Beef Australia: Cater for Growing Asian Markets

AUSTRALIA - Beef Australia 2012 has opened with a message of massive export market opportunities in Asia over the next 20 years, with producers challenged to match their genetic selection with consumer demands.
calendar icon 8 May 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

The two-day Bayer and Bioniche International Beef Cattle Genetics Conference, the official lead in event to the national cattle industry exposition Beef Australia 2012, began at CQUniversity Australia’s Rockhampton campus yesterday morning.

More than 300 delegates are in attendance, travelling from around Australia as well as the United States, South America, Indonesia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Keynote speaker Dr Peter Barnard, general manager for international markets and economic services at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), told the conference of the “mind boggling” growth expected in Asian markets due to continued population and economic growth.

“Food consumption in Asia is expected to double by 2020,” Dr Barnard said. “The outlook for the Australian beef industry is for a more diversified set of export destinations, but growth will be concentrated in Asia.”

Five years ago, 87 per cent of Australia’s beef exports were concentrated in just three destinations – the United States, Japan and Korea. In 2011 those three countries accounted for 70 per cent of Australian exports, as new markets emerged in Russia, the Middle East and China.

Dr Barnard said that patterns of food consumption in these areas would be influenced by the expansion of global supermarket chains, but consumer tastes would retain distinct local identities.

“There are now more markets than ever before and we will see an explosion of new markets into the future,” he said. “Not only are we talking about diversity in terms of country distribution, but there will be markets within markets,” he said.

“And although Australian beef is more expensive than product from India, for example, in Asia it is considered prestigious and we can compete on service and quality.

“In China consumer studies have shown that people are prepared to pay for food safety and that they do look at the country of origin of the product.”

Dr Barnard said Australian beef processors were already targeting specific cuts to the markets where they are most valued by consumers – some 87 per cent of Australian short ribs exports go to Korea, while knuckles are favoured by Russian sausage makers and rumps by Brazilians.

“More than ever before genetic selection at farm level will be influenced by the local circumstances in the particular markets producers are targeting,” he said.

The conference was officially opened by Federal Member for Capricornia, Kirsten Livermore, on behalf of the Australian Government, while delegates were welcomed to the campus by CQUniversity Australia Chancellor Rennie Fritschy.

Beef Australia 2012 chairman Geoff Murphy said the conference was an important addition to the week-long Beef Australia programme, and encouraged delegates to make the most of the information on offer to improve the industry.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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