Food Means Business

Oct 16, 2014

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of food in our day to day lives. In recent times the ‘paddock to plate’ concept has finally given due credit to those in the food supply chain and industry. Not only important to those who benefit directly from the industry, food is also a big part of Australia’s economy.

As a country, we are a great food producing nation and around 90 per cent of the fresh food on Australians’ tables every day is grown and produced here. We are recognized as purveyors of high quality food that is also safe and nutritious. Australians are internationally competitive when it comes to our service industry, our innovations, even our coffee. Despite being a country that has battled droughts and floods, both of which have a significant impact on the food industry, we continue to increase our exports and expand opportunities in Asia. And despite having faced a recession, we are still operating in one of the strongest economies in the world. Recent developments in fine dining such as Heston Blumenthal announcing the opening of his first Australian restaurant in Melbourne is just another sign of renewed positivity in the food service sector.

If you take a look at the most recent statistics available (2011-12), industry gross value added by the Australian food and beverage processing sector was $22.9 billion, which represents around 20 per cent of the gross value added of the Australian manufacturing industry, and 1.6 per cent of Australian gross domestic product. The same year, the food and beverage processing sector accounted for around 24 per cent of Australian manufacturing sector employment.

According to a report produced by the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in 2013, Australian Food Statistics, the value of liquor and food retailing in Australia grew by 4.2 per cent in 2011-12, to $135.8 billion. Of that spending, supermarkets and grocery outlets accounted for 62%, cafes and restaurants 14%, take-away outlets 11%, liquor retailing 7% and other food outlets 6%.

These statistics alone demonstrate how significant a contributor to the Australian economy the food and beverage, grocery and fresh produce industry is. Generating sales and service income of $108.4 billion annually, the industry employs three percent of the Australian workforce and is a leading innovator through investment in research and development.

Knowing what is happening in the industry is key to succeeding within it. Like any sector, the food service industry is driven by market demand and keeping abreast of trends, innovations and industry insights. Getting your product in front of others in the industry, making connections with those who can assist you in your business, and gaining access to the newest and best products across every aspect of food service is vital to ongoing success. The food industry continually reinvents itself, adapts its offering to suit demand, and must continue to deliver quality of the standard demanded by both the industry and consumers.

The food service industry is one in which the sharing of information, collaboration amongst sectors, and imparting of knowledge is second to none. By learning from the successes and challenges of others, the industry not only grows but the individuals within it sharpen their skills, refine their techniques and ultimately deliver a better product. And that, without doubt, helps benefit the entire country.

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