Innovation is the way to Asia’s stomach and heart

13 October 2014

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Queensland needs to have smart, streamlined and highly efficient food processing facilities in order to position itself as a leading provider of safe and reliable produce for Asia’s rapidly expanding markets.

Wiley Senior Process Engineer Michael Matthewson delivered his message at the inaugural Ag in the Asian Century conference and again at the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) function in Toowoomba this month.

“The Asia Pacific market has the fastest growing middle class in the world,” Mr Matthewson said.

“In the next 20 years it is predicted to grow by more than 600 percent to 3228 million people,” he said.

“That represents a huge opportunity for Australian food producers and processors if they have the right facilities working at optimum efficiency.”

Michael Matthewson on the innovation and technology panel at Ag in the Asian Century Conference

Pictured: Michael Matthewson on the innovation and technology panel at Ag in the Asian Century Conference.

Wiley anticipates that the method of food manufacturing in Australia will significantly change over the next 25 years.

It will involve highly automated production systems that produce specialised high volume products for high volume global export.

Facilities will have a 10 year technology life span and they will produce zero emissions and waste.

Regions will be known for producing particular food products such as fresh vegetables, beef, cheese or milk that have an international reputation for reliability and safety.

Mr Matthewson said large infrastructure projects like the soon-to-be-open Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba gave food producers and processors in southern Queensland a direct link to the growing Asian market.

“The new airport has the potential to be southern Queensland’s food conveyor belt delivering premium, safe and reliable food to increasingly discerning consumers,” Mr Matthewson said.

“The question is not when might this happen but will our suppliers and manufacturers be primed and poised on their starting blocks for the food race of this century?”

“I am confident that those who are thinking, acting and innovating now will be.”

“Wiley is already working with processors in Queensland to design and build new high-class facilities or find innovative ways to improve existing facilities to prepare for these future opportunities.”

Wiley partnered with Australia’s largest meat processing company, JBS Australia, to create the self-sustaining biogas facility at JBS Australia’s Dinmore facility.

The plant captures methane gas from the plant’s waste water treatment plant   to power an existing natural gas-fired boiler plant, reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 89 percent and saving more than $1 million a year on natural gas costs.

Its design and construction earned Wiley the regional and state award for Innovation in Environmental Management at the recent Queensland Master Builders Association Awards.

“These are the types of innovations that will be needed to secure agricultural Australia’s place in the Asian Century,” Mr Matthewson.