A Sunshine Coast company that has invented world-first technology it believes will revolutionise the dairy industry is close to seeing its dream become a reality.
Coolum-based food technology company, Naturo, has developed a process that can keep milk fresh for more than 60 days.
The staggering breakthrough will create massive export opportunities in Asia, with the longer-shelf-life product able to be shipped and sold to huge new markets.
Currently only a small quantity of Australian milk, which perishes after 14 days, is air freighted to other countries, where it can cost the equivalent of $12-13 a litre.
The processing innovation has been independently tested and industry regulator, Dairy Food Safety Victoria, has approved it as a safe and healthy alternative to pasteurisation.
This found it was able to kill the bacterium that can make untreated milk harmful to people and keep the refrigerated product fresh for an amazing 91 days.
The global dairy industry is worth $US413 billion ($A532 billion), with milk being the largest category.
The Morrison Government has backed the innovation with a $1 million grant.
Naturo will use its Accelerating Commercialisation grant to build a pilot manufacturing plant in Coolum for its world-first patented technology for processing milk that is nutritionally superior and has a longer shelf life.
Following the federal government’s funding boost, Naturo will complete the pilot project and the milk could be available to purchase in supermarkets within months.
Naturo is among nine Australian businesses sharing in $4.4 million in matched grant funding to expand their operations.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the Government was helping companies such as Naturo that were pushing the boundaries of the possible.
“I’m so impressed by the ingenuity and determination of Aussie businesses like Naturo who are using science and technology to turn bold ideas into job-creating realities,” Minister Andrews said.
“This grant will help the company build a pilot plant in Queensland to create their product and then export it to the world, while also paving the way for a full scale facility to be built in regional Tasmania.
“Through the commercialisation of innovative products and services like this we’re also creating new jobs and giving a much needed boost to our economy as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This project also demonstrates the incredible opportunities in the food and beverage sector, which is why it’s one of the six priority areas under our Modern Manufacturing Strategy.”
Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien threw his support behind the project after meeting with Naturo Founder and CEO Jeff Hastings last year when the company was looking to build in Coolum.
“I’ve always maintained that the Sunshine Coast is the most innovative region in Australia and this world first food preservation technology was invented and developed right here on the Sunshine Coast,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I am delighted Naturo chose Coolum for its new factory.
“Naturo’s fresh milk products open up significant export opportunities for local diary products and the company has also developed a world first process that stops fresh avocado from turning brown which is great news for our local growers.
“This world leading technology, together with the new Sunshine Coast International Airport and a series of Free Trade Agreements, enhances the export potential for local food producers,” he said.
Information on how to apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation grant is available at www.business.gov.au/ep