the availability of land, its biosecurity status and the high levels of education in the region. 

Innovations such as infra-red sorting technology are already being used in the SA food sector.Innovations such as infra-red sorting technology are already being used in the SA food sector.

How is technology driving the food sector forward?

A key factor in leveraging future food beverage market opportunities is having the tools to maximise improvement, growth and sustainability. The SA food sector is a leader when it comes to embracing new technology to improve its processes, with a number of innovations already being used across various organisations. The Advertiser highlights some of the most notable examples, which include the use of infra-red technology to sort onions and a concentrated solar power plant helps produce around 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year. 

"The food and beverage industry is the only sector in this state that has shown growth year on year for almost two decades. It is a major employer and a critical component in the economic sustainability and growth of South Australia," said Catherine Sayer, chief executive of Food South Australia, to The Advertiser.

"There is no doubt that South Australia's economic future is significantly dependent on the state's food and beverage sector. Ours is a vibrant industry, unique in Australia for the advantage we have in the model of Food South Australia as the peak industry association, and the partnership we have developed between industry and government," Ms Sayer said.

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