A new report has described Australia as having a secure food supply and highly competitive and diverse food industry, however, there were still many opportunities for the sector to build on this success and to be more innovative into the future.
The report, FOODmap: An analysis of the Australian food supply chain, was launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig.
Minister Ludwig said FOODmap provided a picture of Australia’s food industry from paddock to plate and examines the way our food supply chain is evolving, including the way consumer demands have changed since the global economic situation of 2008.
FOODmap shows that changing demographics, consumer aspirations, market preferences and new and emerging technologies mean supply chains are highly dynamic. It also highlights that while supermarkets continued to dominate the retailing of food, other food outlets were becoming increasingly important.
In 2010-11, total turnover from retail food and liquor sales was $130 billion. Supermarkets accounted for 63 per cent of household food expenditure, with 12 per cent spent at specialty and convenience stores, and 25 per cent on eating out.
Over the past 20 years, spending on food in Australia has increased by 13 per cent, while incomes have risen 36 per cent. Although food has become relatively more affordable, economic pressures have still impacted on the eating habits and expenditure patterns of households.
“Our food producers play an important role in feeding the nation and the world,” Minister Ludwig said. “Of the fresh food consumed by Australians, well over 90 per cent is grown and supplied by our own farmers. As well as producing high quality, safe food for ourselves, Australia also feeds another 40 million people around the globe.”
The report has also identified risks for the food sector, including the affects of the high Australian dollar on exports, industry consolidation and energy costs.
“While the strong Australian dollar has impacted on the competitiveness of food produced in Australia, changing demographics and consumer aspirations, and technological advances are factors that will drive future growth,” Minister Ludwig said.
According to FOODmap, Australia has a relatively high level of supply stability, and is relatively self-sufficient in terms of grains, bread and bakery products. Factors influencing the short-term volatility of price and volumes within the industry include limited use of risk management strategies and the threat of competition from imported ingredients and finished products.
The report also highlights some major trends and dynamics for the baking industry, including:
• healthy eating trends, which have supported the trend towards high-fibre products.
• strong growth in the franchise model in recent years, which has depleted sales of independent bakeries, depending upon convenience location.
• significant expansion of FSS bakeries offering low-priced, private-label lines.
• significant expansion of product variety, style and functionality, which has added value.
The full report is available online at www.daff.gov.au.