cancel
search
Search by IRC, Industry, sector, training package, IRC skills forecast or occupation.

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 broken into the following five key components:

  • Food processing and manufacturing
  • Beverage manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Nutraceutical manufacturing
  • Wholesaling and retailing.

The industry provides direct employment to more than 215,000 people. The food and beverage manufacturing industries provide almost $20 billion in exports each year and are central to the employment and sustainability of the agriculture, meat, seafood, wine, wholesale and retail, and tourism and hospitality industries. In addition, the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry generates an annual revenue of $9 billion and contributes significantly to the Australian health system.

The sectors are characterised by many small and medium-sized producers who are producing for local or niche markets, and a smaller number of large producers who are often multinational companies and operating globally.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for many occupations within this industry and nationally recognised training in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing sector is delivered under the FBP - Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Training Package.

Occupations requiring vocational qualifications include Bakers and Pastry Cooks, Food and Drink Factory Workers, Food Preparation Assistants, and 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.

For information on primary production, including seafood, visit the Agriculture and Aquaculture and Wild Catch industry cluster pages.

For information on sales and hospitality, please visit the Retail and Wholesale and Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry cluster pages. For distribution, please visit the Transport cluster.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment levels across Beverage Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Product Manufacturing fluctuated between 2001 and 2021 but increased overall to peak in 2021 at 37,300 and 30,800 respectively. Employment levels are projected to increase to 35,500 by 2025 for Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Product Manufacturing, but are expected to decline for Beverage Manufacturing to 32,500. Employment levels for Food Product Manufacturing (less Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing) also increased overall in this time frame, peaking in 2021 with a 34% increase on the previous years’ levels from 119,600 in 2020 to 160,300 in 2021. However employment levels are projected to decline to 129,400 by 2025.

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%), with Bakers and Pastrycooks, and Sales Assistants (General) at just under 12% each. Similarly, Food and Drink Factory Workers make up just under 12% of the Beverage Manufacturing industry. While Sales Assistants (General) in the Beverage Manufacturing industry account for just under 4% of the workforce, they are projected to experience 25% growth in employment by 2025.

In contrast, Technical Sales Representatives, Other Specialist Managers and Storepersons are more common VET-related occupations in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry, with Storepersons expecting the most significant employment growth to 2025 (18%).

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2020, program enrolments in Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing-related qualifications decreased to a low of roughly 11,760, down almost 40% from 19,410 in 2016. Program  completions have fluctuated in this time, falling to 4,700 in 2018 before increasing to a high of 6,610 in 2019 and declining to 4,930 in 2020. The proportion of subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program has fluctuated slightly since 2015, with a low of 92% in 2018 and a top of almost 99% in 2020.

Three quarters of program enrolments were at the certificate III level (75%). Almost two thirds (64%) of enrolments were in the area of Food Processing with the main intended occupation of Food and Drink Factory Workers not elsewhere specified. The majority of the remaining enrolments were in  Baking (29%), with a range of intended occupations including Baker, Pastrycook’s Assistant, and Pastrycook.

Overall, private training providers provided the majority (62%) of the training for Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Product Manufacturing-related qualifications, with some variation between qualification areas. For example, private training providers delivered most of the training for Food Processing qualifications (85%), while TAFE institutes provided the majority of training for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (100%), Food Science and Technology (90%) and Wine Operations (87%). Around 89% of all training is Commonwealth and state government funded, followed by domestic fee for service (7%) and international fee for service (4%).

Two fifths (40%) of students resided in Queensland, followed by Victoria (28%) and New South Wales (14%). Similarly, the majority of training was delivered in Queensland (40%) and Victoria (30%), followed by New South Wales at 14%.

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements peaked in 2013 at around 5,560 and have declined by two thirds to a low of 1,890 in 2019. In 2020 commencement levels have risen by 41% on the previous year to 2,670. Completions have decreased more than 80% since a high of 3,270 in 2014, down to just under 630 in 2020. The most common intended occupations were Baker, and Food and Drink Factory Workers not elsewhere specified.

Close to one third (32%) of apprentices and trainees were reported by Victoria, followed by New South Wales (29%), Queensland (15%) and South Australia (13%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region 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

Industry insights on skills needs

According to job advertisements, the most in-demand VET-related occupation for the Food Product and Beverage Manufacturing industries were Bakers and Pastrycooks, followed by Sales Representatives.

