China is Australia’s largest agricultural export destination, and is also estimated to be the largest consumer of food and beverages in the world.
A major market opportunity for Australian producers lies with the growing number of affluent urban households in China, according to the latest ANZ agricultural research paper, “Feeding the Dragon: The Modernisation of China’s Food Industry”.
Australia’s proposition in capturing the Chinese premium food and beverage sector is the underlying quality and reliability of our food and agricultural products. This is particularly relevant to New South Wales, as a clean, green, reliable source of produce.
Our target consumers in China have higher incomes, and spend up to five times more on products such as dairy, seafood and meat compared to the lowest income brackets. The key for NSW exporters will be to determine what customers in emerging markets want and then making sure we’re well positioned to provide them with the right product, at the right time, to the right place.
The report outlines that farmers, processors and marketers must understand the preferences of these new consumers and the distribution channels they use to source their food, if Australia is to capture the food opportunity in China.
Relationships are an important part of being hooked into the right channels in Asia, and in recent times many important NSW-based stakeholders, including state government and industry representatives, as well as ANZ staff, have visited parts of Asia to strengthen these ties.
Our super regional strategy means we have people on the ground in 28 markets across Asia Pacific. Our customers benefit from our local relationships, agribusiness expertise and super regional connections, which can help open up the right doors, in the right places across Asia Pacific.
We are currently witnessing a more rapid change in our end export destinations for packaged and fresh food than we could have imagined a decade ago. China’s demand for food imports from Australia has generated significant opportunities for exporters.
But the report also finds that there are key differences in the Chinese market compared with advanced economies. It estimates that only around 15% of food, meat and vegetables in China are transported via the cold chain, compared with 90% in more developed countries.
Outside major metro areas, cold chain distribution is still unreliable. An improvement in cold chain distribution provides significant opportunity for Australian food and agribusiness.
The Australian agricultural industry needs to develop new methods for managing sales to new regions, breathing new life into the agricultural sector. The industry is being presented with an opportunity we haven’t seen for some time. With good pre-farmgate management, on farm management, and post farmgate activities, we are optimistic that the sector can really outperform and NSW is set to be a key beneficiary.
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