Can we create a sustainable functional food market using Australian native plant foods ?

Dr Smita Chaliha, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture for Agriculture and Food Innovation - UQ 

Delivered  11/11/2019 at the TropAg Conference "Creating an Australian cuisine through traditional Australian foods” symposium.


There is a global demand for natural ingredients from plant sources with multi-functional properties for application in the food and nutraceutical industries. Australian bush foods have unique nutritional and health properties providing the considerable potential to grow existing value chains within the Global Functional Foods market which is worth more than US $ 130 billion.

Australian endemic plants have been used by the Indigenous communities for centuries as food and medicine. These plants are nutrient-dense, climate-resilient and biologically unique. The potential to harness the diversity of crops in tropical, subtropical, temperate and arid regions of the country and the economic, health and social benefits flowing back into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are significant.

Kakadu plum (Terminalia ferdinandiana, KP) is one such Indigenous plant that has been used by the Indigenous Communities for their dietary and health needs. Market analysis indicates a 10% growth per annum in the future for all KP products both nationally and internationally. Demand drivers for high-volume, high production industries are mostly in the nutraceutical, supplement and pharmaceutical industries, requiring consistent quality and reliable supply. In response to these market opportunities, there is a need to identify and improve the existing value chains to be able to improve their efficiency.

The current CRC-NA project aims to improve the quality of the KP supply and value chains to address issues of inconsistencies in quality and reliable supply. Outcomes will empower Indigenous communities by ensuring Indigenous ownership of KP production and control of supply chains. 

Publication Date

Dr Smita Chaliha

Bush foods
Supply chain development
Traditional Owner Led business
Publication Type