Brisbane food suppliers take slice of the global market with business accelerator

6 JULY 2023

Dozens of home-grown Brisbane products could be stocked on shelves and served across the globe, thanks to a program dishing up support for local businesses.

Brisbane Economic Development Agency’s Future Food global accelerator has returned for 2023 to help ten local food suppliers scale and export to new markets.

Since 2018 the Future Food Initiative, has supported more than 400 businesses, generating $480 million in economic activity with JBS Foods Australia, Merlo, Priestley's Gourmet Delights, and Kehoe's Kitchen among past participants.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said supporting local suppliers was crucial to retain and create jobs and business investment in Brisbane.

“We are committed to ensuring Brisbane continues to be the most small-business friendly destination in Australia,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Brisbane has all the right ingredients for the food industry to thrive: fresh, locally grown ingredients, advanced manufacturing capabilities and port access to some of the world’s largest markets.

“We want to make sure Brisbane suppliers can grow their impact locally, and scale globally, by connecting with networks and buyers that can fast-track products to the market.

“This Future Food Initiative is a fantastic launchpad for expansion for these local Brisbane businesses.”

As part of the initiative, businesses participate in an eight-week global readiness accelerator facilitated by industry leading experts and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

Past participant Alexander Bell, Director of Milton Rum Distillery said the program had helped him connect with key investors and contacts in the food space.

“BEDA were able to help us build our network and find our collaborators,” Mr Bell said.

“It allowed us to turbocharge our growth, so rather than struggling with the challenges of growing a small business all by ourselves, we had access to networks and data we would never have had access to before.”

Food, beverage and grocery manufacturing generated $27 billion in turnover for Queensland’s economy in FY20/21, employing over 52,000 people and producing $7.4 billion in exports*.

Brisbane City Council granted over 8,300 food business licences in 2022, including 548 for bakeries, 264 for mobile food, 615 for food manufacturers and 48 for beverage bottlers.

The figures show industry has rebounded since licence numbers dropped to 7,813 in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more information on our programs and events visit the Future Food Initiative page.

2023 Future Food cohort

  • Airgarden – producers of aeroponic gardening systems for fast growing herbs and vegetables.
  • Beutific – offers consultation and product research for skin care and nutraceuticals.
  • Dairy Free Down Under – creators of vegan cheeses and sauces, from “mozzarella to “parmesan”.
  • Fare Share – operators of Brisbane’s largest non-profit kitchen cooking free meals for vulnerable people.
  • GreenSky Organic – creators of “Veggie Pods” which can be added to drinks and meals.
  • Jim's Jerky – producers of beef jerky and biltong made with premium Australian steak.
  • – developers of waste-reducing compost systems for food producers and commercial kitchens.
  • Lang's Gourmet – creators of gourmet jams, chutneys, sauces and dressings.
  • Optivance – creators of nutrient smoothies for expectant mothers and toddlers.
  • Pakko – producers of bespoke packaging for products of all shapes and sizes. 

*Figures from the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s State of the Industry Interactive Dashboard.

Kehoes Kitchen Jars on conveyor belt