MIL-OSI Australia: Australia is an R&D hotspot for Campbell Arnott’s

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Source: Australia Government – AusTrade

July 2018

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Cutting-edge food technologies, quality produce, an educated workforce and proximity to Asian markets makes Australia a prime research and development (R&D) location. Embracing these benefits enables Campbell Arnott’s, a division of the US-based Campbell Soup Company, to succeed internationally.

‘Campbell’s is striving to be the leading health and wellbeing food company in the world,’ says Jennifer Moss, Vice President R&D, Asia Pacific. ‘Our Australian R&D initiatives are crucial to ensure continued growth in Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, China, Latin America and North America.’

Opportunities in Australia

Australia has many opportunities for international food companies. ‘These include access to quality produce and having one of the highest proportions of entrepreneurial agrifood and agtech startups in the world,’ says Moss.

Promoting health and wellbeing, sustainability and food transparency by using high-quality fruit and vegetables is an area of growth for Campbell Arnott’s.

‘Australia’s great tasting, high-quality produce and its ability to develop products – particularly in the health and wellness space, feeds into our Australian R&D efforts and export success,’ Moss adds.

‘We are also linking with Australian SMEs, startups and scaleups as we move into a new world of innovation.’

Setting up in Australia

A fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, Campbell Arnott’s expanded into Australia for its quality agriculture, clean food that could be produced into products, and advanced technical and supply chain capabilities.

The company has a longstanding history in Australia. In 1962, Campbell’s established itself in Shepparton, Victoria. As Campbell’s ventured into the snacking category, it acquired Australian company Arnott’s in 1997. Australia became the ideal hub for the company’s Southeast Asian development base.

‘Campbell Arnott’s employs over 2,000 people across its Australian operations,’ says Moss.

‘A lot of R&D activity is undertaken at our Centre of Excellence located in Sydney.

‘We have approximately 70 people working on R&D in Australia, conducting upstream research through to product development. Our Southeast Asian and global Arnott’s expansion teams support the export of products from Australia, and Indonesian and Malaysian product development.’

Campbell’s products include soups, stocks and the V8 juice brand. Tim Tams, Shapes and sweet biscuits are some of Arnott’s leading products.

‘These items are produced in Australia for the Australian market and, depending on the range, exported to Southeast Asia, Japan, Hong Kong and further,’ says Moss. ‘In 2015 we even launched Tim Tam biscuits into the US.’

Innovative R&D technologies

Over the past five years, Campbell Arnott’s has invested more than A$500 million to upgrade its existing Australian facilities with leading-edge manufacturing technologies. In 2016 it opened its Culinary and Science Innovation Centre in Sydney, a A$3 million state-of-the-art facility that drives innovation for Campbell Arnott’s across the Asia Pacific region.

‘From an international R&D perspective, Campbell’s leverages Arnott’s baking technology and experience growing wheat in Australia,’ says Moss. ‘The ability to grow new grades of wheat assists with biscuit development and in the past we’ve been in breeding programs with different Australian Research Council grants.

‘The Australian team at Campbell’s is well known for developing technologies to produce non-bitter tasting whole grains and specific biscuit baking processes.

‘Food transparency and clean labels are one of Australia’s strengths, and provenance is something that Millennials demand,’ Moss explains. ‘As Millennials become a larger share of the global market we are using Australia’s demographic shift as an R&D testing platform for the rest of the world.’

Agile, high-quality partnerships and workforce

Partnerships with the University of Queensland, University of NSW, government agencies such as CSIRO, and other industry partners allows Campbell Arnott’s to increase product R&D, and initiate projects around sensory experience to improve customer satisfaction.

Moss also states the high-quality, agile partnerships that can be formed between the private sector, government, industry and education partners in Australia make it easier to create and manage agile R&D programs.

‘The quality of our Australian partnerships and the fact they are focused on smaller scale markets with great technologies makes Australia an ideal test bed,’ she says. ‘There is a lot of alignment in how these partnerships work, which makes it easier for us to develop technology together.

‘Another focus is the quality of people we employ in Australia and Southeast Asia that have graduated from Australian universities. Campbell’s global arm provides innovation growth funds to undertake research in Australia based on the strength of this capability.’

Advice to others

Campbell’s story demonstrates Australia has plentiful opportunities for market growth. Moss shares her advice for global companies considering expanding into Australia.

‘I encourage others to apply for the R&D tax incentive and utilise Australia’s world-class, quality scientists and technology,’ says Moss. ‘Using Austrade’s capability to provide connections with different research groups in the agtech and agfood industry is also very helpful, and has helped us identify partners we weren’t aware of previously.

‘Finally, it is important to remember the benefits Australia offers as an export platform. While we lead the biscuit category in Australia, our ability to export high-quality products around the world from Australia is a critical factor in what we do.’

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