Welcome to GFCC

About Geelong Food Co-Products Cluster

Geelong Food Co-Products Cluster (GFCC) is actively involved in commercial initiatives in the food processing sector of the Greater Geelong region.

GFCC is “a group of like-minded enterprises (and their suppliers and customers) across the Geelong region, working together for mutual commercial benefit”. It is a bridge between regional development and business development; with local government, regional organisations and businesses all tackling common issues and opportunities that contribute to efficiencies, growth and development.

GFCC had its beginnings in 2005 following a feasibility assessment as part of Regional Development Victoria’s (RDV) Regional Innovation Clusters Program. The assessment identified substantial commercial opportunities for food businesses in the seafood, dairy, meat and poultry and game sectors by collaborating to achieve new market penetration, value adding and consolidation benefits from co-products.

Why Co-Products?

Geelong’s Food Manufacturing Industry is diverse and competitive. It has an annual (direct and indirect) regional economic contribution of around $1 billion and more than 2,500 full time equivalent jobs. The seafood, dairy, meat and poultry sectors make up about 60% of this economic contribution, and it is these sectors for which “co-products” are most relevant. Each Geelong business has specific strengths and technologies for the production of traditional, or core, product ranges which have been the key to their successful establishment and operation. However, there is a wide range of co-product opportunities that GFCC has identified and that can be best implemented by collaboration with other businesses; across (horizontally) and “up and down” (vertically) the businesses’ supply chains. Heightened concern over environment, efficient use of resources and business sustainability suggest that the time has never been more appropriate to take a serious approach to co-products.

The list of potential co-products is endless. Examples include:

  • Adding value to low value, or surplus, products (such as underutilised fish species, fish by-catch, lower value meat cuts and meat trim) through higher levels of processing, new recipes and new applications
  • By-products (possibly currently discarded or sold at a cost to the businesses), such as skins, feathers, bones, shells, tallow and other oils
  • Materials or resources for reuse or recycling, such as packaging, water and heat
  • Offal for use as niche edible product, stockfeed, fertiliser or energy
  • Adding value by further processing, extending shelf-life, or packaging enhancements.

GFCC develops and coordinates commercial business ventures around these co-product opportunities. The prospects are vast and progress over the past decade has been exciting and encouraging.