MacTiernan in fresh push for posh nosh into Asia

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Peter MilneThe West Australian
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Cider, oat milk, fermented food and specialty bread are among the premium foods that local producers could be selling to Asia, adding up to $4 billion a year of value to the State’s agrifood exports.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan last night released a report that identified 20 opportunities for premium food production in WA.

Premium food is sold at a much higher price than the average for the category and includes organic food.

Ms MacTiernan said the State had a great reputation for producing quality food ingredients in bulk but lagged other States and developed countries in exports of premium, value-added, consumer-ready products.

Over 500 product types were screened to identify 20 key opportunities to target high-value and high-growth markets.

The opportunities, which also included baby food, cured meats, cereals and chilled pasta, were in addition to well-established WA food exports such as wine, honey, apples and lobsters.

Products where WA had a clear advantage in producing the ingredients were favoured. Other criteria were food that was “on trend”, supported smaller brands or if its origin was important to customers.

“This is about developing the full potential of food and beverage businesses here in Western Australia, which are adding value to our raw produce, growing jobs and building our economy,” Ms MacTiernan said.

WA had an innovative value-added food and beverage sector, but the industry was small, fragmented and under-skilled, according to the report.

The report recommended further work to plan for building the sector’s capacity and to develop markets.

Ruth McDonnell, national retail manager for Simon Johnson, a chain of specialty ingredient stores, said there was also a strong local appetite for premium produce.

“Australian people are extremely aware that this land produces the most amazing produce and ... want that, which is really lovely, they like to shop local,” she said.

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