This same job vacancy data indicates that the top generic skills in demand from employers in this industry are communication skills and to be detail orientated, with the main employers listed as Banjo’s Bakery Café, Goodman Fielder and Nestle.

The Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical IRC recently updated many of the units of competency for the food and beverage industry, with substantial revisions made to 85% of food and beverage qualifications since 2019. The units were updated as part of national projects that underwent consultation with industry and training providers.

The main industry developments identified in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical IRC’s 2021 Skills Forecast related to:

  • Economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19: The pandemic has disrupted every sector of the Australian food, beverage and pharmaceutical (FBP) industries. The Australian Government announced $1.5 billion in new funding over the next four years, including a $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative for the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to make Australian manufacturers more competitive and resilient. ‘Food and beverage’ and ‘medical products’ (which includes pharmaceutical manufacturing) are two of the six National Manufacturing Priorities for projects.

  • Pharmaceutical product manufacturing: A new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility specialising in cell-based, vaccine and anti-venom manufacturing was announced by the Federal Government. Following a $1.7 billion supply and production agreement between the Australian Government and pharmaceutical companies, around 84 million vaccine doses of a free COVID-19 vaccine would be manufactured in Australia, requiring cutting-edge processes and high speed to market. The manufacturing process is ongoing, and it is expected an average of one million doses per week will be released over the course of the campaign, subject to regulatory approvals.

Additionally, there is anticipated to be a greater emphasis on formal training due to the pharmaceutical product manufacturing industry’s sustained rate of growth. A Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Operator Induction Skill Set has been released to ensure Australia’s national training system is well positioned to address the workforce challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. The skill set describes the foundation skills and knowledge used by workers entering the industry, especially those employed to work with bioprocessed products, such as vaccines and antibody testing devices. The skill set will help support displaced workers to gain new skills and build on existing skills, and will also help businesses to take advantage of opportunities that exist now and into the future.

  • Consumer trends shaping industry: While COVID-19 is accelerating the emerging consumer focus on health and wellbeing and ethical, sustainably sourced products, there is also a broader trend of caution and selectiveness towards brands that demonstrate purpose, transparency and alignment with consumers’ values. This includes a renewed emphasis on supporting local, independent manufacturing businesses.

  • Wine export challenges: Profits have been affected by the closure of bars, restaurants and cellar doors due to COVID-19, and South Australian winemakers experiencing much-reduced yields because of extreme heat, frost, wind, bushfires and smoke taint. In late March 2021, the Chinese Government announced its final decision following investigations of anti-dumping and countervailing duties for Australian bottled wine. The combined duty payable ranges from 116.2% to 218.4%, effectively meaning the market will not be viable for Australian bottled wine for the next five years. It is recognised by the industry that the imposition of tariffs by the Chinese Government will have a widespread impact on wine producers, whether they deal directly with China or not. Businesses will be forced to seek to develop activities in other markets to try to compensate for lost income.

  • The National Skills Commission (NSC) and attracting new industry workers: Industry focus is on managing skills surpluses and identifying training options for unemployed workers who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries may be able to capitalise on the availability of people who have been displaced from their usual work and are seeking new opportunities. As well as highlighting reskilling and upskilling options for improving the prospects of people already performing an industry role, the NSC are promoting ‘skills transferability’ to facilitate clearer pathways between roles in diverse industries that require similar capabilities.

According to A Refreshing Recovery: A Post-Coronavirus Recovery Blueprint for the Australian Drinks Industry,  skills shortages in the beverage manufacturing industry are largely impacted by the location of a business operation or manufacturing facility. Finding and retaining workers can be a challenge in regional areas, especially where similar technical skills are also sought by the mining industry. While Australia’s immigration policy has helped provide a pathway for skilled migration to help fill the gap for certain skills, travel restrictions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has ruled out this avenue in the short term. A potential solution to bridge the existing skills gap could be the development of partnerships between industry and education providers. Involvement of the industry in the development of training programs can ensure the right skillsets are being developed to meet industry needs. Consideration must also be given to ensuring that the education sector is providing the right kinds of skillsets for the future, such as automation, high-tech manufacturing, food scientists and food technologists, data analytics, and technical project management, which will be valuable not just in the beverage industry but also across the broader manufacturing industry.

