Oz exports soar

Demand from China, India and Russia is opening doors for local manufacturers of processed foods, seafood and wine.

Australia’s annual food and beverage export revenue of $24 billion is predicted to rise as new export markets create opportunities for manufactur­ers of processed foods and pre­mium dairy products, seafood and wine.

Austrade, the Australian Government’s export develop­ment agency, said while traditional export markets including Japan, US, UK and New Zealand remain strong, developing economies with emerging middle class con­sumer populations such as China, India and Russia are of growing interest.

This is despite fears that ongoing drought conditions and the Australian exchange rate will restrain growth in the food and beverage industry.

Factors including rising incomes in China, India and Russia, and awareness of international food trends are contributing to export growth in these markets. The spread of international supermarket chains across Asia and a trend toward wholesome, convenient food is also driving demand for Aus­tralian processed food.

“In China, Australia has long been a supplier of com­modities including grains, but over the past two years we have seen sales of Australian bottled wine taking off and have had buyers from China wanting a whole range of grocery lines for supermarkets and specialty food stores,” Austrade’s senior export advisor Gary Hullin said.

“Products like biscuits, con­fectionery items, honey, macadamias and non-alcoholic beverages are in strong demand from China because of the dif­ferences in packaging, quality and taste of these Australian products compared with what is produced and sold locally.”

The growth of supermarket chains in India’s more affluent cities has also contributed to demand for processed foods including sauces, snack bars and cake mixes.

“While modern retailing is only just taking off in India, accounting for approximately 1% to 2% of total food retail­ing, it is an area that will gain momentum as it has in other parts of Asia,” Hullin said.

The poor quality of India’s refrigeration and cool chain currently limits export to dried, shelf stable grocery items.

In Russia, however, Austrade has identified an increase in beef, wine, premium dairy prod­ucts and seafood.

Independent research con­ducted by Austrade showed product quality, freshness of produce, health and nutrition­al value, taste, and food safety as driving the success of Aus­tralian food exporters in exist­ing and emerging markets.

“Australia is recognised internationally as growing and producing clean and natural food products as well as adher­ing to strict quality control and food safety standards,” Hullin said.

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