The dining boom isn’t about to make up for the end of the mining boom yet, but a new report suggests Australia’s food exports are at least headed in just the right direction.
Rice, seafood, grapes and cider are some of the industries with the fastest-growing exports over the past five years, according to a list compiled by research firm IBISWorld.
Australia’s top 20 industries by growth in merchandise exports, excluding services, are estimated to be worth $22.3 billion in 2015/16, IBISWorld said.
Merchandise trade across all industries is estimated to be worth $260.6 billion to the Australian economy, or 15.7 per cent of GDP.
“Asian markets, particularly China, are expected to offer significant growth opportunities for Australian products, valued for their quality, as the burgeoning middle class consumes more imported goods and focuses on greater health awareness,” IBISWorld senior industry analyst Jem Anning said.
Australia signed three free trade agreements in 2014/15 – with South Korea, Japan and China – which are expected to significantly boost trade in coming years.
IBISWorld said five of the main industries in the list include rice-growing, seafood processing, grape growing, cider production, and vitamin and supplement manufacturing.
Rice exports, mainly driven by rising demand from Japan, grew by an annualised 29.5 per cent over the past five years.
The value of rice exports is expected to touch $468.1 million by 2020/21, up from $380.7 million this financial year.
Exports in the seafood processing industry have risen by an annualised 27.3 per cent over the five years to an estimated $1.01 billion in 2015/16, with Vietnam the main destination.
The grape growing industry has also enjoyed substantial growth, with exports rising 26.6 per cent annually over five years, to $285.3 million.
The lifting of tariffs by Asian FTA partners is expected to significantly boost exports further.
Australia’s cider producers have enjoyed buoyant growth over the last five years, in part because the signing of the FTA with Korea led to a surge in cider exports to that country.
Exports have risen 25.8 per cent annually.
Exports in vitamin and supplement manufacturing has mainly been the result of Swisse and Blackmores continuing to expand into Asia.
Industry exports have grown 13.2 per cent annually over five years, to an estimated $365.0 million in 2015/16.
Meat processing accounted for the largest segment of non-mining exports in 2015/16, at $14.1 billion, followed by aircraft manufacturing and repairs, and beef cattle farming, IBIS World said.