Asia’s increasing demand for agrifood creates opportunity for Australia

Food demand in Asia is expected to grow by 45% to 2050, posing strong opportunities for Australian agrifood exporters.  

According to a report by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and ABARES, growing populations and rising incomes of Asian countries is increasing demand for larger volumes of food and wider variety.  

On a commodity basis, Asia’s consumption over the 30-year period (2020-2050) is expected to grow by: 

  • Dairy: 30% 
  • Fruit: 26% 
  • Grains: 23% 
  • Meat: 50% 
  • Oilseed products: 56% 
  • Sugar: 19% 
  • Vegetables: 16% 

As Australia is currently a primary exporter of food products to Asia, CCIWA’s Head of International Trade and Investment Centre, Michael Carter, says exporters are well-placed to deliver on this increasing demand.  

“The demand for Western Australian food and agribusiness in Asia is rapidly increasing. The vast and diverse geography of WA serves as a valuable and quality source of produce that meets the growing appetite of Asian nations,” he says.  

“With a focus on quality and sustainability, WA food and agribusinesses have become reliable suppliers to Asia. This mutually beneficial relationship contributes to economic growth and fosters international cooperation – addressing food security.” 

Australia’s proximity to Asia is another advantage for Australian exporters over other international competitors. 

“With our abundance of land, we are ideally suited for providing buyers in Asia with broadacre crops, like wheat, canola and pulses, and meat products that make use of Australia’s extensive grasslands,” says a DAFF spokesperson. 

“The short distance to market can support the fresh export of horticultural products like fruit and vegetables. Australia also benefits from having a strong reputation around food safety.” 

Growing demand per country 

India: Population growth will be a key driver for India’s future food consumption, with grains and dairy expected to increase by about 30%.  

China: Consumption of meat and livestock inputs such as feed and protein meal will rise, complemented by already high consumption of vegetables. Oilseed products will also see a substantial increase in consumption. 

Japan: Although population declines will lead to a drop in total consumption (and import), gradual income growth will support per person food consumption of vegetables and meat. Other food categories are expected to remain stable or drop slightly in consumption per person. 

South Korea: Income growth, urbanisation and changing demographics will support higher consumption (and imports) of meat and associated inputs, despite projected population declines.  

Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN): All four pillars of demand growth – rising incomes, population growth, urbanisation, changing demographics – will drive consumption and imports higher across most agrifood categories. Particularly, consumption of meat and crops products will drive stronger growth in import demand for grains and oilseed products.  

Indonesia: Growing incomes, population and urbanisation will deliver larger and diversified diets to consumers, supporting agricultural trade prospects. Total consumption of oilseed products is set to double and all other food categories are likely to increase. 

Thailand: Rising incomes and urbanisation are expected to raise import demand for livestock product inputs, including grains and oilseed meal. Per person, consumption of oilseed products and meat will have the largest growth. 

Vietnam: Growing incomes and urbanisation will drive an increase in import demand for livestock product inputs, including grains and oilseed meal. The largest growth for per person consumption is set to be for vegetables and meat. 

How can exporters maximise this opportunity? 

“WA exporters should focus on their key Asian market entry export strategy with thorough market research to identify target markets’ consumer preferences and any Free Trade Agreement benefits,” Carter says. 

He says ensuring high-quality standards throughout production is crucial.  

“Adapting products to meet Asian consumer preferences and cultural requirements is important. Streamlining the supply chain and building relationships with logistics providers and local partners are essential. Cultural sensitivity and understanding can enhance business negotiations. By implementing these strategies, WA food exporters can successfully tap into the Asian rim market.” 

CCIWA’s International Trade and Investment Centre (ITIC) helps businesses reduce the time, cost and risk of going global. Contact the team for a free consultation on (08) 9365 7620 or via [email protected]. 

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