Monash Food Innovation Half Yearly Newsletter 2019

Monash Food Innovation Half Yearly Newsletter 2019

The pioneering Food Innovation initiative is now 6 years old! Cause for celebration! And they said we'd never make it!

The pioneering Food Innovation initiative is now 6 years old! Cause for celebration! And they said we’d never make it!

It is often said, ‘From tiny acorns, large oak trees grow’ and this is certainly true for the evolution of Monash Food Innovation (MFI). It all began with a three year investment from Mondelez International before transitioning to Monash University in 2016, and in the blink of an eye, we are now three years old at Monash University, with many more years to come! Where has the time gone? Our collective legacy lives on retail shelves and market places throughout Australia and our ideas are on sale every moment of every day.

We have assisted the small and the big spanning Start Up’s, SME’s, Multi Nationals, Research hubs, local, state and federal Governments, International businesses from China, Indonesia and Singapore to name a few. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the ongoing engagement and support from you, our valued clients and friends and for this we salute you! We are proud to have helped thousands of Businesses and individuals realise their ambitions and become better at what they do. The variety and nutritional value of food and beverages has blossomed during this time and we are proud that many products we have influenced provide consumer choice, will be enduring and feed generations to come. Here’s the Food Innovation team recently celebrating the 6 year birthday of a bold endeavour that was devised to inspire new frontiers in food innovation with knowledge and assets that were unparalleled in Australia and indeed, the world!

Our celebration is your celebration too, so kindly take a moment to enjoy our half year newsletter. We have endeavoured to fill it with the most interesting stories , initiatives and knowledge so far this year that make for an enjoyable read.There are product launches, training partnerships, the latest innovative methods for success, international and domestic conference highlights as well as the exciting news of food taking centre stage for tailored Monash education courses of the future.

Launches in the market place, co-created with our Industry Partners

Darrell Lea

Time to chomp down on some MFI designs impacting market. While eight out of 10 Australians know Darrell Lea, many might not be aware that in 2019, the company produced its very first chocolate block. As of a few months ago, 80% of their business was in the liquorice market. This resurgence in the chocolate category with their new block chocolate has seen competitors looking down a rocklea road!

Monash Food Innovation’s design team re-invigorated Darrell Lea’s offerings of generosity and flavour through a block design that offered more. The block design had to offer a stand-out sensory experience with consideration given to the finest details such as ‘how will the pips break?’ MFI spent weeks iterating the design and working towards achieving the perfect block form, weight and demoulding ability.

MFI also helped de-risk the production process through the use of 3D printing and producing trays which food technologists could test the recipes in. This process has enabled Darrell Lea to rapidly test and validate a new product offering before outlaying both money and larger amounts of time.

‘Experience the difference’ and try the range of 6 delicious Blocks at any major supermarket.

MFI and Coles join forces to train in accelerating innovations to market

MFI Capability and Coles Learning and Development programs have recently joined forces. The outcome is a unique, state of the art, innovation capability training course for Coles Category Managers, conducted at Monash University, Clayton campus.

This program is being jointly run by Monash Food Innovation and Coles.

Anna Croft (GM Coles Grocery) heralded the early benefits of Monash and Coles collaboration at the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) event at the Hilton, Sydney in late May. MFI are equally delighted that Coles selected the world class Monash Food Innovation expertise and facilities as its partner in this most important learning and training initiative for its entire team of category managers. 

MFI is a purpose-built facility designed to apply food innovation disciplines to businesses in the way they work, think and create to accelerate innovations to market with a customer centric approach. MFI takes the best of science, research and technology to bring together suppliers, retailers, the consumer and the knowledge of the University. Techniques to upskill and de-risk innovation such as customer design led thinking and product and packaging prototype design, shopper research and virtual reality technology can lead to higher rates of commercial success. 

The learner journey for all Coles Category Managers has certainly been enhanced via being offsite at Clayton and immersed in this premier facility. Heightened innovative thinking and methods to ensure better outcomes will lead to bigger ideas and more breakout initiatives. It has been well known in the FMCG industry for some time that technology has needed to take a greater role in bringing ideas to life and Coles and Monash have forged a partnership to pioneer a new way of creating and screening the best ideas. We collectively look forward to continuing to challenge each other and influencing the marketplace of tomorrow as this partnership continues.

