Food and grocery sector driving Australian manufacturing

The food and grocery sector is 30 per cent more valuable to Australian manufacturing than it was 10 years ago, according to new research by consulting firm EY.

This is largely a result of Asia’s growing middle class and the demand for Australia’s produce, according to the research. The sector has been aided in recent years by Australia’s strong export ties, particularly the 2015 China-Australia free trade agreement.

Australia’s reputation for producing clean and green products is also key in the sector’s growth, according to EY agribusiness partner Andrew Metcalfe.

“While domestic conditions remain challenging, food and grocery processing is an area of strong export growth with an 11 per cent surge in food and beverage exports to $26b last year,” Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Tanya Barden told The Australian.

“The results show a huge potential for huge growth.”

The food and grocery manufacturing sector is currently worth $126 billion, and employs over 300,000 Australians. Its growth over the past year was almost three times higher than that of the next-largest manufacturing sector, machinery and equipment and fabricated metal.