Brisbane food manufacturer launches AI-powered facility in Acacia Ridge

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Image credit: Priestley’s Gourmet Delights

A Brisbane-based dessert and savoury food manufacturer has officially opened its new state-of-the-art AI-powered facility in Acacia Ridge which is poised to enhance food production capabilities and expand the workforce.

Priestley’s Gourmet Delights is upskilling existing employees and plans to increase staff numbers by a projected 56 by 2026, the government said in a media statement.

The Queensland Government has supported the Brisbane manufacturer with a $2.5 million Made in Queensland Round 4 grant to purchase automation equipment.

It reported that this funding has helped to on-shore the production of one of their key delights, the lava cake.

“Queensland manufacturers are doing amazing things and that is no more evident than right here at Priestley’s Gourmet,” said Manufacturing Minister Glenn Butcher at the facility’s official opening this morning.

He added, “A business that is continuing to innovate with advanced manufacturing technology.”

This upgrade has created 21 new jobs, including 12 for women, with an additional 30 new positions expected as part of the business expansion.

The new capabilities also mean increased product packing rates, reduced factory bottlenecks, and significant cost reductions.

The bespoke system was built by Mexx Engineering, a local firm specializing in robotic assembly systems and advanced manufacturing lines.

Made in Queensland is a highly successful grant program, supporting over 100 businesses across five rounds and creating more than 6,000 jobs.

“We know that consumers want to buy products made here in Queensland, and we know that the Made in Queensland stamp matters,” Butcher added. “It means more jobs in manufacturing and increased capabilities.”

Acacia Ridge MP Leeanne Enoch praised Priestley’s for its long-standing presence and growth in the community.

“Priestley’s has been around for more than 25 years – they know their business and their customers. Being able to scale up and streamline the business with this funding is an exciting, big step for them,” Enoch noted.

Meanwhile, Priestley’s Gourmet Delights CEO Xanny Christophersen expressed enthusiasm about the new facility.

“It’s fantastic to be at the helm of such an innovative company. The technology we’re harnessing will allow us to boost productivity while also enabling us to grow our people and support them to upskill.”

The Made in Queensland grant program is part of a suite of measures by the Miles Government, investing over $207 million into Queensland manufacturers and support programs.

“Our plan for manufacturing in this state is about providing our manufacturers with the support they need to get on with the job, so they can reach the next level,” Butcher emphasized.

“This is a stark contrast to the LNP, who when in government, cut industry support programs, resulting in thousands of job losses,” he added.

Christophersen also highlighted the new opportunities for Priestley’s: “This project will create a substantial number of new jobs for Queenslanders, as well as add to the state’s economy.”

“This increased productivity means that we’re able to retail an exciting new range of products directly to consumers for the first time—meaning they can indulge in a sweet treat whenever they feel like it,” he stated.