By 2025, the industry is working together to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace.
We are a small team with diverse industry experience. Our collective skill-set covers all aspects of the food and agribusiness value chain; from research and product development to packaging and exporting.
Our practical experience is coupled with a passion to see the Australian food and agribusiness sector grow.
Managing Director, Dr Mirjana Prica, is an enthusiastic visionary who focuses on entrepreneurship and innovation to deliver commercial value. Mirjana sits on boards and advisory groups for cooperative research centres, universities, research and industry organisations, where she leverages her 20+ years of research and commercial experience in materials, minerals, food and agribusiness. Currently, Mirjana is leading FIAL, a national and industry-led organisation, established by the Commonwealth to drive innovation and market initiatives for Australia.
General Manager Operations
Vicki is a senior executive with experience across listed organisations, public sector and start-ups. Her industry experience covers agribusiness, retail, membership organisations, recruitment and government departments.
She is a passionate leader with an innate ability to quickly identify inefficiencies and implement cost effective solutions to ensure teams focus on value-add activities which deliver benefits for all stakeholders.
Vicki’s technical abilities include marketing strategy, investor relations, media relations, recruitment and administration. She holds a Bachelor of Business and a Master of Business Administration.
General Manager Innovation
Barry is an innovation manager with 30yrs in the food manufacturing industry and has held senior technical, innovation and commercial leadership roles in companies with key food manufacturing companies in Australia. An inventor by nature, Barry has created new products & processes for domestic, Foodservice and export markets, while leading innovation culture development within companies. While a member of a range of national advisory teams, Barry is now leading initiatives to strengthen the Australian innovation culture and capability to help companies find increased success both domestically and overseas and better connect the Australian research and manufacturing sectors.
General Manager Commercial
With more than 10 years of buying and category management experience, Senior Executive, Rod Arenas has extensive industry knowledge of both the local and international food and agribusiness markets. He has worked with industry heavy-weights. He is an expert in emerging trends, brand and product management and product development. He brings a combination of commercial qualifications – postgraduate in International trade focusing on global trading. Rod has a wealth of experience in e-commerce and management in both imports and exports at large FMCG organisations within retail, shipping, international trade documentation and banking including ANL, MSC, JP Morgan and ANZ.
General Manager Food Sustainability
Carolyn has over 40 years of experience in environmental and strategic planning as an academic, consultant and public sector manager for state and national governments. She has worked in six states and territories, including rural service delivery roles with the NSW and Victoria state governments. She established the Victorian Department of Primary Industry’s Practice Change team, using research and extension science to improve land management and production practices with primary producers.
More recently Carolyn was a Senior Executive with the Commonwealth Department of Environment, leading teams to undertake strategic environmental assessments and regional sustainability planning across the country. Since 2015 she has been a senior consultant on complex environmental management projects, applying her skills in policy analysis and interpretation for state governments and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
James is an innovation manager experienced in the food manufacturing and food service industries. Holding roles in technical, innovation, nutrition and regulation roles in Australian and multinational companies. He has experience in launching new household name brands and reinvigorating existing brands for new market and customer opportunities. James is a passionate supporter of innovation in the Australian food and agribusiness landscape.
Market Development Manager
Charles Li currently holds the position of Market Development Manager at FIAL. He uses the insights gathered through consultation with the food industry to develop programs and initiatives and help the businesses to establish knowledge and capabilities, create connections, and increase food & beverage export and domestic revenues.
Manager Food Sustainability
With a background in on-farm environmental programmes and policy development, and working experience of both New Zealand and Australia, Sam brings an in depth understanding of agriculture, dairy and food production to FIAL. Sam is passionate about agriculture and enhancing our natural environment and is continuously seeking solutions for sustainable food production.
Melissa is a connoisseur of good food. Born into a family of restaurateurs, she has travelled far and wide in pursuit of delicious grub. But most importantly, Melissa cares about the social and environmental issues affecting global food systems – which is why she studied a Master of Global Food and Agricultural Business in 2016. With broad experience in the food and agribusiness industry, Melissa joined the FIAL team as a Communications Manager and has since been spreading the good word. She is committed to driving change and helping businesses navigate the murky waters of an ever-increasingly complex global marketplace.
