CEO Update Article

Crickets and Geographical Indicators

   Monday 9th September, 2019

It was inspiring to be at Global Table in Melbourne last week, there was a real buzz in the air around the Melbourne Showgrounds and by all accounts, the event was very well attended for its first year.

Burra Foods, ViPlus Dairy and Gippsland Jersey all took some space in the Trade Zone to showcase their brand and their products to the masses - and were kept very busy with enquiries from delegates from all over the world.

There was a very big focus on sustainability, innovation and finding alternatives to traditional foods, as well as reducing food waste. With food waste in the home being about 34 % and on farm 30%, the more we can do as individuals, and then as businesses, to address this, the better.

I found the focus on alternative proteins to be very interesting, and the developments in this space will certainly challenge some old-school eating habits

The crickets were an acquired taste, but their crunchy texture was great!

It's really encouraging to see an alternative to "chicken" in the Sunfed Meats Chicken Free Chicken that got a lot of attention, both at the event and in the general media.

Maybe what could also be considered as their business ( and other businesses like this one ) expands is for their product range have niche original product names and imagery that don't actually use any reference to the real meat protein name (in this case, chicken) – it just seems a bit fairer to everyone that way, including those who are running ethical businesses producing the real chicken meat.

Plant based proteins are definitely one of the big growth markets, both here in Australia and all around the world as we tackle all of the challenges like climate change, increases in population and decreases in the percentage of available grazing land for traditional meat sources.

And as we strive to achieve strategic targets for the food & fibre sector in Gippsland, emerging new markets like this will be an important component of that growth strategy.

Global Table was certainly a fantastic opportunity to network, with both local, national and international connections - it was great to see a healthy contigent of Gippslanders from Regional Development Victoria, Gippsland Regional Partnerships and some Food & Fibre Gippsland board members be able to make it to the event.

Geographical Indicators

Food & Fibre Gippsland and Gippsland Regional Partnerships hosted a round table dicussion on Friday at Lardner Park on Geographical Indicators and the potential impact/s that this has on our region as a whole.

The round table was well attended by industry and government, particularly the dairy sector, which does stand to be potentially be impacted the most in Gippsland.

An important date to diarise and work towards now is the 13th of November.

You have until this date to submit your thoughts and objections to any product naming conventions that you think may impact your business directly. We encourage you to seek advice from relevant industry bodies and / or source some independent legal advice.

We see some very positive potential in this issue as we are working towards creating our own 'global' brand and provenance story for Gippsland.

The EU see the GI issue as important to their global trade position as they have a long history of food production and they want to retain the IP behind the products that are special and specific to particularly regions.

Effectively, they want to block the ability of other businesses benefitting from using the same naming protocols when the goods they produce are nowhere near the location where the produce that has created the reputation in the first place, is found.

Check out the website link for for more details.

As I've been out visting members over the last few weeks, I've definitely been willing the rain towards the Wellington Shire and East Gippsland. From the Latrobe Valley west, we have definitely had plenty and are more than happy to be sharing and sending your way – if only it was that easy !

And on the subject of new members - we welcome another two to the member tribe this week, with Mannys Market and the Fisher's Group now part of the collaborative force that is Food & Fibre Gippsland.

In the coming weeks and months we will share more with you about what these two leading Gippsland businesses do.

We look forward to working with them both to explore opportunities together in the food & fibre sector.

Until next week