Food to top mining as Australia’s biggest export sector
CANBERRA - In an economic analysis published today, the CSIRO says high growth in demand for healthy and sustainable products could make Australia's food and agribusiness sector more valuable than mining.
The sector currently contributes about AUD138 billion to the Australian economy, about 7.6% of GDP, compared with 8% from mining.
The analysis says domestic demand will comprise about AUD15 billion. Exports of AUD10 billion will be underpinned by rising demand throughout Asia, where Australian produce already has a reputation for quality, safety and value.
"Growing interest in healthy and sustainable lifestyles could be worth about A$25 billion and make up about 10% of the value of Australia's food and agribusiness sector by the end of next decade," it says.
In health and wellness products, the report examines four "high-growth" opportunities:
Fortified and functional foods, which contain added ingredients intended to aid health;
Free-from and natural products, including gluten-free and certified organic;
Vitamins and supplements; and
In sustainable solutions, the report identifiesthree growth areas:
Alternative protein sources, any food eaten as an alternative to meat and seafood;
Organic waste conversion, generating useful products from waste; and
Sustainable packaging, such as bioplastics and biodegradable packaging.