Through the National Rural Issues program, AgriFutures Australia undertakes research to underpin Australia’s market competitiveness, and explores opportunities to expand Australia’s productive capacity.
- understanding the impact of global trends on consumers
- understanding the buying preferences of increasingly choosy consumers
- improving market share and farm gate returns by communicating the provenance, ethics and healthiness of Australian produce
- identifying new food types to meet the demands of new and expanding markets
Consumers and their buying preferences influence everything from what is produced to how it is produced. More and more consumers are focused on the provenance of their food and ensuring that it is produced ethically and in an environmentally sustainable way.
Today’s consumers are increasingly empowered and motivated to choose food and fibre products with specialised characteristics. They have different tastes, preferences and concerns to the consumer of 20 years ago. Then, organic certification, health labels and fair trade logos were hard to find in the supermarket – today these labels are commonplace.
Future consumers are likely to have new and stronger preferences. Health is likely to become a prominent driver of food choice and consumption patterns, with information technology giving consumers the chance to selectively access, share and validate information about products along the farm-to-fork supply chain.
Australian rural industries have an opportunity to increase market share and improve farm gate returns by communicating the provenance, ethics, environmental performance and healthiness of their crop and livestock products. Emerging technologies will make farming a much more transparent activity enabling customers to readily trace food and fibre products from their origins.
Understanding the rise of emerging markets will also be an important factor in coming years.
In the developing Asia region alone, 1.02 billion people will cross an income threshold and move out of poverty and into the middle classes. Rising wealth is having an impact on commodity markets. People are increasing their average daily calorie intake, which means more food will be demanded, and are more reliant on markets for food as they move out of subsistence production.
Diets are shifting from being solely based on staple foods like rice and grains towards high-protein foods such as dairy, fish, meat and eggs, while boutique foods such as wine, tropical fruits and nuts are seeing pockets of strong demand growth in emerging economies.
Australian rural industries have an opportunity to identify new food types and connect to these new and expanding markets.