Lush green fields dotted with Angus cattle and prime lambs, or Brahman’s roaming freely in open grasslands are images that usually come to mind when you mention Australian agriculture.
The middle to upper class Asian and Middle East markets actively seek out Australian products for their ‘clean, green and free range’ labels as healthy and ethical eating become a higher priority.
I experienced this first hand in Japan, where it was common to see brochures proudly advertising their use of Australian Angus Beef in family restaurants.
Eating protein in the form of meat (be it lamb or beef) is not as common in Japan, so while you don’t see big cuts of steak on the supermarket shelf, it is a dish to eat out and therefore people don’t mind paying a bit extra.
However, the rapid rise in beef production in Brazil is a threat to Australia’s markets as they have a much lower cost of production.
It is economical for countries such as Japan, Indonesia and China to buy more Brazilian beef to feed their growing populations as they demand more meat.
Despite this increasing competition, I believe there will continue to be a demand for quality Australian products.
I recently competed in the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition.
We also took part in a three-day workshop to learn more about the Australian meat industry.
Brazil was a hot topic, but all talk was positive about creating a point of difference for Australian meat and targeting specific markets, particularly the upper class that are willing to pay for quality products and who often eat out.
The market for Australian meat exports will become more competitive, but demand for quality will increase.
This is where Australia’s market potential lies.