Leading Chinese food company Cofco has signed an agreement with Australia’s Monash University to boost Australian exports to China.
Cofco’s Nutrition & Health Research Institute (NHRI) will enter a strategic partnership with Monash’s Food Innovation Centre to develop innovative food and agriculture opportunities for small and medium-sized food and beverage exporters.
The agreement will give the Food Innovation Centre access to Cofco NHRI’s technical resources and regulatory expertise, as well as in-depth knowledge of Chinese consumers, offering exporters better insight into the growing market for Australia products in China.
“The Monash Food Innovation Centre opens at a crucial time for Australia’s efforts to boost agricultural and food productivity to meet the demands of Asia’s fast-growing middle-class population,” president and vice-chancellor of Monash University, Margaret Gardner, said at the re-opening of the centre on 10 October. “Monash now looks forward to using our world-class capabilities to provide Australian food producers – growers and manufacturers – with a competitive edge.”
The centre builds on the resources of the Food Innovation Centre previously run by Mondelez International, with new additions including a A$1.8m visualisation space called Cave 2 that allows companies to see how their products will look on retail shelves.
“Given that nine out of ten products fail in the fast moving consumer goods segment, helping companies to visualise what their new product looks like on the shelf and understanding shopper behaviour is key to de-risking innovation,” said Monash University director of food and agriculture innovation, Nicolas George.
The Victorian-government backed centre will operated on a fee-for-service basis, with consumer research programmes costing between A$10,000 and $30,000, George told the Australian Financial Review.