23/10/2007 - 22:00

New group to lobby for food industry

23/10/2007 - 22:00

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Some of WA's biggest food producers and manufacturers are behind the establishment of a lobby group aimed at providing a united voice for the food and beverage sector, as well as promoting and developing the industry’s growth.

New group to lobby for food industry

Some of Western Australia’s biggest food producers and manufacturers are behind the establishment of a lobby group aimed at providing a united voice for the food and beverage sector, as well as promoting and developing the industry’s growth.

The Food Association WA Inc comprises a six-member committee, chaired by Golden Egg Farms chief executive Phil Steel, and will be officially launched at a function next month.

The association claims to represent about 75 per cent of the food and beverage sector, with other associations such as The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc and the WA Wine Industry Association, joining as members.

Two other food associations – the WA Food and Beverage Exporter Association and the Food Technology Association of WA Inc – have merged into the new entity.

Heading up the lobby group is former Department of Agriculture and Food development manager, Andrea Berteit.

Others on the founding committee are: Chris Delima, a director of Hungry Jack’s and KFC parent company Competitive Foods Group; Challenge Australian Dairy Pty Ltd chief executive officer Peter Giddy; Canon Foods managing director Richard Pace; lawyer John Healy; and Leanne Wesche, who operates Pacco Group, WA’s largest fruit and vegetable packing house.

Producers including Berri Ltd, D’Orsogna, Coca-Cola Amatil (Aust) Pty Ltd, Harvey Fresh, Anchor Foods, Kailis & France Foods Pty Ltd, have also joined the association.

Ms Berteit told WA Business News the food industry was very fragmented in WA and the association aimed to identify common issues running across various sectors to address and overcome to help develop the sector.

 “It is very hard for many companies to sustain a good business and a lot of the bigger companies are leaving WA,” Ms Berteit said.

“By identifying some common issues, we have a better chance.”

She said The Food Association WA also intended to provide input on government policy formations.

Ms Berteit said food labelling was one area in which the association would work to achieve better outcomes for its members.

The Food Association WA received about $150,000 in seed capital from the state government to help fund its development.

The association will continue to generate income via membership fees, events and training services.

“We want to bring people in who can talk to our industry,” Ms Berteit said.

Next month at the launch of the association, Metcash Ltd chief executive officer Andrew Reitzer will present the keynote address focusing on current trends and future directions of the supermarket industry.

Ms Berteit said presentations like these could help suppliers understand how retailers operated and how best to service them.

“It is easy for people to whinge about why they can’t get into Woolworths or Coles, but they do need to have the scale and the volume,” she said.

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