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Italy’s leading food and beverage manufacturers expand in Australia

Australia is a compelling market for international companies to develop, commercialise, scale and source the next generation of agriculture and food technologies.

Australia’s free trade agreements with the Asia-Pacific region provide international businesses with preferential access to these high-growth markets. Our strong R&D ecosystem and diverse growing conditions allow businesses to develop new crops and capitalise on counter-seasonal harvests to provide year-round supply.

Italy is one of the largest food processors in Europe with a thriving food tech and innovation scene. From precision agriculture technologies to targeted nutrition and sustainable packaging, Italy’s leading food manufacturers are now successfully growing their footprint in Australia.

Australia targets A$100 billion in food production by 2030

Australia’s agriculture industry is estimated to be worth around A$87 billion. And the industry is set to grow.

‘For the industry to achieve its 2030 goal to generate A$100 billion in food production and maintain a reputation for high-quality and sustainable produce, there will need to be a significant increase in productivity, increased market access and diversification,’ says Sheralyn Derrick, Investment Director for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) in Italy.

This creates a diverse range of opportunities for international companies looking to invest in Australia.

There are already over 2,500 agritech and foodtech enterprises in Australia, boosting industry innovation. International food producers looking to trial and develop solutions in a varied environment will find cutting-edge capabilities and investment opportunities. There are also 15 agritech incubators and accelerators that support innovation in the sector.

Dr. Schär leads in the fast-growing gluten-free market

Food manufacturer Dr. Schär is exploring opportunities in Australia’s diverse agrifood sector. Dr. Schär is a global leader in the development, production and distribution of a wide range of gluten-free and special nutrition products. Its range includes pizza, pasta, bread, baked goods, flour and baking mixes.

Dr. Schär’s commitment to greater biodiversity is reflected in its various projects supporting minor crops in recent years. These include the Re-Cereal project, Field100 and Vitamì.

In Australia, Dr. Schär’s R&D Centre is working with the University of Adelaide and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development of Western Australia on an innovative project to cultivate niche crops.

‘We have chosen Australia because of its diverse growing and climatic conditions, excellent academic research, and vibrant and forward-looking community of growers,’ says Silvano Ciani, Dr. Schär’s Global R&I Manager – Basic Research.

‘This collaboration will further support Dr. Schär’s strong commitment to the quality and sustainability of our gluten-free and special nutritional needs product ranges,’ he adds.

Local presence helps Ferrero access the Asia-Pacific region

Confectionery manufacturer Ferrero established a production facility in Australia over 40 years ago. The Lithgow facility in New South Wales was the first factory outside of Europe for the family-owned company.

The facility in Australia produces Nutella for the Australian, New Zealand and East Asian markets – these include Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Japan. It has grown to become an Australian icon. Around 13,500 tonnes (or 13.5 million kilograms) of Nutella is made at Ferrero’s Lithgow factory every year.

Ferrero relies on quality locally sourced ingredients such as milk and sugar. Its locally produced Nutella also uses 100% Australian packaging. Sustainability is a core part of the company’s growth strategy. It is committed to making all packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable. This aligns to Australia’s national packaging targets.

Ferrero is making further investments in its Australian manufacturing facility to support its sustainability goals, future growth and regional export opportunities.

Campari Group leverages growth opportunities in Australia

Campari Group is the world’s sixth largest player in the premium spirits industry. It established manufacturing facilities in Melbourne in 2013 to support its Asia-Pacific growth.

The Group had entered Australia a few years prior. In 2012, it determined it had sufficient critical mass to purchase a production facility. This proved a key enabler for its future growth.

Campari Group has a long-term strategy to capitalise on the growth opportunities in the Australian market. It will do this by diversifying its production capacity and expanding its beverage portfolio, with canned drink products predicted to grow significantly in future years.

Campari Group also has an ongoing commitment to sustainability. It is committed to promoting the responsible use of resources and reducing the environmental impact of production activities. This is pursued through measures such as limiting the amount of waste that goes to landfill, reducing its carbon footprint and eliminating water wastage.

For Campari Group, the decision to set up local manufacturing facilities in Australia is paying off. ‘During the first 9 months of 2023, the Group recorded its largest growth in Australia where net sales rose by 10.6%,’ says Simon Durrant, Managing Director of Campari Australia.

Guala Closures develops traceable wine closures for the Australian market

Guala Closures Group is a world leader in the production of closures for the drinks industry. The company operates 31 production sites and 7 research centres around the world, including Australia.

Guala Closures entered Australia in 2008 via a local acquisition. It now produces around 600-700 million closures a year, including those exported to New Zealand, the US and Southeast Asia.

‘Aluminium screwcaps are the undisputed closure of choice for winemakers in Australia and New Zealand. They protect the wine from oxidation and provide an untainted environment for the wine to develop. This makes Australia a key market for us,’ says Simon Yudelevich, General Manager ANZ, Guala Closures Group.

The company employs over 70 R&D staff globally, reflecting its strong commitment to innovation. This is reflected in Guala Closures’ range of eco-friendly solutions that respond to different sustainability challenges, which is increasingly important in the Australian and global drinks market. The company also produces closures from biodegradable polymers and renewable materials.

Guala Closures also leads the charge in traceability technology. Its NeSTGATE range of screwcaps comes with integrated NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. This provides consumer engagement opportunities, logistical traceability, and certification of the bottle’s authenticity.

The connected closures can also contain QR code technologies that can be used by wine producers to share brand stories with consumers.

How Austrade helped

Austrade provides ongoing support to enable the growth of these leading Italian agrifood companies in Australia.

‘We provide updates on expansion opportunities and relevant incentive programs. We also share the latest market insights. Finally, Austrade plays a key role connecting Italian companies to useful contacts in Australia, from industry associations and state government representatives to local partners,’ says Derrick.

Australia offers significant opportunities for international businesses looking to tap into Australia’s agrifood and foodtech market. For more information, contact Sheralyn Derrick, Investment Director, Austrade Italy.

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Published: 24 November 2023

Contact an Austrade specialist as an investor as a buyer