Eyes on Asia for export growth in Australia

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Monday, June 04, 2012

Targeted production and product integrity are the keys to winning over the rapidly emerging – and fiercely competitive – Asian markets. MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) General Manager International Markets and Economic Services, Dr Peter Barnard, addressed a session at Beef Australia 2012 on the future prospects and competition in global markets.

In it, he predicted that while traditional markets will remain important, future growth would be in a more diverse range of destination countries, particularly in emerging Asian markets such as China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Growth concentrated in Asia
 
In 1955, 80% of Australia’s beef exports went to the United Kingdom. Last year 70% went to three countries – Japan, the United States and Korea – and 30% went to other markets including Southeast Asia/China, Russia/Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The outlook for the Australian beef industry was for a more diversified set of export destinations but over the long term growth would be concentrated in Asia, according to Bernard. He continued that over the next decade, growth in urban Asia would equal the total current size of the American population. Food consumption in Asia was expected to double by 2020.

Rising income will lead to higher beef purchase

And they are more likely to be buying it from global retail and foodservice outlets – with global brands such as WalMart, Carrefour, McDonalds and Yum! planning aggressive expansion in Asian markets. While beef consumption is relatively low – with less than 5kgs per person per year consumed in China and the Philippines for example – it increases as incomes rise. These rising incomes mean more people can afford high quality Australian beef.

These are important advantages to Australian product, with around 70% of Chinese consumers rating food safety as more important or much more important than price.

To properly target these increasingly finer consumer and trade segments, supply chain coordination will become increasingly important. Genetic selection was an important strategy to efficiently and consistently meet these consumer and trade segments, Dr Barnard said. More than ever before genetic selection at farm level would be influenced by the local circumstances in the particular markets producers were targeting.
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