Australia exports over $40 billion worth of food and beverages each year, 63 per cent of which goes to Asia.
Targeting Asian markets with boutique products is just one opportunity highlighted in a new report from CSIRO, which charts a future course for Australia’s food and agriculture businesses.
The ‘Food and Agriculture Road Map’ identifies opportunities to increase the competitiveness of Australia’s industries in the light of a changing world. It takes into account global trends including strain on resources, aging populations and an increasing Asian middle class.
Differentiating food products based on Australia’s perceived strengths and keeping a greater proportion of processing onshore to increase its value are two key themes within the report.
In particular, the growing Asian middle class is expected to create an increased demand for boutique foodstuffs.
Braidwood-based producers Jenny Daniher and Cathy Owens of Garlicious Grown have recently begun exporting their black garlic to the Chinese market.
They were approached last year by export business Moncentra Fresh, which was keen to export black garlic to Shanghai.
They have sent one shipment, which has been accepted by the Chinese customs.
“Apparently we are the only international black garlic company to be accepted into China at this stage,” Mrs Daniher said.
Black garlic has the value of familiarity in the Chinese market, as it has traditionally been used medicinally.
The garlic is held at a particular temperature and humidity for 30 days to caramalise it, changing the texture and creating a sweet-savoury flavour.
Mrs Daniher believes that, as a high end product, it will also appeal to the growing middle class.
As a small business only three years young, she’s just not sure if they could have managed the logistics of trade and import in an unfamiliar language on their own.
“I guess it’s been made easy because Moncentra have been so good to deal with,” she said.