Sector News

Kerry unveils new technology and innovation hub in Australia

May 23, 2021
Food & Drink

Kerry will develop a purpose-built food technology and innovation center of excellence in Queensland, Australia. The facility will also act as the new headquarters for Kerry in Australia and New Zealand while its existing facility in Sydney will retain a specialist R&D applications hub.

With capabilities including pilot plants, laboratories and tasting facilities, the new Kerry Australia and New Zealand Development and Application Centre in Brisbane will bring an end-to-end food innovation cycle under one roof. This will reduce time to market for new product development and increase Kerry’s capacity to drive food innovation in the region.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Christine Giuliano, general manager, Kerry Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), says she believes that Queensland’s food and agribusiness sector advancements, combined with its continued investments, align with Kerry’s growth strategies.

“The company is committed to investing in local teams, developing the next generation of Australian food scientists and advancing manufacturing, supporting a strong, sustainable and critical food and beverage manufacturing sector in the region.”

“Consumer demands are increasing and becoming more sophisticated; they want food and beverages that not only offer great taste but deliver on health and nutrition targets and are ethical and environmentally sustainable. This is relevant to the shifts we see in ANZ and the applications the new site will focus on.”

The Kerry Australia and New Zealand Development and Application Centre is purpose-built food technology and innovation center of excellence. “It will pave an economical and efficient path for the commercialization of new products and focus on Kerry’s Global Innovation Initiatives in health and wellness, advancing wellness, sustainability, convenience, taste, affordability and premiumization,” explains Giuliano.

The center will also create more than 50 new highly skilled operational jobs across the next five years. “This will include highly skilled technical roles such as food scientists, analytical chemists, microbiologists, processes engineers, food technologists and executive chefs plus corporate and administrative roles. This is in addition to construction jobs the project has already created,” she notes.

Aligning strategies
Complementing the new facility is the Kerry Australia and New Zealand Commercial Connect Centre in Sydney, which will retain a specialist RD&A applications hub.

“The new facility aligns with Kerry’s strategy focused on value creation for the consumer, as it reflects changing industry needs and unlocks sector growth opportunities in Australia and New Zealand,” says Christine Giuliano, general manager, Kerry Australia and New Zealand.

“More importantly, it will bring the benefits of our global technologies to local food and beverage producers – supporting regional industry development. Our team at the new center will be able to leverage Kerry’s R&D network around the world, as well as global insights, market knowledge, and culinary and applications expertise to customize solutions that ultimately deliver exciting products that resonate with the local market.”

The F&B industry is Australia’s largest manufacturing sector and with an annual turnover of AU$50 billion (US$39 billion) it represents more than 18 percent of total domestic manufacturing turnover.

Global food business

The major challenges identified by Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) for the F&B industry is the ability for businesses to easily adapt and respond to rapidly evolving consumer needs and changing business and market conditions.

“The investment will pave an economical and efficient path for commercialization of new products, and focus on Kerry’s global innovation initiatives in health and wellness, sustainability, convenience, affordability and premiumization, allowing regional businesses to connect and access the global market by leveraging the Kerry brand,” adds Giuliano.

The center will also create ongoing employment opportunities for graduates through Kerry’s Graduate Programme and facilitate placements via partnerships with local universities.

“We are investing in local talent and developing the next generation of Australian food scientists. Considering Queensland’s alignment with Kerry’s growth strategies, we are looking forward to supporting a strong, sustainable and critical F&B manufacturing sector in the region,” concludes Giuliano.

Last month, Kerry flagged “strong growth prospects” in the retail channel as the foodservice industry recovers from COVID-19 restrictions. In its Q1 interim management statement, the Ireland-based food company also emphasized its focus on merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities.

In the same month, Kerry increased its footprint in Southeast Asia by building a second manufacturing facility in Karawang, Indonesia. The “state-of-the-art” facility is being built from the ground up and set to be operational in late 2022. It represents Kerry’s largest-ever capital investment in Southeast Asia at €30 million (US$36 million).

By Elizabeth Green

Source: foodingredientsfirst.com

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