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11 May 2018

A Crop harvesting robot, a live probiotic fruit drink and gold leaf encrusted shortbread were some of the unique innovations showcased at Food Innovators: Inside Queensland’s thriving agri-food ecosystem on Friday 4 May in QUT’s The Cube.

View photos from the event

An initiative of QUT and MIT REAP Queensland, the event inspired and engaged audiences with the latest innovations in food and agriculture taking place in Queensland. The afternoon program included an expert panel discussion, interactive research displays and opportunities to taste food and beverage products from more than 20 food makers, including a decadent grazing table curated by Wandering Cooks. Refreshments were supplied by local beverage startups Spring and Grove and MYK’s FFF kefir.

QUT’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB) presented a range of snack products and spreads made from pulses, developed through an industry partner.

Other QUT research on show included displays by biosecurity expert Grant Hamilton and digital agriculture researcher Alan Woodley. Harvey the capsicum-picking robot made an appearance with roboticist Chris Lehnert and interaction designer Deb Polson displayed the future fruit simulator; a customisation interface for 3D food printing.

An insightful panel discussion was facilitated by QUT Bluebox Tim McLennan and included local food entrepreneurs, agricultural researchers and representatives from state and local government:

Angela Hirst, founder and director of Wandering Cooks
Wandering Cooks is the hub of the Brisbane food community, uniting artisan food producers, chefs, buyers, suppliers, educators and the food-loving public. Angela is a qualified chef, with a PhD in Food Ethics from UQ. She has cooked in restaurants in London, Paris, Hoi An and Brisbane, worked for Food Connect (a community supported agriculture enterprise), taught research students at UQ and QUT, developed her own cooking classes and catering company and reviewed restaurants for Brisbane Times and Gourmet Traveller.

Prof Sagadevan Mundree, Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB) Director
Sagadevan leads the research team at QUT's Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities (CTCB) who are helping to feed the world by developing more resilient and nutritious tropical crops such as bananas, chickpeas, lentils and mung beans. CTCB supports agricultural advancement in developing countries in Africa, India and South-East Asia. Their pro-vitamin A enriched 'super banana' is expected to ease the suffering of millions of African people by alleviating vitamin A deficiencies which can lead to blindness or death.

Geoff Goh, Business Manager - Food & Agribusiness, Trade and Investment Queensland
Geoff is the Business Manager - Food & Agribusiness for Trade and Investment Queensland. Trade and Investment Queensland plays an active role in promoting Queensland internationally as an attractive place to source clean, green, sustainable good products and provides support to agri-food businesses looking to scale globally.

Penny Wolff, Co-Founder, Wolff Coffee Roasters, Dandelion & Driftwood and Queen of Pops
Penny is the Co-Founder of three iconic brands crafting a niche in speciality tea and coffee in Brisbane and beyond. Penny had a vision of replicating the 'in-cup' experience of a coffee and turning it into a popsicle. With support from FIAL, Penny worked with a food technologist to overcome the technical challenges to launch their range of Pops.

Abbey Cameron, Co-Founder, Caveman Kitchen
Tired of companies promoting 'healthy food' that was actually full of nasties, Abbey founded Caveman Kitchen, a fresh and healthy meal delivery service. Using only the best Australian sourced ingredients, Caveman Kitchen provides weekly meals to customers in South-East Qld, NSW, Canberra and Melbourne.

Andrew Nielsen from Brisbane Marketing, spoke of the Future Food Brisbane program and highlighted upcoming events for aspiring food entrepreneurs.

Food Innovators was proudly hosted and supported by QUT.

QUT event partners:

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