As reported by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), China has progressed into second place behind the US as Australia’s most valuable red meat export market; the activity around marketing, relationship building and in-country education has gone full speed ahead. Everything from trade shows to cold chain seminars and cooking demonstrations at Asia’s largest food expo, Meat & Livestock Australia’s team in China has been working around the clock to guarantee Australian beef and lamb is in the forefront of minds as China continues down a path of procuring exceptional volumes of meat. MLA Country Manager Greater China, Joe Zhu states that the focus is on enabling the Chinese industry and business partners to better handle Australian product, and also to be able to better communicate the advantages it offers.
There has been a remarkable growth of Australian chilled beef exports to China – with the rise of middle class incomes, consequently increasing the sophistication of demand and appreciation of high quality beef products. This has gone hand-in-hand with strong recognition of Australian brands. Australian Beef exports to China are up 146% for the year-to-May, following a total growth of 120% last year.
However, there is still untapped potential, with the Chinese consumer households having an income of over US$35,000 – this marks the threshold where people start to consume premium imported meat much more frequently – it has been anticipated that these numbers will double between now and 2023. China has a 1.4b population, even if you were to narrow down our target segment, this is still a much larger number than the entire population Australia. From a marketing perspective, the main focus is on guaranteeing the Chinese industry is able to get the right message across to the end user, this will allow consumers to appreciate products such as grass-fed and grain-fed, loin and other secondary cuts.