Abstract : The paper investigates the level and nature of innovation activity, and its associated discourse within Australian and Indian food manufacturing SMEs. We suggest that for these SMEs innovation is a personal process, and that how innovation is defined may be related to the firm's dominant business model. 'Recipes' bundling a combination of ingredients, product, process, packaging and delivery arrangements provide some uniqueness in what is offered. Parallels with recombinant innovation concepts are suggested. Clients and suppliers are the most likely innovation collaborators, but external researchers may be engaged through strong personal ties. The likelihood of more formalized approaches to research and innovation increases with firm size. On the demand side, regional food preferences that may be shaped by ethnic and religious mix influence product, process and packaging innovation. On the supply side, regional agriculture strengths influence the dominant types of food manufactured. Future research opportunities are suggested.