Future foods facility to fast-track new product development in WA

Murdoch University is the first Western Australian university to partner with the state government in a new commercial food factory that will help food and beverage businesses develop value-added food products for local consumption and global export.

The Sustainable Innovative Food Technologies (SIFT) Centre – the result of a WA Government partnership with Future Food Systems – is being delivered by Murdoch University to enable the transformation of ingredients produced by famers into value-added food products using state-of-the-art equipment and new technologies.Manjimup avocados, for example, could become extended shelf-life guacamole by partial inactivation of an enzyme that causes browning while other processes could lock in nutritional value or improve taste.SIFT Content (860 x 480 px)
The Hon. Jackie Jarvis MLC, Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forestry and Small Business; and Fiona Simson, Chair of the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) joined VIPs including Future Food Systems CEO Dr James Krahe (far L); FFS Program 3 Deputy Lead David Doepel (second from L); Murdoch University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation, Prof. Peter Eastwood (3rd from L); SIFT GM Stuart Johnston (third from R) and Project Management Group Chair, Dr Natasha Teakle (second from R) to officially unveil the plaque at the SIFT Centre, located at the Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia in Nambeelup, in WA’s Peel region.Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Deeks said the SIFT Centre was the latest addition to a best-in-class food manufacturing ecosystem in WA.

“It provides, at a commercial scale, a pathway to grow and value-add our food businesses to make new products,” he said.

“This is important because real market potential and subsequent success can only be measured by placing products into the market and having customers buy them, repeatedly.

“The facility provides an opportunity for small to medium sized enterprises to scale batch test new food products for local markets and for export. Such products are being developed and tested in the Murdoch Research and Development Centre managed by the University’s Food Futures Institute.”

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The Hon. Jackie Jarvis MLC and Robyn Clarke, MLA for the Shire of Murray, try out the technology at the SIFT Centre. Image courtesy of Murdoch University Media

Agribusinesses looking to develop new products within the facility will be supported by industry experts, backed by Murdoch University research and development [with co-funding for SIFT operations and project development from Future Food Systems].

Director of Murdoch University’s Food Futures Institute Professor Peter Davies said while the SIFT Centre provided a platform for strong partnerships and collaborations between the University and business, it would also support local students into food science degrees; support PhD research; and attract pre-eminent scientists from around the world.

“The SIFT Centre represents a major commitment by Murdoch to support industry development throughout the State, renewing our commitment to creating value for the agricultural sector; strengthening the excellence of our teaching and research facilities; and supporting our businesses – small and large – to make better, more nutritious food.”

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The Sustainable Innovative Food Technologies Centre is located at the Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia in Nambeelup. Image courtesy of Murdoch University Media

Professor Davies thanked the state and federal governments, Future Food Systems and Shire of Murray for investing in the Food Innovation Precinct WA and supporting the WA food industry. The total investment in the Centre was around $15 million.

The week of the official opening of SIFT, a who’s who of global agricultural and food industry representatives were in Perth for the evokeAG 2024 conference to connect the agri-food innovation community, and at Future Food Systems’ For Food’s Sake Summit at Murdoch University’s Boola Katitjin building. Many delegates from these gatherings also attended today’s event.

This article was published on Murdoch University’s website on 23 February 2024. It has been republished here with minor editorial modifications courtesy of the Murdoch University media team. View the original article here. 

Lead image: The Hon. Jackie Jarvis (right), WA Minister for Agriculture, and MLC and Robyn Clarke MLA (left) drink to the health of the just-launched Sustainable Innovative Food Technologies (SIFT) facility at FIPWA in Peel on Friday 23 February 2024. Image courtesy of Murdoch University Media