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Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing industry, which is one component of the Food and Pharmaceutical industry cluster.

The Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing industry can be seen as having five sub-sectors:

  • Food Processing and Manufacturing
  • Beverage Manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
  • Nutraceutical Manufacturing
  • Wholesaling and Retailing.

The industry includes 12,480 manufacturing businesses and 27,000 wholesalers and retailers, collectively employing approximately 721,000 people.

The sectors are characterised by a large number of small and medium-size producers who are producing for local or niche markets, and a smaller number of large producers who are often multinational companies and operating globally. Total sales turnover of the manufacturing sectors increased by 4.3% (or $4.656 billion) to $113.9 billion between 2013–2014 and 2014–2015.

Nationally recognised training in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing sector is delivered under the Food Processing Training Package.

Vocational education and training is required for occupations such as:

  • Bakers and Pastrycooks
  • Food and Drink Factory Workers
  • Food Preparation Assistants
  • Sales Assistants.

The relevant Industry Reference Committees are the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical IRC and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing IRC.

Visit the Meat page for information on that industry sector.

Information on primary production, including seafood is covered in the Agriculture and Animal Care Management industry cluster pages.

Information on sales and hospitality is available in the Retail and Wholesale, Personal Services, and Tourism,Travel and Hospitality industry clusters.

Information on distribution is covered in the Transport industry cluster.

Information sourced from the Food, Beverage and Pharamceutical IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment levels across these three industry sectors have varied from 2000 to 2017; however, for all these sectors the employment level is higher in 2017 than it was in 2000. Employment levels are expected to increase slightly by 2022 for all three sectors.

Of the occupations related to the Food Processing Training Package, Food and Drink Factory Workers is the occupation which makes up the largest proportion of the Food Product Manufacturing workforce (14%), Bakers and Pastrycooks, and Sales Assistants and Bakers and Pastrycooks at just under 12% each. Similarly, Food and Drink Factory Workers make up just under 12% of the Beverage Manufacturing industry.

In contrast, Storepersons , Machine Operators and Packers are more common VET-related occupations in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry. However, overall the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry has lower proportions of VET-related occupations than Food and Beverage Manufacturing industries.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 19,500 program enrolments in the Food Processing Training Package in 2016, along with over 5,700 program completions and around 7,300 subject-only enrolments. These numbers have not changed significantly over the past few years.

Food Processing qualifications make up over half of the training package activity, with Baking-related qualifications making up a third of training activity.

Overall, private training providers provide the majority of training in the Food Processing Training Package, but this varies when looking at different types of accreditation within the training package. For example, private providers provide most of the training for the Food Processing qualifications, but TAFE provides the majority of training for the Food Science and Technology, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Baking qualifications. Over 80% of all training is government funded.

Much of the training is undertaken in Victoria, including 59% of Food Processing qualifications, 53% of Wine Operations qualifications and 48% of Baking qualifications. Over two thirds of the training in Victoria is being undertaken in Melbourne.

Over 80% of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing training and 30% of Food Science and Technology training is undertaken overseas.

Looking at apprenticeships and traineeship in the Food Processing Training Package, commencements peaked in 2003 and have been declining since, with a more dramatic drop in 2014. We are now starting to see a similar drop in completion numbers. Over half of apprentices and trainees in training are enrolled in a Baking qualification.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your location please visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET.

To extract NCVER data and construct your own tables, please sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Infographic,, Infographic data:,, Title: Food and beverage,, Sub-title: industry-specific priorty skills,, wine production, cellar door sales and cellar operations, food safety and advanced food safety auditing skills, traceability of product, innovation in product development and food packaging, food and beverage fermentation, Work health and safety (WHS),, Title: Food and beverage,, Sub-title: cross-sector priority skills,, higher-level strategic planning and management skills across the food and beverage industry, advanced supply chain management skills to support the food and beverage industry, online sales and customer service skills for the food and beverage industry,, Title: Pharmaceutical,, Sub-title: Industry-specific priority skills,, pharmaceutical production skills across a range of functions and employment levels, Good manufacturing practice (GMP), pharmaceutical auditing and compliance skills,, Title Pharmaceutical,, Sub-title: Cross-sector priority skills,, advanced sales, marketing and customer service to support the pharmaceutical industry, advanced leadership, management and risk management skills,, Title: Top 5 occupations in demand,, Bakers and pastry cooks, sales representatives, visual merchandisers, chefs, sales assistants,, Title: Top locations,, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia,, Title: Top employers,, Nestle, HJ Heinz, Pepsi Co, Fonterra, JR Simplot,, Infographic source, Priority skills source: Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Industry insights on skills needs

According to job advertisements, the most in-demand VET-related occupations (Technicians and Trades Workers, Machinery Operators and Drivers, Sales Workers and Labourers) for the Food Product and Beverage Manufacturing industries is Bakers and Pastrycooks, followed by Sales Representatives. The top location for advertised VET-related occupations in the Food Product Manufacturing industry is New South Wales.

Job vacancy data is unavailable for the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry as the sample is too small.

