In focus

F&B Sound Bites

Welcome to F&B Sound Bites - a podcast on hot topics, trends and challenges for professionals in the engine room behind the Food and Beverage industry hosted by Hamish McCook.

The food and beverage industry is under increasing pressure - margins are getting tighter, consumers more savvy and demanding, we're being told to produce more, be more efficient, use less energy, emit less carbon, be more smarter. Can you relate?

All this 'stuff' but we still only have 24 hours in a day, a five day working week and 45 or so working weeks in a year to make it happen. But it doesn't have to be hard. Sometimes all you need is that little seed of an idea to bring about change. 

That's why Beca has started F&B Sound Bites. In this podcast we give you direct access to some of the best in the business. Professionals we are fortunate enough to work with in and outside Beca who, together, have years of experience on all range of food and beverage industry challenges (and beyond).

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Listen to the series below

Out with the old, in with the new - Is the meat processing industry ready to meet the challenge?

Australia and New Zealand have a long-standing history as countries that loves their meat! Steaks sit center stage at weekday dinner tables, summer BBQs bring people together and who can’t walk by a bunnings without stopping in for a snag!?  
Beef is one Australia’s biggest exporters and in 2018-19 it generated A$10.8billion in Australian exports. Whilst the return in price is high, so too are the high processing costs, supply chain costs, demand for alternative proteins and pressure from government to meet a carbon neutral future. 

So, what does the industry need to do to thrive under pressure?    

Ross Darbyshire and Nigel Wilson, Beca’s experts in the Industrial meat sector, chat with Hamish about offsetting power, increasing back-end automation and the future of master planning to get the most out of your plant design. 

Amidst the challenge, there’s plenty of opportunity to power up to withstand the oncoming pressures and remain globally competitive. 


Not all capital projects are created equal

How can large, complex, multi-site organisations manage project delivery successfully while managing costs, risks and ensuring a project goes to plan? In this episode of F&B Sound Bites we chat with Mike Duell, former mathematician turned engineer and inventor of capital portfolio management software, CAPEXinsights. He talks with Hamish about the common capital portfolio management pitfalls from around the globe, the role of sustainability in capital portfolio management and the smart tools available to help build consistency and confidence.


Is this the secret recipe to implement Industry 4.0 digital solutions?

Over the last three years industry uptake of technology has widened, and so has the gap between the leaders and the laggers. We speak with Stewart Coleman and Sue Bradley, expert leaders from Beca’s digital and industrial solutions, to uncover the steps organisations need to implement to increase their uptake of industry 4.0 digital solutions.  Hamish uncovers some gold advice in this interview, so make sure to grab a pen and paper.   


How can ASEAN's F&B industry remain resilient in a time of uncertainty?

2020 has been a year of disruption and challenge. However, the lessons learnt from this crisis should help to build the resilience of the ASEAN food and beverage industry and its supply chains moving forward. With effective stakeholder collaboration, the food system may well emerge stronger once these challenges subside. In this episode of F&B Sound Bites, Hamish McCook and Harry Gibson have a far reaching conversation about some of the insights from the recent ASEAN Forum.


How are digital technologies driving performance in the F&B industry?

What can the Kmart Mums hack group teach us about maximising digital technologies and driving performance in the food and beverage industry? Hamish McCook and Stewart Coleman stroll through the aisles discussing what really matters when it comes to finding the right technology solution to solve your biggest challenges. Grab a trolley and join them for a fascinating (and entertaining) episode of F&B Sound Bites.


What does AI bring to the F&B table?

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the way many industries operate, and food and beverage manufacturing is no exception. We speak with Matt Ensor and Sue Bradley to learn more about how these technologies offer huge opportunities to transform critical aspects of industrial processes, deliver enhanced customer experiences and help stay ahead of the competition.


What's the case for sustainability labelling in the F&B industry?

As consumers increasingly demand healthier foods produced in more sustainable ways, it is clear the food and beverage industry has a huge part to play in designing better processes across the entire food system. We speak with Kate Meyer, Business Director - Sustainability to find out why restricting carbon emissions produced by the food system is critical to limiting climate change and how adding sustainability labels to food products might help the average consumer make better informed purchasing decisions.


Is indoor farming possible at a commercial scale?

In this second instalment of this two-part episode, we continue our conversation with Joelle Chen and Bruce Neville about how to organisations can scale up indoor farming ventures in Singapore to reach the Government’s target of 30% food self-sufficiency in Singapore by 2030. We also talk about what countries around the world can learn from Singapore and what indoor farming means for greater food self-sufficiency around the world. Enjoy the conversation.


Is indoor farming the answer to food sovereignty?

In this first instalment of this two-part episode, we explore the concept of food sovereignty and our right to choose where our food comes from and how it is grown. We chat with Joelle Chen and Bruce Neville about what is behind Singapore’s drive for food self-sufficiency through prudent innovation and experimentation. But what do we need to do to go from small scale experimentation to large scale production? Stay tuned for part two to find out.


How do you know if your design manager is letting you down?

Design management is a little known, but crucially important role that provides the structure that enables a project to be successfully designed and delivered and the crucial role it plays in achieving cost and design expectations. We speak with Michael Kinna, specialist in design management and leader of our Design Management Working Group, about just what makes a good design manager a rare and precious gift.


The virtual virus - what can you do to protect your business?

We haven't just been fighting a virus in the real world, but also in the virtual world. The recent cyber attacks have made many a little nervous about how safe their digital data really is. We speak with Jonathan Stirling, our Security Consulting team lead, on this topic. He'll ease your concerns with some of his 13 practical tips to help keep your data safe.


Is Your Supply Chain Working For You?

As the world shutdown in response to the pandemic - the food and beverage supply chain wasn't immune to its impact. Despite being deemed an essential service, the demand planning cycle wasn't reliable anymore. We speak with Alistair Lane, international food and beverage supply chain specialist and Director of Value Chain Connected Ltd about improving supply chain resilience.


Are You Taking Your Cold Storage Seriously?

For many businesses, cold storage is the invisible but beating heart of your operation. But despite this, it doesn't always get the attention it deserves. We speak with cold storage expert, Rhys Davies, to better understand this white box and learn what you can do to improve it to meet growing demand and reduce rising costs.


Who Is Hamish McCook Anyway?

Meet your podcast host, Hamish McCook, and find out why this will be one of the best ways to spend 10 minutes of your time learning as we cover hot topics, trends and challenges for those working behind the scenes to support human survival in the twenty first century.


Sign up and stay in the loop!

F&B Sound Bites is distributed as an email every 5-6 weeks. If you'd like to get on the distribution list, you can sign up here. We'll only send you content related to the F&B Sound Bites series.

Take a look at the first one here.

Topic ideas and Feedback

We want to make sure F&B Sound Bites satisfies your content appetite (not sorry about the pun). So if you have a minute, we would love to hear from you in this short feedback form



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