TFI in major plant-protein investment collaboration in South Australia

Beef Central, 01/03/2022

A new partnership involving red meat processor Thomas Foods International, the Australian Milling Group, Australian Plant Proteins, the South Australian Government and the Federal Government is set to invest over $378 million in the construction of three plant protein manufacturing facilities to produce products for domestic and international markets.

The project will result in South Australia becoming home to the largest pulse protein ingredient manufacturing capability in Australia.

The Morrison Government is contributing $113 million in funding, stating that the project will deliver thousands of new jobs and “supercharge Australia’s place in the global plant-based food value chain”.

The project is being facilitated under the Collaboration Stream of the $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

Thomas Food Internatonal is one of Australia’s largest family-owned food producers.

APP owns Australia’s only commercial scale pulse protein extraction facility. This project will quadruple production in South Australia, to produce 25,000 tonnes of pulse protein yearly.

South Australia produces over a quarter of all Australian pulses and this project gives Australia the opportunity to value-add by up to eight times the value of the product.

Locally based plant protein ingredient and food manufacturing will create a new high value-added domestic supply option for pulse growers which will in turn have downstream benefits to local communities.

The South Australian Government has also contributed $65 million to the $378 million project.

Minister for Finance and Senator for South Australia Simon Birmingham said the investment was “a win for jobs, a win for SA’s pulse farmers and it would take our state’s manufacturing capabilities to a whole new level”.

“This investment by Government along with the private sector will put SA ahead of the pack in the manufacturing of products for the high-growth domestic and booming global plant-based foods market,” Mr Birmingham said.

“It is a major step forward in transforming South Australia into a plant-based protein manufacturing and export powerhouse.

“It will not only generate thousands of local jobs but has the potential to generate billions in export dollars for our state.

“Demand for plant-based foods is booming globally. Just as SA leads Australia in renewable energy generation this investment will put us at the forefront of capitalising on this environmental trend too.”

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said projects such as this will help spur further private investment to help our manufactures scale up.

“Manufacturing is strong in this country and we want to see it become even stronger,” Mr Taylor said.

“Australian made food products with Australian produced and manufactured ingredients will give our food manufacturers a significant advantage in this rapidly expanding global market.

“These investments are about increasing the productivity growth and job creation that we know collaboration can deliver.

“We also know that for every manufacturing job we create, at least another three are generated in other industries thanks the multiplier effect that our investments have on the broader economy.”

SA Premier Steven Marshall said the announcement would create a large-scale plant-based food and beverage value chain for South Australia and unlocks an entirely new export industry for the state, and the nation.

“South Australia is already world-renowned for our premium food and produce and we now have a first mover opportunity to capitalise on the emerging global demand for plant protein-based food,” Premier Marshall said.

“You need a strong economy to be able to invest in hospitals, schools and roads and you can trust my Government to build a stronger future for all South Australians.

“Under the State Liberal Government, we have the fastest growing economy in the nation, allowing us to invest in hospitals, schools and public services which have driven us to be independently recognised as the most liveable place in the nation, and third most liveable in the world.

“Today’s announcement is all about creating more jobs, opening the door for more South Australian exports and making sure we create a stronger future for our kids and grand-kids.”

The project is expected to create up to 1345 construction jobs and 384 new direct manufacturing jobs by 2024 and eventually support more than 8,500 new full-time positions in the supply chain and economy by 2034.

It is also expected to generate up to $4 billion in exports by 2032, including to the US, south-east Asia and Europe.


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  1. Graham johns, 01/03/2022

    My vote was with steven marshall until i read this article. South Australia won’t have the “fastest growing economy in the country” if you are going to ignore the industry that has been your backbone for 150 years. Thomas foods should be ashamed of themselves, they have gone from owning cattle stations ( in partnership, trading as T&R Pastoral) although doing a very bad job of managing them to now completely backflipping to say we now manufacture vegan food.
    If you were looking forward you could see that in years to come it will be understood that meat is an important part of human consumption and plants cannot replace this.

  2. George Willows, 01/03/2022

    Following the massive amounts of money wasted by federal and state governments during the Covid debacle I fail to see the logic in contributing a further $178 million of tax payers money (nearly 50%of the cost) to a project to produce plant based protein (meat substitute).
    Surely private enterprise should fund the full cost of this ,especially as they are convinced that there is huge demand for the product.

    • Sue Grant, 02/03/2022

      Shameless vote buying by Morrison and Marshall.

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