A key industry development identified in the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast related to Alternative proteins. Consumer preferences to eat healthier, ethically produced food, and reduce environmental impacts is behind modest year on year growth of alternative proteins, particularly plant-based meat. Non-traditional protein sources such as insects, algal and microbial proteins are also becoming more widely recognised, particularly for their potential as livestock feed.

This view is supported by a recent report by Food Frontier. According to 2020 State of the Industry: Australia's Plant-Based Meat Sector plant-based meats are forecast to command up to 10 percent of the $1.4 trillion global meat market by 2029, up from less than one percent in 2019. Amidst global and domestic upheavals, 2020 saw the Australian plant-based meat sector increase grocery sales 46% the previous year, as well as double domestic manufacturing revenue and jobs.

The growth of this market will be monitored by the IRC, along with researching the need for skills not currently covered in the Training Package. Alternative proteins require skills relating to filtration systems, as well as supply chain and agronomy skills.

The report A Fair Share for Australian Manufacturing: Manufacturing Renewal for the Post-COVID Economy outlines numerous measures must also be taken to address the particular skills challenges facing manufacturing. These include:

  • Shift the emphasis of curricula and training programs toward comprehensive and complete qualifications, rather than micro-credentials
  • Enhancing the capacities of TAFE teachers in manufacturing fields, and investing in modern capital equipment for training
  • Encouraging partnerships on customised joint training initiatives between specific TAFEs and firms or groups of firms
  • Developing and implementing higher-level and multi-disciplinary qualifications to reflect emerging skills and composite capacities in advanced manufacturing (in areas such as digital machine control and Industry 4.0/internet-of-things applications in manufacturing)
  • Integrate basic literacy and numeracy training into VET offerings at all levels.

Links and resources

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

IRC and skills forecasts

 

Relevant research

2020 State of the Industry: Australia's Plant-Based Meat Sector - Food Frontier

A Fair Share for Australian Manufacturing: Manufacturing Renewal for the Post-COVID Economy - The Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute

A Refreshing Recovery: A Post-Coronavirus Recovery Blueprint for the Australian Drinks Industry - Australian Beverages Council

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Industry sector associations

Ai Group

Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC)

Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST)

Australian Institute of Packaging

Australian Technical Millers Association

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)

Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association

Dairy Australia

Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA)

Tasmanian Dairy Industry Association

 

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)

Australian Society of Sugarcane Technologists

 

Soft drinks

Australian Beverages Council

 

Beer and cider

Brewers Association of Australia

Cider Australia

Independent Brewers Association

 

Wine

Australian Grape & Wine Incorporated

Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology

New South Wales Wine Industry Association

Queensland Wine Industry Association

South Australian Wine Industry Association

Wine Grape Council of South Australia

Wine Victoria

Wines of Western Australia

 

Spirits

Australian Distillers Association (ADA)

Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA)

 

Pharmaceutical

AusBiotech

Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA)

Consumer Healthcare Products Australia

Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA)

International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering

Medicines Australia (MA)

Parenteral Drug Association Australia

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia

 

Regulatory bodies

ACT Health

Australian Grape and Wine Authority (Wine Australia)

Dairy Authority of South Australia (Dairysafe)

Dairy Food Safety Victoria (DFSV)

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Food Standards Australia New Zealand

Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)

PrimeSafe (Victoria)

Queensland Department of Health

South Australian Department of Health

Safe Food Queensland

Standards Australia

Tasmanian Department of Health

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Western Australian Department of Health

 

Industry service bodies

Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL)

Institute of Brewing and Distilling (International)

MedTech and Pharma Growth Centre (MTPConnect)

Nutrition Australia

Queensland Sugar Limited

Sugar Terminals Limited (Queensland)

Tasmanian Whisky Academy

The Allergen Bureau

 

Food related research organisations

Australian Wine Research Institute

CSIRO - Agriculture and Food

Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

Sugar Research Australia (SRA)

Sugar Research Institute (SRI)

 

Employee representative bodies

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU)

Australian Workers’ Union

Breweries and Bottleyards Employees’ Industrial Union of Workers WA

United Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

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

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021  

  • by employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit Food Product Manufacturing industry (excluding Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing), 2001 to 2021, May Quarter
  • by employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit Beverage Product Manufacturing industry, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter
  • by employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit Pharmaceutical Manufacturing industry, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by ANZSIC 2 digit Food Product Manufacturing industry (excluding Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing and Seafood Processing), ANZSIC 3 digit Beverage Product Manufacturing industry, and Pharmaceutical 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 or qualifications:

