Mondelez International has partnered with the University of Melbourne to establish a A$10m (US$7.5m) research hub that aims to gather insight into consumer trends in south-east Asia. 

The research can be used to inform “innovative ingredient use”, consumer experience, product design and packaging, the University said. Six research streams will be investigated at the “Unlocking the Food Value Chain” hub, focusing on developing insights into ASEAN markets, consumers, advanced packaging and food presentation as well as supply chain management. 

Research outcomes will be shared with small and medium sized businesses and the “wider sector” through an open innovation model. 

Hub director Frank Dunshea said the resource would help businesses who want to export food products to south-east Asian countries. “The Australian food industry is driven by innovation – in how we target consumers, in the products we create, in how we market and deliver them,” he said. “Businesses exporting to south-east Asia need to understand their market and how they can deliver the best possible product at competitive prices. This hub provides services which will enable Australian businesses to do so.”

Jim McCluskey, University of Melbourne deputy vice-chancellor, said the hub would help “maximising Australia’s high-quality food exports” and “supporting the future food consumers of our ASEAN neighbours”. 

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McCluskey continued: “We are especially grateful to Mondelez for partnering with us in this major research effort, as an example of academia and industry working side by side toward important national goals.”