Prepared foods

Melbourne is a global leader and innovator in research and development – a key driver for Victoria's continued dominance in the Australian prepared food sector. Food processing products range from lightly processed commodities such as milk and meat, to highly transformed and value-added products, such as frozen meals, nutraceuticals and luxury items.

Victorian food manufacturers range from small-to-medium companies, through to multinational companies – providing international markets with a diverse range of high quality prepared foods, including health and wellness options, shelf-stable products, snack and confectionery products.

A key segment of Victoria’s food processing sector is dairy. Around 90 per cent of Victoria’s milk production by volume is used in dairy product processing. This is equivalent to about 5 billion litres. Major milk processing products include milk powder, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream.

Victoria’s processed meat is quality assured and safe, and supervised by PrimeSafe and the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.


The opportunities lie in air freighted export of fresh, readymade meals to Asian markets where demand for fresh Australian produce is coupled with a fast-paced lifestyle. The increasing number and wealth of the world’s middle class – and  changing lifestyles – means consumers are increasingly seeking prepared meals. The quality and respect for Victoria’s raw materials means the state is ideally placed for investment in high-value food processing.

Opportunities exist in new sales channels, including eCommerce platforms in China and other markets, and businesses developing new innovative products and packaging to help differentiate themselves in global markets

30 per cent of Australia's food processing is from Victoria

Fast facts

  • Victoria is Australia's major food processor, producing around 30 per cent of Australia's prepared foods.
  • In 2017-18, prepared foods were valued at $1.7 billion - and increase of $229 million (15 per cent) on 2016-17.
  • China was the highest value market for prepared foods valued at $662 million, followed by New Zealand ($254 million), and Hong Kong ($204 million).

Discover how your business can import from Victoria

The Australian Food and Agribusiness Directory

Food and Innovation Australia (FIAL), the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) and the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), in collaboration with Data61 have created an easy-to-use searchable map of Australia that will help you connect with other stakeholders from across the entire industry value chain.