Australia has always been known for the role it plays in food exports, especially the exports of grains, meats and dairy across the Asia-Pacific region.
At a time many of our neighbours are experiencing substantial economic growth, Australian food exports have benefited from the evolving dietary patterns of many of these nations, with red meats and dairy making up a larger portion of diets than ever before.
However, one of the most crucial trends impacting Australian food manufacturers, and one often overlooked from a manufacturing perspective, is the growing diversity in food offerings back at home.
With around one-third of Australian’s today born overseas, it is no surprise that food trends are now evolving to reflect a multicultural nation.
Diets involving rice, noodles and various legumes are becoming increasingly commonplace within Australian households.
At the same time, the influx of global cuisine is also seen as a sophistication of our dining culture. However, we are importing more food than ever before to cater to new and emerging trends.
Over the past five years, a surge in the number of foreign food establishments is possibly a sign of what’s to come.
Chinese hot pot and milk tea chains, Japanese and Korean barbeque and dessert houses, as well as Vietnamese noodle and street food eateries are just some of the examples of new dining trends taking place across Australian capitals.
Despite this showing of diversity, the common narrative is the insignificant role that most Australian food manufacturers have played in the rise of new eating trends.
Sure, many of the food inputs such as meat, grain and dairy can be efficiently sourced from our domestic producers, but the unique value-add food items that create the defining characteristics of foreign food, remain largely served by growing imports.