The top cross-sector industry skills identified as a priority for the Food and Beverage industry as identified in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work are:

  • higher-level strategic planning and management skills across the food and beverage industry
  • advanced supply chain management skills to support the food and beverage industry
  • online sales and customer service skills for the food and beverage industry.

The top cross-sector priority skills for the Pharmaceutical industry are:

  • advanced sales, marketing and customer service to support the pharmaceutical industry
  • advanced leadership, management and risk management skills.

The IRC Skills Forecast points out that this industry has opportunity for growth given exponential population growth and increasing demand for food. In addition, government policies facilitate access to international markets. Furthermore, there are trends towards healthier food options as well as ‘grab and go’ and ‘easy to eat’ options. There is also ongoing technological change that will affect the industry.

However, at the same time the industry has an aging workforce which presents challenges for recruitment and skill development. Compounding this, changes to the way the industry operates will require more demanding job roles and consequently, high level skills will be required.

Complementing these trends, the 2017 CSIRO Futures Report for Food and Agribusiness summarises the five megatrends that are affecting the Food and Agribusiness industry globally:

  • a less predictable planet
  • health on the mind
  • choosy customers
  • one world
  • smarter food chains.

In this report, they point out that for Australia to succeed internationally, the entire food and agribusiness ecosystem must work together.

The report finds that in addition to deep technical knowledge, skills are required in understanding supply chains, relationship management and digital platforms. Both structured on-the-job training and tertiary education play a role in obtaining these skills.

Furthermore, among priorities listed in the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre’s Sector Competitiveness Plan of 2017 is to ‘upskill the workforce on innovation, business models, market channels and supply chains, both nationally and internationally’(p. 10).

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Industry sector associations

Ai Group

Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC)

Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST)

Food and Beverage Importers Association (FBIA)

Food Industries Association of Queensland (FIAQ)

Food Technology Association of Australia (FTAA)

Foodservice Suppliers Association of Australia (FSAA)

 

Dairy associations

Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF)

Dairy Australia

Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA)

National Centre for Dairy Education (NCDE)

 

Bakery associations

Australian Society of Baking (ASB)

Baking Association of Australia (BAA)

National Baking Industry Association (NBIA)

 

Sugar associations

Australian Sugar Industry Alliance (ASA)

Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC)

 

Soft drinks

Australian Beverages Council

 

Beer and cider

Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand

Cider Australia

Craft Beer Industry Association

 

Wine

Australian Vignerons

New South Wales Wine Industry Association

Queensland Wine Industry Association

South Australian Wine Industry Association

Wine Grape Council of South Australia

Wine Victoria

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia

Wines of Western Australia

 

Spirits

Australian Distillers Association (ADA)

Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA)

 

Pharmaceutical

AusBiotech

Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI)

Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA)

Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA)

Medicines Australia (MA)

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

 

Regulatory bodies

ACT Health

Australian Grape and Wine Authority (Wine Australia)

Dairy Authority of South Australia

Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV)

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

New South Wales Food Authority

Northern Territory Department of Health

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)

Prime Safe

Queensland Health

SA Health

Safe Food Queensland

Standards Australia

Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Western Australian Department of Health

 

Food related research organisations

CSIRO Agriculture and Food

Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)

Sugar Research Australia (SRA)

Sugar Research Institute (SRI)

 

Employee representative bodies

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU)

Breweries and Bottleyards Employees’ Industrial Union of Workers of Western Australia

National Union of Workers (NUW)

 

Links to other reports and resources

Food and Agribusiness: a Roadmap for Unlocking Value-added Growth Opportunities for Australia - CSIRO Futures 

Sector Competitiveness Plan: Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre - FIAL

Independent Brewing Industry National Economic Evaluation - Essential Economics Pty Ltd, Independent Brewer’s Association

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit 11 Food Product Manufacturing industry (excluding Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing)
  • by ANZSIC 3 digit 121 Beverage Manufacturing industry
  • by ANZSIC 3 digit 184 Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Product Manufacturing industry
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • by employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit 11 Food Product Manufacturing industry (excluding Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing), 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
  • by employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit 121 Beverage Manufacturing industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
  • by employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit 184 Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Product Manufacturing industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2011 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by ANZSIC 2 digit 11 Food Product Manufacturing industry (excluding Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing, 121 Beverage Manufacturing industry, and 184 Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Product Manufacturing and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant training package related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce (excluding inadequately described, not stated and not applicable).

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection and Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package:

  • FDF10 Food Processing Training Package.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments and
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

FDF10 Food Processing Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2000 to 2016 commencements
  • 2000 to 2016 completions
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 IRC Skills Forecast and Work Schedule.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labour Insight – real-time labour market information tool. <http://www.burning-glass.com>. 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to July 2017 are included in the analysis. Data shown is the top five advertised VET-related occupations (1-6 digit level Technicians and Trades Workers, Labourers, Sales Workers and Machinery Operators and Drivers) in the Food Product Manufacturing (excluding Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing) industry, and Beverage Product Manufacturing industry (ANZSIC 3 digit levels) and the top five locations and employers according to job advertisements.

 

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