Melbourne’s north is fast becoming a world-class food and agricultural hub. The region is home to some of Australia’s best loved food and beverage brands, as well as an eclectic mix of artisan businesses, including boutique microbreweries, premium chocolate makers, coffee roasters and gourmet food distribution companies.
Melbourne’s north comprises of six local government areas including Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik and Whittlesea – and generates 13.2 per cent of Victoria’s gross domestic product. The region leads the state in the production of many food categories including bakery, confectionery, dairy, seafood and meat.
Melbourne’s north has recently attracted several major investments in food manufacturing which are set to create almost 170 new jobs and drive the expansion of Victoria’s vibrant food manufacturing sector into the future.
The Victorian Government has supported four local food manufacturers to establish and expand their operations, securing a combined $31 million of investment into the region.
Specialised coffee manufacturer and café operator Industry Beans is investing in new equipment and technology at its Brunswick facility to create a high-volume quality product, enabling the business to diversify its product range and boost competitiveness.
Wholesale distributor Cadell Food Services has constructed a 3,600 sqm purpose-built distribution centre in Epping, featuring state-of-the art technologies and systems that will replace its smaller operation in Preston. The new centre includes the latest environmentally friendly refrigeration equipment, floor insulation system and infrastructure to maximise energy efficiency.
Following the merger of Turi Foods’ poultry business with OSI Australia’s poultry and beef processing business, the new company TurOSI has recently established its national headquarters in the region. It has also expanded its Broadmeadows processing facility using the latest technologies from OSI Group’s global plants.
While Epping-based Diseb Foods will establish a specialised manufacturing line to produce a new type of pasta with a range of unique filling flavours that are not currently available in the market. The investment will also create operational efficiencies, enhance product development and research and development capabilities, and open new export opportunities for the business.
There are over 430 food and beverage businesses in Melbourne’s north with an annual turnover of more than $1 million. These businesses employ an estimated 10,900 Victorians and generate a gross regional product of $3.7 billion each year.
The region is home to Melbourne’s Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable market, Epping Food Fub, the planned Melbourne Food Innovation and Export Hub, RMIT’s Food Research and Innovation Centre and AgriBio. AgriBio, one of Australia’s premier biosciences facilities, is a joint venture between Agriculture Victoria and La Trobe University that supports cutting-edge research in Victoria’s agricultural sector.
Several world-class research and education providers are located in the region including Agriculture Victoria Research, La Trobe University, RMIT University, Victoria University, Kangan Institute and Melbourne Polytechnic offering tertiary through to PhD level qualifications in the areas of food and agricultural science helping produce a strong pipeline of high-quality talent for Victoria’s food and fibre sector.
With a thriving food hub already in place, these latest investments will create opportunities for Melbourne’s north to further develop niche food markets and products, while stimulating the State’s economy.