First Nations food firms in Qld receive backing in a push for large-scale manufacturing

The team at FIGJAM. Image credit:

The Queensland Government has provided funding to three First Nations native food enterprises in Queensland to pave the way for product development, bulk production, and manufacturing trials. 

The latest round of funding, backed by the government’s Indigenous Native Food Program, aims to aid First Nations-owned and operated businesses in developing and commercialising new food products with native food ingredients. 

In particular, partnerships with FIGJAM and Co, Yaala Sparkling and Beechtree Distilling Co are underway in a push to expand their foothold in Australia’s $50 million native food market.

The businesses receive targeted support from researchers including consumer-led formulation development, process development and practical scale-up, packaging selection, end-product shelf-life assessment and validation, and consumer and sensory testing.

The initiative also provides opportunities for companies to engage with raw material and equipment suppliers, contract manufacturers, marketers, and distributors.

For one, the program is assisting FIGJAM and Co in reviewing its condiment line, manufacturing methods, raw ingredients, prices, supplies, and labelling. 

Products will be designed to fulfil regulatory standards, retain optimal taste, texture, and nutrition during shelf life, and prepare for scale-up trials and bulk manufacturing.

Yaala Sparkling is receiving assistance in making product changes in response to physico-chemical testing results and customer comments.

 In order to prepare for mass production, the team will also be creating new goods that will be scaled up. 

Furthermore, Beachtree Distilling will get assistance in evaluating new manufacturing techniques, locating and screening raw materials, and creating a new line of products using local culinary items.

The business will be able to process these items, expand manufacturing, and diversify its product line as a result.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner stated the Palaszczuk Administration is supporting these companies to ensure their success, so they may introduce delectable new Queensland flavours to the world.

“We want Queensland Indigenous businesses to get the opportunity to display their creativity, innovation and culture by helping them to get the best from their product offering,” the minister remarked.

Meanwhile, Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the program is intended to help First Nations-led businesses expand local knowledge and employment.

The program is a combined effort of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and the Department of Tourism, Innovation, and Sport (DTIS).