Movements in this year's Top 100 Australian Food & Drink Companies 2017 report revealed a number of broader industry trends, according to IBISWorld.
Among this year’s top performing industries were milk and cream processing, IBISWorld senior industry analyst Bao Vuong said, due to strong sales of infant formula in Australia and China, and strong growth in higher-margin milk products.
A2 Milk, for example, saw a 56 per cent revenue increase from 2016 to 2017, and its position in the Top 100 rose from 59 to 44 accordingly.
The Top 100's top ranking company Fonterra saw its revenue grow from $17.5 billion in 2016 to $19.5 billion in 2017, partly due to maximising earnings by moving more volume into higher value products.
Despite a consumer backlash, the sugar industry was also strong, with Vuong noting that a lot of companies in the sector, including Wilmar Sugar and Tully Sugar, were seeing revenue growth of more than 10 per cent.
“This is because favourable weather conditions helped with crop yields and the domestic price of sugar increased a lot which helped with revenue growth,” Vuong said.
Costa Group, which recently acquired the Avocado Ridge orchards and packing operations in Queensland from the Carney family for an undisclosed amount, also saw rising revenues, as did Freshmax Group, thanks to growing demand for local fruit in Asian export markets, and also a change in accounting standards.
The beef sector didn't fare as well as many other sectors, with producers in Queensland and NSW experiencing drought conditions and a decline in herd numbers. NH Foods Australia saw its revenue decrease 19 per cent, and G & K O’Connor saw its revenue fall 28 per cent, and both were impacted by these issues, according to Vuong.
Vuong also noted that rice producer and processor SunRice faced challenging weather conditions which contributed to a decrease in revenue.
Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative also moved down the list after a 19 per cent fall in revenue due to slumping lobster prices.
Editorial by Food & Drink Business. All data sourced from IBISWorld.