Health and sustainability – opportunities for the Australian grains industry

28 February 2023

New AEGIC research will help the Australian grains industry respond to a growing consumer preference in South East Asia for foods with strong health and sustainability claims.

Speaking at the Perth GRDC Grains Research Update on 27 February 2023, AEGIC Senior Economist Dr Chris Carter said Asian consumers are increasingly demanding foods that are wholesome and produced sustainably.

Dr Carter is leading AEGIC’s research to identify trends in food labelling in Asian markets that the Australian grains industry might be able to capitalise on.

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“Young consumers in particular often place a significant amount of importance on product labels when making purchasing decisions,” he said.

“It’s important that the Australian grains industry is aware of these trends to be in a position to capitalise on potential opportunities.

“Analysis of consumer trends and product labelling is a somewhat confusing space. The value of AEGIC’s research is that it drills down into what is relevant and actionable for the Australian grains industry specifically.

“Our analysis is based on a food labelling audit, ideally in the future we will have the opportunity to survey consumers directly to better understand what is most important to them.”

Dr Carter said AEGIC’s research identified that the near-to-medium-term opportunities for Australia would likely be around health – for example, whole grain wheat and oat products.

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AEGIC already conducts research and market development work in whole grain products and novel oat foods.

“As well as these health-based opportunities, in the longer term we expect Asian consumers will be increasingly interested in the environmental impact of their food choices and the sustainability of grain supply chains,” he said. “We hope to investigate this further in future work.”

Dr Carter said the ongoing research would help the Australian grains industry develop long-term strategies to respond to these consumer trends.

AEGIC’s analysis is being provided directly to key organisations in the grains supply chain to help inform decision making.

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This project is an investment of Australian growers and the Australian Government through the Grains Research and Development Corporation, and AEGIC.

The 2023 Perth GRDC Research Updates also featured AEGIC Chief Economist Professor Ross Kingwell speaking on Australia’s grain export supply chain challenges.

AEGIC Interim CEO Dr Ken Quail presented the latest analysis of Australia’s key wheat markets.

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