The advocate

AFAB industry body

Kate Robertson

When the COVID pandemic was ravaging food services, it became clear the industry needed a single body that could lobby and represent its interests. Now, less than three years later, the Australian Foodservice Advocacy Body (AFAB) is going strong. 

COVID was still raging when representatives of leading foodservice industry players, including Simplot, met for a coffee to discuss how best to support and rebuild a sector that was being so badly impacted. It was a fruitful chat, leading to...

the launch of the Australian Foodservice Advocacy Body (AFAB) in April 2021.

‘They had no understanding of the value chain...

that supports hospitality.

Hospitality is the front end of food service where consumers get to have the experience, but the value chain for food service is primary producers who make the product, food and beverage and equipment manufacturers, anybody who makes a product for the food service industry and distributors who get it from the manufacturer to hospitality or end users,’ Tony says.

‘When you shut down the front end...

which is the pipeline for where all the product is used, there are implications for distributors with chilled shelf-life products sitting in their fridges.

That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars just for one distributor, and there are thousands of them, and then of course you've got your dairy guys that operate in that chilled space. There are really big implications.’

To ensure the entire food service industry is considered in future decision making, AFAB was tasked with the responsibility of advocating for the industry’s whole value chain and communicating the complexity and structure of foodservices to decision makers.

 ‘We represent the industry as one rather than a whole lot of separate pieces.

It's the biggest industry when you connect the value chain — we employ almost 2 million Australians, but people don't connect the value chain.


‘Our industry is fractured with thousands of distributors, tens of thousands of operators, hundreds and hundreds of manufacturers, and so forth. It is a more complicated route to markets than retail, and our job is to connect, advocate and inspire that channel,’ Tony says.

AFAB has also begun work to assist the development of the industry, with member roundtables prioritising three projects. The first is the creation of a State of Play report, which outlines the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. 
As one of AFAB’s founders, Simplot holds a board advisory position and continues to play a leading role in the organisation.

‘As a startup, their financial input is incredibly important but more important is them being on board as strategic partners and having them involved at that level,’ Tony says.

The final priority area is sustainability, with stage one focusing on tackling food waste as part of the government-funded Fighting Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre project, which...

aims to reduce food waste by 50 per cent by 2030. 

Tony Food Service Advocacy Body

‘Simplot have always been great custodians of the industry.

They're very big players. They know that they have a big responsibility. They know that they need to give back a little bit and I think the way that they see it.’
Tony says AFAB is delivering on its strategic pillars to

“connect, advocate, and inspire”,

but there is still much work still to be done. 

‘We want to be in the position that when government and media are thinking about either policy or stories that have got to do with food service that they come to us.’

Click here to join AFAB or learn more.
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