Accelerate and de-risk your innovations to market rapidly through DESIGN SPRINTS

Over the last 6 years there is one consistent message from our industry partners, “Help us to accelerate our product innovations to market and ensure we increase our chance of success”. 

You would agree, there’s no guaranteed pathway for success and definitely not a magic, silver bullet solution! 

The good news is, MFI has now designed a bespoke approach to help your next innovation challenge using a design sprint approach. Whilst you may be familiar with design sprints in other sectors, this approach is tailored based on our years of experience in commercialising food and beverage products globally.

Most recently we have worked with Patties Foods to help accelerate their new brand, Ruffie. The intensive ‘sprint’ allowed these new chilled meals to be ready to launch   6 months ahead of their original timeline. The original 8 month timeline had been reduced to 8 weeks!

The MFI sprint brings together the proven MFI innovation approach, tools and technologies. Rapid co-creation with cross functional teams to develop product and packaging prototypes are sense checked with target consumers/end users in rapid fire rounds.For each round, the prototypes are made more robust with key design feedback in real time with full cross-functional alignment. Through visualisation tools such as virtual store reality, teams can test rapidly in planogram or in-store activations to decide what resonates. The desired outcome is product, packaging, claims, communications and precious design guidelines that then allows industry partners to translate these into their NPD stage process and accelerate quickly to launch.

View Patties Testimonial here

To find out more on how we can help your business design and sprint through to launch with our network partners, reach out to Adam Norris.

Adam Norris,

In line with our new vision of co-creating to solve the big global challenges facing the future of food, we have been out inspiring,providing thought leadership on topics from innovating for sustainable growth,how to be ready for disruption, how to solve for the big global challenges facing the future of food, personalised health, nutrition, wellness and digitisation and export pathways into Asia. A few highlights we would like to share:

Speaking in Milan, Italy at Seeds & Chips - the global movement for Food Innovation

Angeline was invited to speak at two speaking sessions. The first was on day 1 as part of panel on the “Innovative Women Solving for Global Food Challenges”. Angeline shared the stage with an amazing and stellar cast of women Susan Rockefeller, Board Member, Stone Barns Centre for Food and Agriculture,Danielle Nierenberg, President Food Tank, Natalie Shmulik, The Hatchery Chicago, Morgan Oliveria, Grounded PR, Benjamina Bollag, Higher Steaks, Zuriel Oduwole, Teenovator. A publication on the panel was published by Ag Funder.

View article here.

The second session was: The Final Frontier: The Evolution of Technology & The Food System, Howard-Yana Shapiro, MARS Inc, Bryan Crowley, Soylent, Angel Versetti, Ambrosus, Marc-Andre Roberge, Nectar, Illay Englard, Rellis, Martina Orofino, Teenovator.

This was a fantastic opportunity to be part of The Global Table delegation. The Global Table is the biggest Food Innovation and AgriFood event in the Southern Hemisphere, happening in Melbourne in the first week of September (3-6). Do book your diaries as this is one event you do not want to miss and network with the whos who of food innovation globally. More information is here:

Got a bright idea that could change the future of food? Show it to the world via the Innovation Expo at Global Table. Cutting-edge products, services and minds will be on show, bringing the best ideas of tomorrow to the leaders of today. Apply to be part of it.

MFI was also invited to speak again at AFGC Conference in Sydney in May in Navigating China for Australian Brands sessions on the topic of “Winning the hearts and minds of the Chinese consumer”. We shared the session with Matthew Mckenzie, The Export Group  and Duncan Makeig, CEO China Road.For Brands interested in understanding if your opportunity and product is right for the China market and consumer, do reach out and speak to us on our exclusive pathway into China with COFCO NHRI. Through this pathway we can help to understand if your innovation is right and help you de-risk your offer to Chinese consumers with a number of partners available to support you on your journey from opportunity identification to launch in China.

