A FORUM in Scottsdale today will gauge interest in a high-tech food processing technology that could be a "game changer" for the North.
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation and the University of Tasmania's Centre for Food Innovation are studying the viability of using Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (MATS) technology in Australia.
MATS, developed in the US, produces high-quality, long-life foods for military personnel, but the technology also has the potential for humanitarian and commercial uses.
If the study is successful, the DSTO facility at Scottsdale would be the ideal location for a trial MATS plant, Bass Liberal MHR Andrew Nikolic said.
"It's another one of those game changers for Northern Tasmania," he said.
"It could provide new markets for local production and expand what we already have a world-class reputation for at Scottsdale.
"I think it's something Tasmania could do really well."
University of Tasmania Professor Roger Stanley said the forum would involve around 36 participants with an interest in learning more about the technology.
He said MATS technology could already produce ready-to-eat packaged meals that could be kept for 12 months without freezing or refrigeration, and could be used for meat, vegetables and grains.
"Because it doesn't need refrigeration or freezing, you then have much better options for shipping produce to Asia," Professor Stanley said.
He said a MATS machine would be quite expensive, but there were ways of sharing the costs.
"The way the technology is being set up in the US is working as a co-manufacture or co-packaging facility, so you don't have to own a big factory to process your product," he said.
"It's an approach that would make it more accessible for small and medium enterprises."
The study is due to finish by the middle of the year.