Overview of the Food Processing
The food, beverage and pharmaceutical product manufacturing industry includes four main sectors: food processing and manufacturing, beverage manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and wholesaling/retailing of the above. Each of these sectors has a range of sub-sectors.
In general, the sectors are characterised by a large number of small and medium-size producers who are producing for local or niche markets, and a smaller number of large producers who are often multinational companies and operating globally.
A significant number of the workforce occupies roles specific to:
- Factory process workers such as food/beverage process workers, packers, product assemblers and product quality controllers; and
- Food trade workers such as bakers and pastry cooks
A significant portion of the workforce is also employed to undertake more general roles, such as specialist managers (i.e. business administration, marketing and sales, production, supply and distribution), clerical and administrative work, and sales.
Various sectors within the industries are highly regulated, some more so than others, driving the need to review and update, or develop new, units of competency ensuring training package components reflect current regulatory requirements.
Key macro forces that currently challenge and provide opportunities for these four industry sectors include:
- Global food security significance and higher food demand in expanding markets, such as the Asia Pacific region, reflected also in a number of government policies aimed at facilitating the sector’s growth
- The range of therapeutic goods reforms, which is expected to encourage innovation and provide patients with faster and early access to lifesaving, innovative medicines
- Climate change and its effects on the upstream sectors, which create both challenges and opportunities for many food processing sectors to increase collaboration with the supply chains; these partnerships will aim to support decisions and development of more resilient crop varieties and large-scale farming systems
- Export growth of food, beverage and pharmaceutical products and clear customer trends, which provide opportunities for businesses to achieve greater adaptation of products to more diversified markets; and, where there is the greatest potential for value-adding, develop targeted marketing of different product qualities to market segments
- Ongoing development of enabling technologies that allow for more efficient and sustainable food, beverage and pharmaceutical processing, integrated packaging, enhancement of the nutritional value of products and reduction of waste and water use
Food processing work in Australia is carried out by several small, medium and large enterprises that focus on manufacturing confectionery, dairy products, meat, poultry and seafood products, beverages, egg-based products, fruit, vegetable, nut, herb and spice products. Much of the work is covered by Certificate II and III qualifications.