Waltanna Farms in Hamilton, Victoria – the cornerstone of TUI Foods – has received almost $2.5 million in the latest round of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative for a new purpose-built automated food production facility.
It also received $50,000 from the Energy Efficient Communities grant program.
Waltanna is a market leader in grain-based value-added production and product development. Together with TUI Foods, this project will enable Waltanna to undertake a major food manufacturing capability investment at the company’s Hamilton site.
This $2.45 million investment will culminate in a new 6500 square metre manufacturing plant and enable two new key capabilities for Australia’s first oat-flax syrup production capability and investment into a specialised dehydration technology for nutraceutical and innovative food ingredients.
The requisite dehydration technologies are leading edge, resulting from a collaboration with AgriDry in Toowoomba. The TUI team via its TUI Labs division; employing a team of scientists and engineers, has been working with this firm to undertake R&D into world-first methodologies for energy efficient drying whilst maintaining food quality and nutritional value.
The R&D has been completed and the new low temperature method will be employed at this facility. Brand customers have approved the trial samples.
The next capability is via investment into the oat-flax syrup plant. Waltanna works with CSIRO and TUI to develop a novel plant-based milk ingredient. The facility will allow for 600 square metre for the process installation, incorporating nitrogen plant, seed cleaning, pasteurisation, and enzyme treatment and coolrooms.
This project will result in an anticipated export supply opportunity of additional 30 per cent over a period of two years.
The project will create 133 new highly skilled jobs in Western Victoria and 532 indirect roles within five years across areas of logistics, retail, agricultural production and farm management, general business and more.
Federal Member Dan Tehan said Waltanna is a tremendous local success story and will use its $2.4 million grant to continue to grow its manufacturing capability in Wannon.
“This is big win for jobs not only in Southern Grampians but also throughout the entire Australian supply chain,” Tehan said.
Tehan also announced “Waltanna and TUI Foods will be recipients of the Energy Efficient Communities grants program. Waltanna received $25,000 to invest into a BioFuel Recovery project and Tui Foods received $25,000 for a heat recovery system for a grain drier, bringing the total investment into local manufacturing at Waltanna to $2.45 million.
TUI Foods CEO Tony Cartwright welcomed the investment.
“We’re very grateful to the federal government for this Modern Manufacturing Initiative funding.
“This funding enables us to highlight how small business can bring together a collaboration of Australian agriculture, food, manufacturing, and engineering industries to reverse the current model of importing billions of dollars of food ingredients.
“Instead, we can grow, and value add to our own home-grown produce at scale to supply domestic and global markets,” Cartwright said.
Michael Nagorcka from Waltanna Farms said, “We are now able to supply local Western District food products in much greater quantity to existing and global markets.
“Through recent Trade agreements with India and the UK we now have greater opportunities created by Dan Tehan and his government. The flow on effect of all this increased exposure for local agricultural produce in the global market, creates increased employment opportunities here at Waltanna Farms and the specialised contract services that we will require,” Nagorcka said.
Listen to the Food & Drink Business podcast episode with the TUI Foods team here.