FFS CEO Dr James Krahe – Q&A

As the first year of his tenure as Future Food Systemds (FFS) CEO, we sat down with Dr James Krahe to delve into his academic journey, career milestones and profound enthusiasm for transformative collaboration.

What did you study?

A Bachelor in Human Nutrition and a PhD in Food Science. My thesis was titled ‘Optimising the quality of NSW Central Coast green tea’.

Tell us about your career path to date…

After completing my university studies, I embarked on a career in Product Development at PepsiCo ANZ within the Smiths Snackfood Company. During my tenure, I contributed to the success of various brands, including Doritos, Nobbys, Grainwaves and Red Rock Deli, and played a key role in the launch of Sunbites. I also delved into nutrition advocacy and product reformulation.

Subsequently, I joined Kellogg’s ANZ, where I focused on product reformulation. This experience allowed me to foster strong industry relationships and to collaborate extensively with third-party manufacturing and innovation partners.

Following my time at Kellogg’s, I transitioned to the area of retail food groups, initially working in product development for Donut King. I progressed within the company, taking on roles such as International Nutrition Manager and Technical Innovations Manager, and contributing to the success of brands such as Gloria Jeans, Crust, Michel’s Patisserie and Brumby’s Bakeries.

My journey then led me to the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, FIAL, where I served as Innovation Manager. In this role, I coached businesses and research agencies to collaborate effectively within the innovation space, fostering cooperative benefits. This experience naturally led me to engage in network collaborations and the development of clustering ecosystems, in Queensland and across the country.

During a secondment to the Fight Food Waste CRC, I collaborated with the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) on the SME Solutions Fund, further fuelling my passion for collaborative innovation.

Eventually, I found myself bere, at the forefront of  Australia’s key collaborative ecosystem for future food systems. In this role, as CEO of Future Food Systems, I have relished the opportunity to redefine research leadership within collaborative agrifood ecosystems, tailoring the dynamic to align with the needs of Australian business and governmental conditions.

What excites you about the future of the agrifood sector?

Our sector is expanding and growing at an unprecedented rate. Our access to consumers, with their diverse tastes and preferences, provides us with opportunities to innovate in new and exciting ways. The potential for innovation is limited only by our imaginations, making anything possible.

What are you passionate about?

Creating new opportunities for Australian businesses by leveraging existing ecosystems and environments. We exist within a dynamic system, characterised by constant change. So instead of expending additional energy and costs attempting to control it, why not harness that change for the innovation of your business?

What are some of the highlights of your current role as FFS CEO?

Working with a multidisciplinary team of research excellence.

Our systems-based approach, which allows us to unite under the banner of agrifood and explore ecosystems through multiple lenses.

The rich diversity of the subject matter; how it intersects with exports, and how we define and address the grand challenge of developing the future foods and food systems of Australia, make our mission worthwhile and exciting.

Why should people attend the For Food’s Sake Summit in February?

For Food’s Sake is an opportunity to engage with some of the most exciting researchers and innovators in Australia’s agrifood sector. We will examine innovations and opportunities through FFS’s unique systems approach and take a deep dive into the rich innovation ecosystems of  Perth and Western Australia.