FAN 2017 Year in Review

December 18, 2017

2017 has been another huge year for FAN. We are Australia’s fastest growing food industry network with 190 members, almost double how many we had this time last year, and 45 sponsors.

In the 2017 calendar year we have delivered 16 events, attended by more than 700 FAN members and industry representatives. We’ve covered topics that are important to our members, including food industry trends, developing a food business plan, social media and soil health.

We were delighted to partner with the Innovation Centre on the inaugural Grow Coastal Food Accelerator program that 12 businesses successfully completed. We partnered with Visit Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council to support 10 FAN members to participate in Regional Flavours in Brisbane, and had the largest regional precinct at the event. We also partnered with Sunshine Coast Council to take 13 businesses to Fine Food in Sydney, Australia’s largest food industry trade event. More than $400,000 in new sales are anticipated and many of the businesses have secured new national and international customers.

All this wouldn’t be possible without the support of our members, sponsors and partners and we thank you. It also wouldn’t be possible without our many volunteers including FAN’s Board, ambassadors and members of our Strategy and Events Committees – thank you. Thanks also to Jen Sharpe, FAN’s Marketing Coordinator and Tanya Arnold, Events Coordinator for tirelessly working to deliver a quality program.

In addition to our existing program of events and workshops, FAN’s expanding in 2018 to deliver a site tours program, and we are excited to be co-delivering the next Grow Coastal program with the Innovation Centre. A new grant from Sunshine Coast Council will help us to create a member capability directory, and FAN’s Chairman Jacqui Wilson-Smith will be launching a new online resource for FAN members, resulting from the $10k bursary she received this year for the AgriFutures Queensland Rural Women’s Award.

Being a not-for-profit, industry-led network, our members, sponsors and partners are crucial for us to be able to expand our services to assist our industry to grow. Please spread the word in 2018 and encourage other businesses to sign-up. Don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels, and if you are a member sign-up to our FAN members Facebook page.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of our very clear vision and purpose:


To connect and grow our region’s food & agribusiness industry by creating a culture of collaboration, accelerating innovation and promoting trade locally and globally.


To be Australia’s leading food and agribusiness network and to actively contribute to doubling our industry’s value by 2030 for our regions.

On a personal note, it has been an absolute privilege working with and getting to know so many of the fabulous people involved in our dynamic food industry, and I am constantly amazed at the openness and collaboration that’s happening.

Thank you all for your support, and best wishes for the festive season.

Emma Greenhatch,

FAN General Manager


FAN Members shortlisted for elite dairy awards

December 6, 2017

They came, they saw, and they’ve tasted over 400 of Australia’s best dairy products, and now, the judges of the prestigious Australian Grand Dairy Awards have announced the following FAN Members as finalists:

  • Woombye Cheese Company for their Woombye Blackall Gold Washed Rind (Washed Rind category)
  • Maleny Dairies for their Farmers Choice Guernsey Non-Homogenised Full Cream Milk (Milk category)

The producers are celebrating earning a place in the top three of the best washed rind, and milks in Australia. They are one of 54 producers of cheese, ice cream, milk, yoghurt, gelato and more who have made it through as finalists in the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Fellow QLD producer The Natural Yoghurt Company have also been shortlisted for their George’s Authentic Greek Yoghurt Apple & Cinnamon (Flavoured Yoghurts category)

Now in their 19th year, the Australian Grand Dairy Awards are the grand final of dairy awards – recognising quality, excellence and the distinguished skills of local Australian producers who create the highest quality products in the country. Being named a finalist with the chance to take home the Champion title in these prestigious Awards is the highest possible accolade for a dairy producer.

Over two days, over 400 gold medal winning Australian products were put through a rigorous test by a panel of 24 judges. Renowned dairy educators Russell Smith and Mark Livermore led a panel of technical experts, chefs, retailers and flavour specialists to assess presentation, texture, flavour and aroma to shortlist the top three in each class crowning them the 2018 finalists.

From flavoured yoghurt, to mouth-watering ice-creams, delectable chocolate milks and tongue-tingling cheddars, the 2018 finalist list features producers big and small from every corner of the country.

“We are excited to announce the stellar line up of 2018 finalists. The awards celebrate quality and excellence in delicious dairy produce, but we also want to encourage Australian’s to take a moment to recognise the skills and dedication of the many people who craft these products,” says Amanda Menegazzo, convener of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

“It’s incredible to think that the array of finalists – from spicy blue cheese to tangy passionfruit yoghurt and sweet fig and mascarpone gelato – all start with one amazing ingredient, quality Australian milk. These awards would not exist without the contribution of the passionate Australian dairy farmers who produce it.”

While the experts have already had their say, there is one award they can’t determine, the country’s favourite dairy product, the 2018 People’s Choice Award.  Dairy lovers from around the country are encouraged to throw their support behind their favourite finalist and cast their vote at What’s more, simply by voting, consumers go into the draw to win a year’s supply of award winning cheese!

The winning producer of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards People’s Choice Award, as well as the top product in each dairy and cheese category will be revealed in February, along with an overall dairy and cheese Grand Champion.   

About the Australian Grand Dairy Awards

The Australian Grand Dairy Awards recognise and reward excellence and quality in Australian dairy produce, paying tribute to the achievements of the highly-skilled specialists who develop and make these products. Created in 1999, the Australian Grand Dairy Awards are Australia’s most prestigious national dairy awards and the highest accolade for Australian dairy producers.

Visit for more information

About Woombye Cheese Company

Woombye Cheese Company believes the Sunshine Coast hinterland is the perfect place to make cheese, and who are we to disagree? With panoramic views of undulating green hills, creeks and bushland, it’s a lush setting. Originally founded by Graeme and Karen Paynter in 2013, Woombye Cheese Company is still family owned and has added a range of Australian favourites to its repertoire, including camembert, brie and feta.

About Maleny Dairies

Maleny Dairies has been home to Guernsey cows since the farm began operating in 1948. The dairy is proud of its commitment to caring for their animals and the land they live on, and believe the cows’ happiness is crucial to creating the best quality, delicious Australian milk.

About The Natural Yoghurt Company

The Natural Yoghurt Company is Queensland owned and made. The company prides itself on the locally produced milk it uses across its product range, which results in fresh and wholesome food which hasn’t travelled thousands of kilometres from farm to fridge.