Meena has over 15 years of business administration experience with SMEs across a wide spectrum of industries. She thrives on finding solutions to create the most streamlined operational and administrative solutions for different types of organisations. Her passion for the food industry and her personal involvement in multiple successful start ups has allowed her to develop a wide range of skills across all facets of a business. Driven by problem solving, these skills are being applied to optimise the running of FIAL to the benefit of our stakeholders, customers and the entire Food and Agribusiness industry.
Special Advisor Food Waste
Mark joined the FIAL team in July 2019 and brings with him a successful 25-year track record of driving sustainable innovation in agri-food; and supporting the development and implementation of sustainable food systems. This includes over 15 years’ experience in quantifying and preventing food loss and waste in the UK, Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.
This body of work has involved: developing the international evidence base for food loss and waste; national baseline development (volumetric, compositional and behavioural); strategy development and the annual tracking of progress at corporate, sectoral and national levels. He has established world-leading public/private sector voluntary commitments, working with leading food businesses to reduce food waste, redistribute surplus food to those in need and support food waste valorisation; and run award winning consumer-facing behaviour change campaigns.
During this time, he has implemented over 50 research and innovation projects with food and drink companies and advised the boards of companies like Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S, Walmart, Cooperative Foods, Danone and Nestle. He has been an advisor to the United Nations since 1996 and continues to advise UN Environment on food systems and behaviour change-related issues. Mark’s roots were in the international finance: covering international foreign exchange and commodities markets and fraud and anti-fraud programs.
Michele Allan has a background in Applied Science, Business Administration and Commercial Law. Michele is a valued Fellow at the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is current Chancellor of Charles Sturt University. Michele has directly influenced a review into wheat export, Horticulture in Tasmania and the allocation of investment in cleaner technologies in manufacturing. Michele is the Chair of Meat and Livestock Australia and Apple and Pear Australia Ltd and serves on the boards for CSIRO, Grain Growers and Innovation Australia. Michele assumed the role of Chair on Friday 12th July 2019.
Geoff Starr, has a wealth of international experience building consumer markets in Australasia, Asia, Europe and the USA. Geoff, who is commercially minded and intimately understands consumer needs, successfully served as CEO at George Weston Foods and Foodbank. In 2014, Geoff was appointed by the Minister for Industry as a Food and Beverage supply advocate. Geoff has sat on a number of Boards including Foodbank, Australian Pork Ltd and the Australian Food and Grocery Council.
Director - Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics
Dr Hermione Parsons is an Industry Professor and founding Director of Deakin University’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics. (PhD (Monash), Master Urban Planning (Melbourne); BA Hons (Monash), Dip Ed. GAICD)
Dr Parsons has extensive executive management experience in public and private sector organisations with responsibility for port landside logistics, multimodal infrastructure, competition, regulation, supply chain reengineering in the fresh produce industry, and industry government relations. Areas of research expertise include end-to-end supply chain strategy, managing supply chain complexity, and problem solving port freight logistics in metropolitan, regional and international markets (particularly South East Asia).
She is Chairperson of the Wayfinder: Supply Chain Careers for Women Initiative; a member of the VicTrack Board’s Freight Advisory Committee; Chairperson of the Supply Chain Advisory Network; a Member of the Australian Government National Food Waste Strategy Steering Committee; and ‘Critical Friend’ to the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources National Food Traceability Program.
We're the food and agribusiness growth centre. We're the voice of industry to government. We connect businesses with researchers to innovate new products and services.
We work closely with agencies to help businesses export. We help Australian suppliers understand new market opportunities and the steps required to start an export journey.
FIAL's 2019-2020 Business Plan includes programmes and initiatives that will realise the vision of the Food and Agribusiness (F&A) sector. This vision is: By 2025, the industry is working together to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace.
This report covers the period July 2017 to June 2018. It summarises the work undertaken by FIAL through its various initiatives to strengthen the sustainability and resilience of the F&A sector.
Over the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in businesses' appetite to participate in the global marketplace, and diversify their sales channels to expand their product's footprint.
Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) successfully transitioned to the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre on the 1st July 2016. During the 2015-16 financial year, FIAL continued to be the catalyst for collaboration, integration and solution sourcing for the Australian food and agribusiness (F&A) sector.
During the months 2015 and 2016, we conducted extensive face-to-face consultations across the country asking for input from the Food and Agribusiness Industry.