Food & Beverage
The Food & Beverage Cluster aims to bring together industry participants to address key issues and foster industry exchange. It further offers market entry and consulting services for new entrants to the Australian market.
Food and Beverage Industry
The Cluster Work
Across Australia, State and Territory Governments, as well as the German and Australian Governments have made the Food and Beverage industry a priority to secure the future supply of quality product to their respective populations, and as an important pillar of their international trade activities.
The focus of this Cluster includes the area of Advanced Manufacturing / Industry 4.0 as this is a key component of success in this industry.
The Food & Beverage Cluster provides value to the German-Australian Food & Beverage business community, by providing industry participants with a forum for exchanging current developments, being a catalyst of connections and by acting as a collective voice for the industry’s interests. Members of the Food & Beverage Cluster can contribute to the direction of the cluster by participating in the exclusive Food & Beverage Committee, and can further benefit from industry specific consulting services, as well as various opportunities to increase exposure and visibility as sponsor, host or speaker at Cluster-Events.
The Food and Agriculture Industry is one of the most important sectors in Australia and contributes significantly to the country’s economic output. With an international reputation for producing safe, high-quality products, Australia is a strong exporter of products spanning the food and beverage spectrum. For German companies, there is great potential in the Australian market, thanks to the Australians’ interest in high quality product and international variety.
The value of agricultural production in Australia has been steadily growing over the past 20 years, with a decline starting about 3 years ago due to difficult [MS1] weather conditions such as long-lasting droughts and, very recently, never seen before [MS2] bush fires. The total production value of agricultural commodities therefore declined from $66 billion to currently $60 billion – with the target to reach $100 billion by 2030 still in mind.
The biggest share of the agricultural production (44%) derives from livestock farming. Especially cattle livestock for meat production plays an essential role. Crops contribute about 31% to the total value of agricultural production with wheat being the main product. Beef and wheat are also Australia’s main export products which are mainly sold into Asian markets – approximately 63 % of Australia’s agricultural exports go to Asia.
Advanced Manufacturing & Agriculture 4.0
Australia’s AgTech and FoodTech sector strongly supports innovative start-ups and the country strongly focuses on R&D in the field – 24 of Australia’s highest ranked universities research in the field. This makes the sector the second most important research sector after the health sector.
Based on Austrade’s Agriculture 4.0 initiative, the country shows its advances and delivers innovative solutions in robotics, remote sensing, and machine learning. It also provides a new approach for global food supply chains, bio-science, new farming and food processing methods. With this, Australia aims to render the food and agriculture industry more profitable, efficient, safer, and ecological.
These developments have positive effects not only on the domestic market, but on international partners and markets alike. The Australian agricultural sector is not only one of the least subsidized sectors Down Under, it has also always been one of the most innovation driven sectors – especially due to challenges arising from the harsh climate conditions. Australia is therefore establishing itself as the international Hub for Agriculture 4.0.
The food industry is Australia’s largest manufacturing industry. It is characterized by comparatively high prices and consumers are driven by high quality and a taste for international produce. Consumer trends focus on health and wellness, organic food, ‘free-from’ products as well as vegan food. Food manufacturing companies are highly supported through the upstream agricultural sector, notably in the milk, wine, meat and the highly innovative beer production. Furthermore, the sector is reinforced by excellent research and development facilities and the strong cooperation between universities, companies, and (Government) organisations.
These conditions allow for the sector to be highly adaptive and to rapidly adjust to new trends and everchanging consumer demand. Through new manufacturing methods and innovative packaging technologies, Australia offers an interesting market for all different kinds of industry participants throughout the whole supply chain – ‘from farm to fork’. According to ‘Germany Trade and Invest’, the demand for food manufacturing machinery is expected to steadily increase until 2023/24.
The food retail sector in Australia is characterized through a high competition and has been mostly driven by price. With ALDI entering the market a few years ago, market leaders Coles and Woolworths are now offering more white label products. Especially within the food grocery business, retailers are focusing on trends going towards health foods and organic produce – according to the association Australian Organic, approximately 65 per cent of Australians buy organic food. Another focus will be set on ready meals as well as the overall shopping experience – new shop fit outs as well as improved online shopping possibilities are expected.
Australia’s food and agricultural sector is highly regulated and is subject to strict import and biosecurity regulations. In order to comply with these regulations, the Department of Agriculture Water and the Environment provides importers with the Australian Biosecurity Import Conditions database – BICON. The database consists of over 20.000 results of plants, animals, minerals and other products. Some of these, like for example the following, require an import permit:
- Eggs and egg products
- Milk products
- Non preserved meats
- Seeds and nuts
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
Through BICON, importers can assess if the import of a product is allowed, if an import permit is required and which documentation needs to be provided.
Food labelling requirements ae set out in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) as well as the Food Standards Code. They are regulated through the Food Standards Australia New Zealand authority as well as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The most important labels are:
- Country of Origin Label: According to the ACL, companies have been required to comply with the labelling requirements since 2018
- Ingredient Labelling of Foods: Ingredients must be labelled by their weight in declining order. Additional regulations are set in place for composed ingredients.
- Date Marking: Products can be labelled either by their ‘best-before’ or ‘use-by’ date.
- Nutrition Content and Health Claims: These are voluntary labels but the supplier must comply with certain rules set out in section 1.2.7 of the Food Standards Code
Labelling of alcoholic beverages
The labelling requirements of alcoholic beverages are set out in section 1.2 and 2.7 of the Food Standards Code. In addition to the above-mentioned labelling requirements, alcoholic beverages must also include additional labelling:
- Alcohol by volume: Beer, wine, and spirits with more than 1.15 per cent ABV, the label must include the alcohol content as a percentage of ABV or mL/100 ml.
- Standard Drink Labelling: All beverages with more than 0.5% ABV must also include a statement indicating the number of standard drinks (Standard 2.7.1)
- Geographical reference: These references are only allowed to appear on the label, if the product has been produced/manufactured in that region.
- Health & Nutrition Content Claims: No false, misleading or deceiving information must be stated on the label – Please see here further information
Container Deposit Scheme
Australia’s States and Territories have introduced (or are in the process of introducing) different Container Deposit Schemes in order to better manage waste production. The systems can vary from State to State – please contact us for more information.
Further AHK Australien Services
Business Partner Representation, Business Partner Matching, Market Analysis, Company Incorporation, Tax & Legal and Human Resources
More information about other Services of the German-Australian Chamber can be found here.