Three years ago, Dr Roger Sexton AM established Beston Global Food Company (BFC) with the aim of putting nutritious, sustainable and verifiably safe foods in front of people in emerging economies.
He wanted to see them enjoy a better standard of living and realise their human potential. In simple terms, he wanted the world’s growing population to be able to access good nutrition.
The closed-loop supply chain evolves from BFC owning the raw product through to controlling distribution. Along the way it takes advantage of technology in food processing and ensures food security through transparency in raw material sourcing and processing.
“To do that, we invest both in companies that are already capitalising on emerging Asian markets, and those that have the ability to do so with products that would be well received in those markets. For example, organic yoghurts and products like the Scorpio ‘Yarra Valley’ range,” Sexton says.
In April the company signed a manufacturing and distribution agreement with Chinese company Hondo Agricultural Company to produce, market and distribute a range of allergen-free, ready-to-eat (RTE) meat meals in China. The Yarra Valley branded meat is owned by Scorpio Foods, one of the companies BFC has recently invested in.
Under Chinese import regulations, Australia can't export processed meat products to China, but can export meat that’s raw or on the hoof (live animals). The deal with Hondo sees Scorpio export frozen, boned-out meat to China, where Hondo will make RTE meals to Scorpio’s recipes under licence. On top of revenue earned from fees for services and selling the raw materials, Scorpio will earn a royalty on its intellectual property.
Scorpio, which is based in Colac in western Victoria, is currently sourcing the meat from its home state, and Hondo’s output will naturally depend upon meat volumes sourced.
Product provenance is another important part of the equation. OZIRIS technology, developed by Beston, allows the consumer to track and trace the whole product from the cattle right through to the end product.
The Victorian-developed technology also gives food manufacturers data around where the product is scanned. And while it doesn’t give BFC an ability to then interact with the consumer in Brussels or Shanghai who’s looking at cheese, that might be the next phase.
While the mission to take healthy eating to the world’s growing communities has so far focused on Asia, Beston has also been spending a lot of time and effort in entering into the Middle East. The vision is broad, and the company continues to expand.