Brisbane food and beverage businesses cater to global appetite

22 JANUARY 2024

Innovative Brisbane businesses serving up world-first food and beverage products are set to expand into new global markets, thanks to an accelerator program supporting local enterprise.

From emerging start-ups looking to accelerate growth to global titans exploring new opportunities, eleven Brisbane-based businesses will participate in Brisbane Economic Development Agency’s (BEDA) 2024 Future Food Global Accelerator program.

Now in its seventh year, this year’s participants are progressing some of the most exciting innovations to date, including seaweed technology to reduce methane-emissions in livestock, food and beverage products taking Indigenous flavours global, and a world-first freeze-dried goat feta.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the program caters to businesses at the cutting-edge of food and beverage innovation.

“Brisbane’s food and beverage businesses continue to put world-class products on shelves, achieving the success to create jobs and drive our city’s economic growth,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Brisbane’s proximity to international markets, advanced manufacturing and logistical capabilities, and network of national and global brands based locally continues to create incredible opportunities for local food and beverage businesses to grow and thrive.

“Through support programs like the Future Food Global Accelerator, we can make sure our local businesses have the right support to fast-track opportunities for global success.”

FigJam & Co, an Indigenous-owned catering business and manufacturer of gourmet condiments range FigJam Collections, will participate in this year’s Future Food Global Accelerator program.

With demand from Michelin-star restaurants and a range of new products on the horizon, FigJam & Co works closely with First Nations growers, producers and social enterprises to source seasonal ingredients and nutritious superfoods for its gourmet condiments.

FigJam & Co. Head of Strategy and second generation Gunditjmara and Ngarrindjeri man Jacob Davidson said the program will support the company’s ambition to expand domestically in Australia and export globally to markets like Singapore and Malaysia.

“There is so much passion, creativity and opportunity in Brisbane’s food and beverage market,” Mr Davidson said.

“Working in an emerging market like bushfood, we are currently riding a wave of innovation and believe with the right connections and support we can achieve global success for FigJam & Co and Brisbane.

“BEDA’s Future Food Global Accelerator program will allow us to explore new opportunities to showcase our unique Indigenous flavours and superfoods to the world, while we continue supporting mob in Australia.”

Food solutions giant Hilton Foods will also take part in the program. CEO Mel Chambers said Hilton Foods was eager to network and learn alongside other participating businesses.

“Brisbane has produced some incredible talent and innovation in the food and beverage manufacturing industry and we’re proud to be a part of that ecosystem,” Ms Chambers said.

“We look forward to hearing from leading experts and building connections with other Brisbane-based businesses participating in this program.”

The Global Accelerator is designed to help companies pursue funding and distribution partners to expand their operations and explore new markets.

Since 2018, BEDA’s Future Food Initiative has supported more than 400 businesses, with JBS Foods Australia, Merlo and Priestley's Gourmet Delights among past participants.

Participating businesses will take part in an eight-week global readiness program commencing in February and facilitated by industry leading experts and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

FigJam & Co

Brisbane’s FY24 Future Food cohort

FigJam & Co – 100% Indigenous owned and operated, FigJam & Co integrates native bush food ingredients from First Nations owned and operated properties and social enterprises across Australia into a catering offering for corporate events and manufactured condiments.

FutureFeed – Established by CSIRO, FutureFeed has been driving commercialisation of Asparagopsis (seaweed) technology as a livestock feed ingredient to lower ruminant methane emissions. Enteric methane – predominately cow burps – make up 5.5% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

Gourmet Taste Creations Gourmet Taste Creations creates artisan condiments, specialising in dry mixes such as dip mixes, spice blends, meat rubs, dukkahs, dressing mixes and soup mixes.

Hilton Foods – A protein processor and food solutions business, Hilton Foods creates innovative new products and tech in the food sector, working across five categories: meat, seafood, vegan & vegetarian, easier meals, and services. The business has more than 7,000 employees and operates in 13 markets worldwide.

Lilly’s Little Lunchbox – With a mission to be the world’s largest and healthiest tuckshop, Lilly’s Little Lunchbox produces a diverse array of fresh and nutritious pre-made meals specifically designed for children, to support busy parents. The meals are also enjoyed by adults, the elderly, and NDIS recipients. 

Little White Goat Cheese Little White Goat Cheese is a Moreton Bay grazier of goats and producer of goat, buffalo and camel feta and cheeses providing products to many Brisbane restaurants. The business also created a world-first freeze-dried goat feta that has an ambient shelf life of 18 months.

New Farm Confectionary – New Farm Confectionary is a gourmet confectionery company which specialises in handcrafting artisanal sweets. From humble home-kitchen origins, the business now has a flagship store in Newstead and is a wholesale supplier to local and national businesses.

OMG! Decadent Donuts – OMG! Decadent Donuts strives to create delicious hot fresh donuts which can be enjoyed by people with dietary requirements, food intolerances or food allergies. Brisbane made and owned, the business has almost 70 licensees throughout Australia.

Reclaim Foods – Reclaim Foods is redefining how we use organic waste through upcycling surplus food into new, more valuable food products, such as nutrient-rich meals or snack alternatives. This provides an innovative alternative to conventional food waste disposal methods like landfills or feeding animals. Their mission extends to reducing malnutrition and supporting farmers and fostering responsible consumption. 

Ugly Duck Fine Foods Ugly Duck Fine Foods source ugly, imperfect fruit and vegetables and transforms them into delicious condiments, such as fruit spreads, chutneys, relishes and fruit pastes. The business aims to fight against wasted fresh produce, noting that half of all fruit and vegetables produced are wasted globally. 

Yaala Sparkling – Yaala Sparkling is a female led, Indigenous-owned, beverage company with a native twist. The business produces beverages which incorporate flavours from Indigenous and native Australian plants. ‘Yaala’, which translates to ‘the present moment’ in Wiradjuri language, is all about pairing the perfect beverage with life’s most joyous moments.

Brewdog manufacturing line