Incubator hatches food plan for Far North Queensland

Far North Queensland’s emerging food and food processing sector has received a major boost with the launch of the FNQ Food Incubator website www.fnqfoodincubator.com.au thanks to a $20,000 grant.

The program to help businesses develop and create new recipes, processes and tastes and convert ideas into commercial products was launched just days after the Palaszczuk Government launched the #eatqld campaign to celebrate and promote Queensland produce.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the Government had invested $20,000 in the new website, which would provide processing and production support for new and existing food and food processing businesses wanting to move into domestic food manufacturing or exporting.

“Designed by industry, the site will help to navigate the approvals and regulatory requirements that are a prerequisite to establishing a food business,” Mr Furner said.

“It also connects the food sector in Cairns to existing facilities, skills, government services and industry innovators able to support individuals to explore their ideas and produce viable product lines.”

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said many groups contributed to making the FNQ Food Incubator a reality with the Fang group establishing facilities in Cairns that will allow food processing businesses to experiment, trial and commercialise new and innovative products.

“This $1.6M plant and bottling line is the only one of its kind outside of Queensland’s South East corner, and is critical infrastructure for local start-up businesses and food entrepreneurs,” Mr Healy said.

“TAFE Queensland has also partnered with the Incubator project to allow access to its registered kitchens, chefs, students, training facilities and courses.”

Over the past two years the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has partnered with the food processing sector, investing around $350,000 through the provision of services by its Innovative Food Technologies (IFT) group.

“This new site will be ideal for IFT to provide ongoing technical and research services to the local food industry through scientific advice on food product and process development, as well as guidance on the Food Standards Code and other industry codes of practice for food design, plant design, labelling, nutrition and shelf life activities,” Mr Furner said.

“Talks are underway with potential Incubator partners including SPC, Singapore Airlines, Cairns Airport, the Indigenous Agriculture Business Sector, and food industry group FIAL.

“The FNQ Food Incubator will also be working with the recently-launched Cairns Manufacturing Hub, which supports food production.”

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