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Asia to Demand More Meat and Dairy Imports

18 October 2013

Over the past 20 years, food consumption patterns in Asia have shifted from traditional grain-based diets to incorporating more protein-rich, higher value foods, such as meat and dairy.

A recent report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), What Asia wants, analyses the trends in food production and consumption in the major Asian countries and provides a forecast for future consumption, production and trade.

Based on Asia’s productive capacity, ABARES predict that the food production in Asia will not be sufficient to meet the growth in meat consumption out to 2050, and therefore the demand for imported meat is likely to continue increasing.

Meat and Livestock Australia say that in China, sheep and goat meat consumption per person has risen from 1kg in 1990 to 3kg in 2009 – a faster rate than sheep production in China can be sustained, consequently resulting in a greater demand for imports from Australia and New Zealand.

Similarly, beef consumption per person has increased from 1kg per year in 1990 to 4.5kg per year in 2008.

Sustained income and population growth in China are major factors supporting the trend towards increased consumption of high-value food commodities, such as beef and sheepmeat.

ABARES forecasts that in 2050, demand for sheep and goat meat will be 75 per cent higher than in 2007, and demand will have almost doubled for beef over the same period.

In south-east Asia, ABARES predict that demand for Australian meat exports will continue to increase, as per person incomes rise, however, beef exports are likely to see most of the growth, as ABARES forecast beef consumption in the region to be 120 per cent higher in 2050 than it was in 2007.

According to ABARES, Japan and South Korea are expected to show contrastingly limited growth in demand for beef and sheep meat to 2050, due to already relatively high income levels and consumption of higher-value proteins, as well as an expected decline in population.

October 2013

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