Mr Hodgett said Popina, which specializes in mueslis, cereals and snack bars, employs 85 staff and has more than 25 years’ experience in food manufacturing, was awarded an Investing in Manufacturing Technology grant of $250,000 in 2012.

“This $1.2 million project is nearing completion and will see the installation of an in-line blending station and an upgrade and standardisation of the bagging equipment,” Mr Hodgett said.

“This will consolidate two production lines into a single highly efficient operation, increasing productivity and export potential. It will also mean 10 new jobs at Popina and the transitioning of 16 existing employees into higher duties.

“Popina was also provided with a Victorian Government grant of $2,000 to help the company participate in the 2013 Hofex China Trade Mission. This resulted in $220,000 of business which is great news for the company, the Dandenong community and the Victorian economy.

“The latest round of IMT grants has seen 23 companies awarded a total of $4.2.million. These projects represent an investment of more than $23.7 million in new technology, which will boost productivity and drive exports.

“The businesses spearheading these projects will deliver increased competitiveness, new skills and at least 177 new jobs and a further 221 jobs transitioned to higher valued roles.

“The four rounds of the IMT program have generated a total investment of $65 million which has created 505 new jobs. It is expected that the investment in IMT round three will increase exports by $45 million – again, great news for the Victorian economy.

“To meet the challenge of competitive international markets, manufacturers must look to increasing investment in new technology to remain competitive.”