Other Speaking Highlights

The Naturally Good Business Summit where we spoke on how Food and Beverage businesses can innovate and disrupt in their categories by challenging the status quo a packed room of small and medium businesses looking to innovate in health and wellness categories.

We were invited again to speak to Asialink Business Leaders Program in Canberra. This was the fourth time we shared our perspectives and experiences to enable cross sector organisations on business in Asian markets and innovation approaches to win in these markets. This year we shared the session with DD Sexena, MD of Riverina Oils who shared his journey in building world class capability and manufacturing that led to the establishment of Riverina Oils.

We were invited on a panel session at Healthy Ageing Catering Summit to share innovations and trends that would impact the future of aged care and ways organisations can start to innovate from personalised nutrition to looking at technologies such as 3D food printing to solve for issues such as disparghia in the elderly. One of our clients AVEO also shared the initial feasibility work the team have completed in exploring 3D food printing for swallowing issues by printing vegetables such as carrots, broccoli with precise nutrition requirements and printed in different shapes to provide dignity on plate for our most vulnerable populations.

We shared the stage at Hort Connections with an invite from PMA (Produce Marketing Association) to speak on the state of industry panel for horticulture which coincided with the launch of the report by PMA and EY.


Attracting the brightest minds to Food and Agriculture Sectors

Monash Courses now include FOOD


2019: Masters of Advanced Engineering, FOOD elective
(starting late July)
2020: Masters of Food Science and Agribusiness (Semester 1)
Monash University,for the first time in its nearly 60 year history is offering students the chance to study and advance their ambitions in the burgeoning industry of‘food’. 
Who will study these exciting new FOOD courses?
  • Graduates of science or other disciplines aspiring to be employed in the food industry
  • Graduates from local, Asian and International universities
  • Professional development/upskilling for the ever increasing food industry workforce 

Some of the cutting edge topics that will herald the unique Monash Food courses

  • Food science and technology, nutrition, agribusiness, future food supply, consumer and customer understanding
  • Navigating changing planet pressure points on supply (ie, population, health, environment, water,climate)
  • Commercial literacy(P&L, regulations and policy) 

Skills developed by taking these courses:

  • Work-ready for current and future food industry
  • Fact finding, innovative and creative thinking* Applied thinking and problem-solving (eg, waste utilisation)
  • Management skills, project management, new product development, margin enhancement
  • Translation to fast moving consumer goods industry

Monash University offers students the opportunity to gain industry experience whilst earning credit towards their degrees in the fields of Business, Arts, STEM and Education. Organisations have the opportunity to host a student for 10, 20 or 30 days where they are able to produce meaningful work as long as they are adequately supervised. As students are undertaking the placement as part of a recognised program of study, hosts are not obligated to offer remuneration. Monash runs five intakes a year with a mixture of part time and full time options.  

To host a WIL student, an organisation must have a physical working space and have the capacity to provide supervision and learning opportunities for students. If you are interested in hosting an intern in 2019, please email

Preparing PhD and Early Career Researchers of today… For tomorrow!

Monash Food Innovation (MFI) is proud to be working with the Monash Food and Dairy Graduate Research Interdisciplinary Program (GRIP) in delivering professional development workshops for our PhD students. Monash has secured 11 Industry partners and 14 projects with the express aim of solving innovation challenges for commercial benefit.

MFI has been commissioned to undertake a series of 3 hands on workshops designed to upskill GRIP participants in the art, and science, of successful innovation. 

The 3 workshops series aimed to build capability for PhD students and Researchers. The first workshop concentrated on being able to nurture an innovation culture and understand intrapreneurial behaviours to empower participants to make a difference during their placements. The second workshop explored proven methods for bringing new ideas to life from the seed to shelf. The final workshop, just completed in mid June concentrated on design led thinking. MFI and MADA’s (Monash Art, Design and Architecture) D-Lab took students through methods that increase the understanding of the value chain and potential commercialisation pathways.

All in all, students were exposed to practical tools that will assist them during their GRIP placement. The feed back from the three workshops was extremely complimentary concerning relevance to assist research programs immediately as well as building a skill base for the future. 

