‘Food Industry & Health Sector Collaboration’ event aims to drive sector competitiveness and health outcomes for the Central Coast community

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Central Coast Food Alliance was proud to partner with the Greater Cities Commission, University of Newcastle, Central Coast Research Institute and Central Coast Local Area Health to deliver the ‘Food + Health Ecosystem Collaboration’ workshop on Wednesday 27th June 2023.

The event brought together more than 50 people from across the local Food and Beverage Manufacturing and Health Services ecosystems, to explore opportunities to work more collaboratively in order to accelerate innovation which improves health and wellbeing outcomes for our community and bolsters the economic significance of our local Manufacturing and Health sectors.

The workshop fostered dozens of new connections across the diverse network of attendees and sparked innovative thinking which could lead to new collaborative research or innovation projects.

Food and Beverage producers, researchers or health sector organisations working to improve health & wellbeing outcomes, should reach out to Alex Blow, Central Coast Food Alliance Manager to explore how local collaboration could help accelerate or scale their impact.

Central Coast ‘Aussie Beef Mates’ event strengthens the region’s reputation as a ‘foodie’ destination.

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Investment NSW, Meat & Livestock Australia and the Central Coast Food Alliance were thrilled to host a group of food industry professionals from around the world, visiting the Central Coast on Friday June 2nd, 2023.

The event provided a unique opportunity to promote Central Coast-based food and beverage producers as part of a week-long immersion designed to establish a network of global ambassadors who will showcase the quality of NSW agricultural and food products in their home countries, supporting export and business development opportunities for the local food industry.

The visiting delegation included 16 food industry professionals (head chefs, restauranteurs, retailers, food media & hospitality venue managers) from 11 countries, including Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, USA, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and England.

The event included highly engaging presentations from Ian Hemphill, Founder of Herbie’s Spices and Professor David Cameron-Smith from the University of Newcastle and local producers which showcased their products for the visitors included; Hawkesbury Brewing Co, East Coast Juices, Mars Food Australia, Eggzi, Ananda Food, Herbies Spices and Boutique Sauces.

The visiting delegating shared their perspectives on emerging food industry trends and innovation opportunities including;

  • Education is key to driving Consumers’ understanding the functional benefits of everyday food and drink products
  • ‘Small Batch’ production is a motivating claim for Consumers, as it implies lower processing and higher quality
  • Price is important, but Quality is the #1 consideration particularly for high-end restaurants
  • Soil quality and ethical and regenerative farming techniques are increasingly important to Consumers and Buyers
  • Avoiding ‘green-washing’ in marketing is critical to maintaining credibility

The visitors also observed that the Central Coast Food industry is unique in the world for its high levels of connectedness and the way it works collaboratively and leverages complementary strengths.

Central Coast-based food beverage businesses wanting to explore export opportunities should contact Sharon Foster, Senior Export Adviser, Investment NSW via email

Launch of refurbished food laboratories – 11th March

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Positioned to drive food innovation in the region, the University of Newcastle’s Central Coast campus has launched newly refurbished teaching and analytical Food Science laboratories.

With an investment of $1million, the original laboratories have been transformed with new workspaces, state-of-the-art teaching technology, and analytical and product development facilities.

The upgrade and expansion of the food labs, testing services, and industrial scale kitchen provides an innovation platform to drive industry-led product science research locally.

University of Newcastle Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Lee Smith said the new kitchen and laboratory facilities will allow the Faculty of Science to continue to produce high quality graduates for the local and international labour markets. 

“Presently, there are around 100 undergraduate students studying food science and human nutrition at Ourimbah campus. We’re very proud that over 90% of our food science graduates find employment within three months of completing their degree.

“Importantly, the kitchen has been redesigned to commercial food preparation standards to empower small, local food enterprises to trial and develop new product lines outside of normal teaching times,” Professor Smith said.

Executive Officer and Director at Central Coast Industry Connect, Frank Sammut, said the opening of the food science labs is another milestone in the journey of making the Central Coast a Food Innovation Region, giving an account of the progress made since its inception back in 2017. This included the establishment of the Central Coast Food Alliance as the vehicle for industry to engage and collaborate with each other, university and government.

“As an industry, we are fortunate that we have a facility like this Food Science school in the heart of our region. It provides a great opportunity for industry to do product development alongside staff and students at the campus, in modern well equipped laboratories.  

“It is also the source of our future talent and we need to continue to engage with the university to help shape its future investment in facilities, equipment and student programs to support our industry. To the University I thank you for the investment,” Mr Sammut said.

In the presence of food and beverage industry representatives, university staff and government agencies, the newly refurbished teaching and analytical labs were officially opened by the University of Newcastle’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, the  Dean of the Central Coast Campus, Dr Brok Glen, and Central Coast Industry Connect Executive Officer, Frank Sammut on Wednesday 11 March.

Central Coast Food Alliance “Building Networks event”

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Good roll-up to Central Coast Food Alliance ‘Building Networks’ event

The Central Coast Food Alliance held the first of its food industry ‘Building Networks’ event for 2020 in mid-February with over fifty food industry participants attending. The Alliance falls under the watchful eye of one of the region’s most trusted brands, ‘Central Coast Industry Connect’. “Just as Industry Connect is built on a foundation of collaboration, and strong networks, the ‘Building Networks’ event series for the Food Alliance allows food industry piers to build important relationships, expand knowledge, and develop opportunities,” said CCIC Executive Officer Frank Sammut.

The event was exclusively for business from the agriculture, food, beverage manufacturing and processing, and hospitality sectors including food support services. We heard from Peter Crane, Chair of the Central Coast Food Alliance on what has progressed since the inception of the Alliance, and more importantly, the type of support and opportunity the Alliance offers business and the sector at large.

A video presentation that the Alliance had made featuring Oz Tukka, producer of Australian native spices and oil products based at Redhead in Lake Macquarie was screened for the participants. Linda Dipper and Ray Kochel discovered bush foods 18 years ago and ended up buying the Oz Tukka business. In 2018 they were invited to attend the Fine Food Australia exhibition in Melbourne as part of the Flavours of NSW stand. “It is important that we tell the story of food. There are some amazing companies in the sector producing fantastic products, and it’s important that we highlight the talent in the sector, not to mention diverse range of career opportunities available” said Alliance General Manager, Dan Farmer.

Cheesy smiles all round

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Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy results for 2020 are out. Central Coast’s very own cheese factory, Little Creek Cheese, gained 1 gold, 2 silver and 5 bronze awards, in what was a very competitive event.

A family owned and operated cheese factory has been winning awards every year for their handmade artisan cheeses. This year is no exception with 8 highly sought after awards out of 10 products entered.

Gold this year went to their club cheddar Cumin Seed, silver to Club Cheddar Peppercorn and Yoghurt Cheese Balls Garlic & Thyme ( Labna ). The other awards went to Club cheddar Fig & Walnut, Club Cheddar  Bacon, B.B.Q. Cheese ( Haloumi ), Marinated Goat Salad Cheese with Garlic & Dill ( Goat Fetta ) and Marinated Salad Cheese Aussie Bush.

“We are so proud of what we are producing right here at Wyong” stated Sue Parsons, cheesemaker and owner. Russell Parsons owner and cheesemaker said, “I still get amazed when locals visit us at our factory and say the didn’t know we are here.”,” We have been making award winning cheese less than hour from Sydney!”. Mr Parsons added “this is the way cheese should taste, we make it with passion and love”

The factory is open 10am to 4pm every day and has viewing windows to see where the magic happens. This year they have introduced bookable experiences to show off what they do.

Located within the Wyong Milk Factory, a must to visit.