Monthly Market Highlight
The Australian market continues to grow and has recently become one of the leading destinations for U.S. pork. However, U.S. pork access to the Oceania region (Australia and New Zealand) is limited to processed products and raw materials destined for further processing. Despite access limitations, in 2018, U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports to Australia reached a record volume of 177.3 million pounds (up 13 percent) and climbed 9 percent in value to $227.3 million. Top imported U.S. pork cuts include 3-piece hams, boneless hams, and processed pork.
Overview of Australia
As the world’s sixth largest country by total area, Australia is a country in the Oceania region comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and several other small islands. With a population of nearly 25 million, highly urbanized areas including Canberra and Sydney are concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia is home to a wide variety of landscapes, including deserts, tropical rainforests, and mountainous areas. In 2018, the U.S. exported $1.4 billion worth of agricultural products to Australia, ranking nineteenth among U.S. agricultural export markets and up 71 percent from $826 million in 2008.
Animal Protein Consumption and Domestic Industry
Poultry consumption dominates per capita protein consumption in the Australian diet. Following poultry, other proteins drop considerably with fish, pork, and beef ranking similarly and a lesser amount of lamb consumption in relation to other proteins. Per capita consumption of poultry has continued to rise over the last ten years but has begun to plateau. Fish consumption has remained consistent over time, whereas beef consumption experienced a decline but now trends similarly to pork. Beef ranks highest among domestic animal protein production followed by poultry, lamb, pork, and fish production.
According to a recent Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report on the retail food sector, health, wellness, and the environment continue to be key purchasing factors for Australian consumers. Portion sizes are increasingly important, and consumers expect a quality product. In 2017, the U.S. accounted for $1.1 billion or 12 percent of Australia’s total food-related imports. Traditional grocery retailers have been shrinking and losing market share to modern grocery retailers. Australians tend to choose modern grocery retailers over traditional ones due to the more comprehensive range of products. Independent small grocers remain at a disadvantage to modern grocery retailers due to their lower buying power and economies of scale. U.S. products are well regarded as safe and a good value for money in the Australian market.
The U.S. is the top supplier of pork capturing 46 percent market share of the pork and pork variety meat import market in Australia. Other top exporters include Denmark, the Netherlands, and Canada. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) continues to work to build and reinforce long-term purchasing loyalty among targeted buyers in the market to further develop market share and displace European product by positioning the U.S. as a reliable supplier of safe, high-quality pork that consistently meets buyers’ expectations. Under the U.S. – Australia Free Trade Agreement, all U.S. pork products enter the market with zero percent duties, but duties are also zero percent for pork products from all suppliers. Removing barriers to trade remains a top priority for the continued growth of the Australian market for U.S. pork.