Food innovators fast-track their business growth

17 JULY 2019

Artisan bakers, brewers and coffee connoisseurs are among 23 stand-out local food and beverage businesses selected for a bespoke industry development program which is strengthening Brisbane’s reputation as Australia’s home of food innovation.

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said the Global Markets and Investor Readiness program, delivered as part of Brisbane Economic Development Agency’s Future Food Initiative , will provide the recipe for success to see the latest cohort join the likes of Ozganics and Sofi Spritz.

Cr Adams said Brisbane had all the right ingredients to make it a world-class centre for food innovation and lead the way in shaping the country’s future food and beverage market.

“Brisbane is getting behind its food and beverage innovators and with good reason – our region is ripe for the picking with high-quality produce, robust supply chain infrastructure, cutting-edge research and development, and bold entrepreneurialism,” she said.

“It makes sense to lever and nurture the businesses within our ecosystem, and in turn attract greater investment, tapping new consumer markets, and propelling local job growth.”

She said the four-month program began with diagnosing the core challenges the businesses face, and then tailoring the support and advice to help each individual business achieve their goals, whether it be to pursue funding, grow domestically or even enter international markets.

“This year’s cohort has a great depth of diversity, with both emerging to established business, a strong weighting of female founders or co-founders making up half of the businesses onboard, and two indigenous owned companies,” Cr Adams said.

“There’s everything from coffee, ice cream, chocolate, and beer manufacturers, through to food science for medical purposes, a farming social enterprise and robotics for horticulture represented this year.

“Each of these companies will have access to industry-leading experts, mentors, tools, and knowledge to help them to succeed globally.”

Cr Adams said it was the 4th year of the Future Food Initiative, in recognition of the important role this rapidly-evolving sector plays in Brisbane’s long-term economic growth.

“Our reputation globally goes from strength to strength and the Future Food Initiative continues to focus on supporting the food and beverage businesses in the Brisbane region.”

The 2021 Global Markets and Investor Readiness program cohort was announced at Future Food Boot Camp today, an annual half-day thought leadership event that brings together heavy hitters from across the industry to discuss future trends, areas of opportunity, and to celebrate and share success.

For more on the Future Food Initiative’s programs and events, visit .

2021 Global Markets and Investor Readiness program cohort


Food Innovation

17 Rocks ChocolatesAnnette Muller (Owner)

Seventeen Mile Rocks manufacturer of pure chocolates from whole foods without additives or preservatives. A growing family business with 6 staff, they sell both wholesale and retail.

Ballistic Beer
David Kitchen (Founder)

Salisbury based award winning maker and seller of craft beer, in addition to running hospitality venues has a team of 40 full time staff.

Coffee Stream Of Australia
George Kalatzis (CEO)

CBD based coffee grower, roaster and manufacturer with 20 full time staff currently exporting to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

CPF Green Solutions Pty Ltd
Ron Plant (Founder)

Darra based biotechnology business extracting essentials oils for human consumption with 3 full time staff.

Custom Foods
Aidan Penell (Managing Director)

Wacol based contract manufacturer of innovative dietary and sports related supplements with 88 full time staff who currently export to New Zealand.

East Forged
Kym Cooper (Co Founder)

Wilston based maker of award-wining nitrogen infused cold brewed teas, elevating the tea experience into social drinking occasions.

Flavour Creations
Bernadette Eriksen (CEO)

Acacia Ridge based business that designs and develops a broad range of nutritional products and functional foods with focus on dysphagia management. With 92 full time staff they are currently exporting to Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, China and New Zealand.

Food Connect
Robert Pekin (Co-Founder)

Salisbury based social enterprise established to create a fairer food system. Food Connect ethically and transparently engage local farmers and makers to supply ecological food that is in season and super fresh paying local farmers up to four times the amount of the big food chains. Their produce is then delivered all over Brisbane and surrounds. 2019 LMBA winner and Market Ready Alumni. Exponential growth has a resulted by leveraging the shift in consumer behavior (online food ordering) ambition to expand nationally - license business model.

Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers
Benjamin Cleary (Co-Founder & Director)

The Paddington based 2019 Market Ready alumni is a producer of gnocchi and sauces and has 25 full time staff.

Kehoe's Kitchen
Katina Kehoe (Managing Director)

Murarrie based producer of certified organic and natural probiotic, fermented food including sauerkraut, kimchi, cashew “cheese”, garlic paste, mustard and fermented veggies. Their products are sold to 1,500 retailers nationally including Woolworths.

Lick Ice Cream
Kim Douglas (Co-Owner & General Manager)

Seventeen Mile Rocks located manufacturer of ice creams, sorbets and frozen desserts. Their ice cream is made from only three ingredients – cream, eggs and sugar. Their ice cream is handmade, and their flavours are customised to the needs of chefs, retail outlets and catering companies, resulting in approximately 2,000 flavours from smoked hay to horseradish and olive oil to vanilla bean. They have 7 full time staff.

Lisboa Caffe
Joe Rocha (Director)

Dutton Park based artisan bakery specialising in Portuguese custard tarts. With 4 full time staff, their products are retailed at farmers markets across Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast with distributors in Queensland and Victoria.

LYRO Robotics
Juxi Leitner – (Managing Director & Co-Founder)

Eight Mile Plains based robotic business with 3.5 full time staff, LYRO creates the brain, eyes and the hands for smart robots to help farmers overcome sort and pack their produce.

Anna Kerwick (Head of Marketing)

Eagle Farm based wholesaler and retailer of roasted coffee producers with over 1,400 wholesale customers across Australia, owning and operating 15 retail outlets and an online store selling and delivering freshly roasted coffee and devices to houses and offices across Australia.

Milton Rum Distillery
Alexander Bell (Managing Director & Master Distiller)

Milton based young rum distillery who have brought a fresh approach to the rum scene with a high-quality spirit produced using new techniques and the latest innovations in distillation. With 1 full time member of staff they are currently exporting to Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa.

Murawin (Game Enough?)
Carol Vale (Managing Director)

Banyo based and Indigenous owned and operated boutique food business specialising in a range of products containing game meats and native plant ingredients.

Abbey Cameron (Co-Founder & CEO)

Brisbane CBD based fresh meals prepared and delivered straight to your door with 7.5 full time staff.

Ocean Orchards
Adrian Spierings (COO)

Yandina Creek business that are growing and producing their own spirulina and other microalgae. They have developed a food product that allows the amazing nutritional profile of microalgae to shine while removing the terrible taste.

Priestley's Gourmet Delights
Ken Hartley (CEO)

Morningside based family owned dessert manufacturing business with manufacturing facilities in both Australia and New Zealand as well as contract manufacturing for a range of corporate customers. They currently have 158 full time staff.

Seipel Group
Tracey Seipel (CEO)

Ashgrove based research and development focused nutraceutical company known for it is bladder control product who are the Lord Mayor’s Business Awards Winner 2020 (Optus Business Platinum Award & Australia Pacific LBG Award for Business Innovation). They have 10 full time staff and are currently exporting to USA.

Straddie Brewing Company
Kylie Taylor (Chief of Everything)

Narangba based craft beer brand, currently producing small batch craft beer for wholesale utilising a Brisbane based contract manufacturer. Their goal is to build a tourist destination Craft Brewery on North Stradbroke Island.

U-CHEWS Australia
Scott Nicholas (Director)

Clontarf based manufacturer converting protein waste into value added all-natural dog treats with 23 full time staff. They are currently exporting to Canada, USA, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.

Zandi Organics
Belinda Young (Director)

Tarragindi based artisan purveyor of premium quality, plant based, nutritional wellness latte blends that make it easy to incorporate more plants into your day.

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