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Australia: SIFT’s Cutting-Edge Food Tech Unveiled

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Western Australia’s food manufacturers and start-ups were introduced to the advanced capabilities of the Sustainable Innovative Food Technologies (SIFT) Centre, during the inaugural session of a series of eight complimentary industry workshops planned for 2024.

Image credits: Murdoch University

The AU$12.2 million SIFT Centre, formally inaugurated by the Agriculture and Food Minister, boasts state-of-the-art technology aimed at fostering the development of new food products by WA manufacturers. This initiative is financed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and managed in collaboration with the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre and Murdoch University.

In the virtual workshop, participants were introduced to the capabilities of high-pressure processing (HPP). This innovative technology is designed to eliminate pathogens, parasites, and viruses from food products, thereby significantly reducing or completely removing the need for chemical preservatives.

Industry experts provided comprehensive insights into how HPP can be leveraged to develop new cold-pasteurised food and beverage products. These products benefit from extended shelf life while maintaining their natural nutrition and flavour.

The DPIRD’s Industry and Economic Development Deputy Director General emphasised the importance of these regular workshops in enhancing the awareness and understanding of the technologies, facilities, and services available to WA food and beverage businesses. He highlighted that SIFT provides a unique platform for WA’s food and beverage industry to experiment with and refine products before making substantial investments in large-scale operations, commercialisation, and equipment.

He noted that the virtual workshops present an opportunity for both metropolitan and regional businesses across the State to obtain insight into the technologies, equipment, and expertise that can aid their innovation and expansion goals.

The CEO of the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre underscored that these workshops are a crucial component of the CRC’s strategy to ensure that the WA food manufacturing ecosystem is equipped to compete globally. He pointed out that the SIFT technology and innovation facility exemplifies their dedication to nurturing the future of WA’s food sector. By providing access to pioneering technologies and expert guidance, the CRC aims to empower local businesses to introduce new, high-quality products to the market, enhance food safety, and stimulate economic growth.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor at Murdoch University’s Food Futures Institute added that the SIFT Centre offers a robust platform for fostering partnerships and collaborations between the University and the business sector. This collaboration supports local students pursuing food science degrees, facilitates new PhD research, and attracts leading scientists from around the world to the region.

Located within the Food Innovation Precinct of WA (FIPWA) in the Peel Business Park at Nambeelup, the SIFT Centre stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts aimed at advancing WA’s food technology landscape. The facility is designed to support the creation and refinement of food products, ensuring they meet the highest standards of safety and quality while preserving their natural attributes.

Future workshops will continue to delve into various technological advancements and innovative methodologies, with detailed information about these sessions to be posted on the SIFT website. These workshops are poised to play a pivotal role in driving the local food and beverage industry forward, equipping businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in a competitive global market.

The SIFT Centre’s commitment to technological innovation and industry collaboration marks a significant step towards a more sustainable and prosperous future for WA’s food sector. By bridging the gap between research and commercial application, the centre aims to catalyse the development of cutting-edge food products that align with global standards and consumer expectations.


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