The ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods works in a collaborative partnership with First Nations Enterprise and Advisory Groups.
Broadly, in collaboration with our Industry and First Nations partners, we aim to transform the Native Food and Agribusiness Sector through scientific, social, economic and legal research on native foods, plants and ingredients. In accordance with our Policies and Procedures we adhere to best practice research protocols to protect the rights, aspirations and interests of our First Nations partners, and support them to identify and develop products and services across the entire native botanicals value chain.
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 and support First Nations enterprises create new products made with native ingredients. This will help to 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. Working in partnership with First Nations partners, 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 & First Nations Participation
A key objective of the Training Centre is to work with First Nations partners and collaborators to help them develop sustainable business models which involve all stakeholders, by identifying social factors and beneficial First Nations participation across the whole of the native botanicals value chain – from raw material to finished foods.
Access and Benefit Sharing for native foods
A key objective of the ARC Training Centre is to make a critical evaluation of different access and benefit sharing laws that may have implications for the Australian native botanicals industry, including First Nations communities and partners. In doing so, the Training Centre also seeks to examine best practice models for the collection and use of native plants and foods, including regulatory requirements for the exportation of native foods and plants to Nagoya Protocol – compliant countries.
Using marks and designations to build and sustain local food and agriculture
A key objective of the Training Centre is to analyse the use of specific designations and marks for the protection and promotion of native Australian foods whether trademarks, geographical indications of origin or alternative forms. The Training Centre will conduct several case studies, such as the UNESCO City of Gastronomy and the Unions for Ethical Biotrade to explore how these alternative formats may offer innovative insights into consumer behaviours in the Australian native food markets, including the marketability and sales of native foods and products in foreign markets. In doing so, the Training Centre will further the work being done by our partner ANFAB in ensuring global access to export markets for the growing number of native food products and ingredients.