The ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods works in a collaborative partnership with Indigenous Enterprise and Advisory Groups.
Broadly, in collaboration with our Industry and Indigenous project partners, we aim to transform the Native Food and Agribusiness Sector through the development of selected crops, foods and ingredients. Adhering to best practice protocols which protect the rights, aspirations and interests of our Indigenous project participants, we are working together to convert Traditional Knowledge into branded products.
The broad objective for each area of research is as follows.
Composition and sensory quality
Native plant foods are potently flavoursome and exhibit a broad range of different types of sensory qualities. Wattle seed for example, comprises a number of different species, each exhibiting its own completely unique flavour profile when roasted from nutty and chocolate notes to herbaceous and spicy. Further, products grown in different regions may have distinctive flavour properties due to the environment from which it is grown, harvested and/or processed.
A key objective of the training centre is to identify and describe the sensory qualities of the target native food species as well as new food products made with native ingredients. This will ensure high consumer acceptance and uptake of native foods in the global market and provide a point of distinction for Australian-grown product.
Food safety and toxicity
A key objective of the Training Centre is to define and mitigate any safety or toxicity issues with novel native plant foods and botanicals to facilitate access to major global markets.
Bioavailability and nutritional quality
Native plant foods are loaded with phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and other nutritional components. An objective of the training centre is to understand what components are present in native plant foods that contribute to maintaining good health. The research will also explore how the nutritional components are absorbed and taken up during digestion.
This technical information will support branding and market development.
Social Factors & Indigenous Participation
A key objective of the Training Centre is to work with Indigenous partners and collaborators to develop sustainable business models which involve all stakeholders, by identifying social factors and beneficial Indigenous participation across the whole of the value chain – from raw material to finished foods.
Trademarking and benefit sharing
Understanding how native botanical business development benefits communities is essential. While a new opportunity may have commercial potential, it may not be beneficial to or wanted by the community from which the opportunity originates.
A critical part of this training centre is to understand how new businesses in native botanicals are valued by a community and to focus on developing businesses that result in meaningful employment for indigenous people on-country. Further, the development of a model benefit-sharing framework will be developed to ensure business success is reflected in communities and on-country in a culturally appropriate way.
An important issue facing native foods in the global market is addressing the legal requirements for ‘safe food’ recognition in major target export countries. The training centre will further the good work being done by our partner ANFAB in ensuring global access to export markets for the growing number of commercial native food products and ingredients.