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.