FBP - Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Training Package

  • Baking
    • FBP20217 - Certificate II in Baking
    • FBP30217 - Certificate III in Plant Baking
    • FBP30317 - Certificate III in Cake and Pastry
    • FBP30417 - Certificate III in Bread Baking
    • FBP30517 - Certificate III in Baking
    • FBP40217 - Certificate IV in Baking.
  • Food Processing
    • FBP10117 - Certificate I in Food Processing
    • FBP20117 - Certificate II in Food Processing
    • FBP20317 - Certificate II in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FBP30117 - Certificate III in Food Processing
    • FBP30617 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FBP40318 - Certificate IV in Food Processing
    • FBP50218 - Diploma of Food Safety Auditing
    • FDF10110 - Certificate I in Food Processing
    • FDF10111 - Certificate I in Food Processing
    • FDF20110 - Certificate II in Food Processing
    • FDF20111 - Certificate II in Food Processing
    • FDF20903 - Certificate II in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FDF20910 - Certificate II in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FDF20911 - Certificate II in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FDF30103 - Certificate III in Food Processing
    • FDF30110 - Certificate III in Food Processing
    • FDF30111 - Certificate III in Food Processing
    • FDF30403 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Wine)
    • FDF30498 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Wine)
    • FDF30503 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Retail Baking - Cake and Pastry)
    • FDF30603 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Retail Baking - Bread)
    • FDF30703 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Retail Baking - Combined)
    • FDF30910 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FDF40110 - Certificate IV in Food Processing
    • FDF41007 - Certificate IV in Food Processing (Food Safety Auditing)
    • FDF41012 - Certificate IV in Flour Milling
    • FDF50103 - Diploma of Food Processing
    • FDF50110 - Diploma of Food Processing.
  • Food Science and Technology
    • FBP40418 - Certificate IV in Food Science and Technology
    • FBP50118 - Diploma of Food Science and Technology
    • FDF30903 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Sales)
    • FDF40311 - Certificate IV in Food Science and Technology
    • FDF50311 - Diploma of Food Science and Technology.
  • Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FBP20418 - Certificate II in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FBP30818 - Certificate III in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FBP30821 - Certificate III in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FBP40518 - Certificate IV in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF10203 - Certificate I in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF10210 - Certificate I in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF10298 - Certificate I in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF20203 - Certificate II in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF20211 - Certificate II in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF30203 - Certificate III in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF30210 - Certificate III in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing
    • FDF40210 - Certificate IV in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.
  • Retail/Plant/Advanced Baking
    • FBP10217 - Certificate I in Baking
    • FDF20510 - Certificate II in Retail Baking Assistance
    • FDF30303 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Plant Baking)
    • FDF30310 - Certificate III in Plant Baking
    • FDF30510 - Certificate III in Retail Baking (Cake and Pastry)
    • FDF30610 - Certificate III in Retail Baking (Bread)
    • FDF30700 - Certificate III in Food Processing (Retail Baking - Combined)
    • FDF30710 - Certificate III in Retail Baking (Combined)
    • FDF40811 - Certificate IV in Advanced Baking.
  • Wine Operations
    • FBP20518 - Certificate II in Wine Industry Operations
    • FBP30918 - Certificate III in Wine Industry Operations
    • FBP30920 - Certificate III in Wine Industry Operations
    • FDF20403 - Certificate II in Food Processing (Wine)
    • FDF20411 - Certificate II in Wine Industry Operations
    • FDF30411 - Certificate III in Wine Industry Operations.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 subject enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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%.

FBP - Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Technicians and Trades Workers, Sales Workers, Labourers, Machinery Operators and Drivers
    • 121 Beverage Manufacturing
    • 11 Food Product Manufacturing, excluding 111 Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing, and 112 Seafood Processing.
  • Employers
    • 3511 Bakers and Pastrycooks
    • 6113 Sales Representatives
    • 6395 Visual Merchandisers
    • 3411 Electricians
    • 8999 Other Miscellaneous Labourers
    • 121 Beverage Manufacturing
    • 11 Food Product Manufacturing, excluding 111 Meat and Meat Product Manufacturing, and 112 Seafood Processing.
Updated: 19 Sep 2022
To Top