Asian premium foodmarket worth $4b

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Peter MilneThe West Australian
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Harvey Beef national sales manager Ben Martella and export sales and marketing manager Jon Liu, with Just Jerky manager Elisa Trifunlski at the launch of the WA State Government's Premium Agrifood Market Opportunity report at the Whipper Snapper Distillery in Northbridge last Thursday evening.
Camera IconHarvey Beef national sales manager Ben Martella and export sales and marketing manager Jon Liu, with Just Jerky manager Elisa Trifunlski at the launch of the WA State Government's Premium Agrifood Market Opportunity report at the Whipper Snapper Distillery in Northbridge last Thursday evening. Credit: Rueben Hale.

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 this week 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.

More than 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.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Irongate Wagyu ower Peter Gilmour.
Camera IconAgriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Irongate Wagyu ower Peter Gilmour. Credit: Countryman
Holy Smoke strategist Douglas Smythe, Foley’s Frothing Fermentations director Tim Durham and owner Margot Foley at the launch.
Camera IconHoly Smoke strategist Douglas Smythe, Foley’s Frothing Fermentations director Tim Durham and owner Margot Foley at the launch. Credit: .

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 WA, which are adding value to our raw produce, growing jobs and building our economy,” Ms MacTiernan said.

Three Farmers Quinoa director Garren Knell, The Chia Company managing director John Foss and Three Farmers brand manager Zoe Knell at the launch.
Camera IconThree Farmers Quinoa director Garren Knell, The Chia Company managing director John Foss and Three Farmers brand manager Zoe Knell at the launch. Credit: Countryman

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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