Australian food exports shine at G’DAY USA

The annual G’DAY USA national promotion, now in its seventh consecutive year, continues to provide an important platform for Australian food & beverage exporters seeking to access or maintain market share in the lucrative but highly competitive US market.

In 2010, the A Taste of Australia promotion built on the momentum of previous years, in what Austrade estimates was the largest Australian food and beverage retail promotion held in the United States to date. This year the promotion was held at New York City’s premier specialty food and grocery retailer The Food Emporium from 15 -28 January.

The Food Emporium [part of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. – the 19th largest supermarket chain in North America with annual sales of over US$9.1 billion (A$10.5 billion)] hosted the promotion for a second year , with the Australian Made, Australian Grown Campaign the key sponsor. Austrade’s Atlanta-based Trade Commissioner and Consumer Portfolio Manager, Duncan Cole, said it was very encouraging to have such a high number of brands included in the promotion this year, with more than 80 product items selected from 30 exporters.

“This outcome underscores the continuing strength of Australia’s reputation for quality, healthy and sustainable food in this all-important export market” said Mr Cole. Austrade’s US food market specialist in Washington DC, Peter Brennan, said the products selected by department buyers for this year’s promotion and ongoing store listings, reflected the changed economic environment for food and beverage producers.

“The United States food market has been transformed by the events of the last 18 months, with the consumer trend known as ‘trading down’ prevalent in cities across the country.

“With reduced consumer confidence due to economic and unemployment conditions, shoppers are placing increased importance on value, and spending their available food budget on ‘high consumable’ grocery items rather than indulgence or impulse purchases.”

These changes in consumer patterns have played a key role in the products selected to feature in the promotion this year.

Although gourmet products such as extra virgin olive oils and specialty honeys were included in the product mix, the final selection strongly featured everyday items such as biscuits (‘cookies’ in the US), crackers, health bars, chocolates and snack mixes.

“For the first time, The Food Emporium also launched a range of products from other ‘high-turn’ and profitable everyday food categories including Australian beef, lamb, seafood, cheese as well as a range of our premium beer brands,” Mr Brennan said.

However according to analysis completed by Mr Brennan, the landscape for food retail is still shifting with prospects for specialty foods forecast to improve as confidence returns to American consumers. “Key market indicators continue to show signs that the market is moving from recession to recovery to revival. “With its growing profile for all-natural, high-quality foods and an increasing number of our products becoming familiar to American consumers, our exporters are well positioned to take advantage of the expected renewed demand for Australian foods,” Mr Brennan said,

The United States continues to be a valuable market for Australian businesses looking to expand internationally. In 2008-2009 the US was Australia’s third largest trading partner with two-way trade valued at $53.1 billion. Austrade maintains a network devoted to the US market, providing extensive support for Australian exporters and assisting US companies to invest in Australia.

G’Day USA: Australia Week was held from 9 – 22 January and was produced by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade, Tourism Australia and Qantas Airways. In addition to the founding partners, Australia Week was supported by the State Governments of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia and around 33 sponsors.

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