Have a look at the following video to get a flavour for the journey of business challenges and research findings blossoming into commercialisation.

Enabling Singapore Food and Beverage SMEs and talented students to solve for new innovations for the Australian Market.

Monash Food Innovation (MFI) is working in partnership with Enterprise Singapore to explore the opportunities for 8 Singaporean based SME’s to break in to the Australian & New Zealand (ANZ) Food Market. 

A group of 24 Monash University students, from the faculties of Business, Science and Engineering, will undertake a 10-week WIL Program, run by MFI. In teams of 3, students will learn the tools and techniques which will enable them to assess the SME’s Business Challenge and develop a product offering that fits the ANZ Market.  

The program will culminate in a final Bootcamp week where representatives from the 8 SME’s join the 24 students and MFI at Monash University. We will go through an intense week of Design Sprinting to rapidly generate innovative product ideas and prototypes. All teams will then present to a panel of industry and university senior leaders. One team, adjudged to have provided the best solution up against their business challenge, will have the opportunity to travel (expenses paid) to Singapore for an industry familiarisation trip. 

We look forward to bringing you an update in the next newsletter. 

Singaporean SME’s we are working with:

Team News 

An update from Professor Ken Sloan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Enterprise) Monash University.

It is with regret that I announce that Dr.Angeline Achariya, COO & CCO of Monash Food Innovation (MFI) is leaving to take on a new role within the food industry. Angeline joined Monash in 2016,and was instrumental in the transition of the Mondelez Food Innovation Centre to a partnership between Monash University and the Victorian State Government. Since then, Monash Food Innovation, under the expert leadership of Angeline,has been committed to advancing the Food and Agriculture Industry, focusing on engaging and building capability for innovation and growth for over 7,000 Food and Agribusinesses from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and China, and supporting commercialisation through the formation of a strong network of end to end partners providing pathways into the Australian and Chinese markets. 

This year Monash University announced a renewed commitment to resolving challenges in Food and Agribusiness by connecting Monash’s interdisciplinary capabilities in food systems innovation and related activities to develop the next generation of sustainable food ecosystems with global connectivity. Angeline’s widely recognised expertise in this field has been fundamental to supporting the University’s transition towards engaging network partners across a broader scope of research and innovation projects to deliver impact across key focus areas including AgTech, the transformation of food waste, exploring the next frontiers in the manufacture and efficient distribution of sustainable food and dairy products, and developing future talent for the food and agricultural sector. 

I wish to congratulate and thank Angeline for her passion, leadership and many achievements supporting innovation in food and agribusiness during her time at Monash University, and I wish her every success as she embarks on a new opportunity within this field.  

To continue the work to resolve global challenges in food and agribusiness and transition to a sustainable food and land use system, we will shortly be going to market for the recruitment and appointment of an Academic Director role with Monash Food Innovation. An announcement regarding the replacement for the COO & CCO will also follow in due course. 

Additional message from Angeline 

What a ride it’s been since starting the initiative now called Monash Food Innovation about 6 years ago in Mondelez International with the support of the Victorian Government. As a collective team we started a world first innovation model that was born to support and grow Victorian’s food and beverage sector. As I leave, I am very proud of everyone that has been in the team, supported us through your advice and guidance. To our Australian and global Food Industry, your support in trusting us with your innovations to market and building innovation capabilities in your organisations has today build Monash Food Innovation with the support of Monash University’s commitment to now fully sustain the model. Of course it will always evolve and I look forward to still being connected in some way and supporting MFI’s future.

Contact Us 

So we began by celebrating our 6th birthday and the MFIC team continues to be energised by the possibilities of the future and we’d relish co creating this with you.

The balance of 2019 will be packed full of new topics and programs in the form of a future focused research symposium, knowledge talks and topics of interest, refreshed workshops bringing best practice innovation tools and interactive learning as well as the ability for you to request bespoke programs tailored just for you and your business personnel. Be sure to for all the latest details. 

To register interest or seek further information,email Program Manager Rod Heath on

We look forward to seeing you at some of these events before the year is over!