Baguette-style sandwich drives demand for Aussie wheat

Cally DupeCountryman
Vietnam is Australia’s second-largest wheat market worth $460 million each year on average.
Camera IconVietnam is Australia’s second-largest wheat market worth $460 million each year on average. Credit: AEGIC

Vietnam’s appetite for bread and noodles made from premium Australian wheat could jump 44 per cent by 2030, according to new analysis.

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre’s latest report, titled Wheat and Barley Markets in Vietnam: their strategic importance to Australia, analyses Vietnam’s grain market and economy to understand trends and suggest future actions for Australia.

Lead author Peter White, an AEGIC economist, said Australia has historically been Vietnam’s largest wheat supplier, providing about 1.5 million tonnes a year on average.

However, in recent years Black Sea wheat has been encroaching in the feed sector.

“About 900,000 tonnes of Australian wheat was used in Vietnam’s higher-priced food market and we expect increased demand to expand this market segment to 1.3 million tonnes by 2030 — a 44 per cent increase,” Dr White said.

“Australian wheat has an excellent reputation for noodles in Vietnam.

“Australian wheat is also Vietnam’s first choice for bread.

“To maintain and grow this market, the Australian grains industry has to make sure our wheat continues to meet the quality expectations of Vietnamese end-users.”

Dr White said malt and feed barley were also potential areas of growth for Australian exports.

“Vietnamese people love their beer,” he said.

“Vietnam is one of the top 10 beer markets in the world, and Australia is already their largest supplier of malt and malt barley.”

Dr White said feed barley was another untapped market for Australia.

“Educating Vietnamese buyers about the benefits of Australian feed barley could create valuable new opportunities,” he said.

AEGIC chief economist Ross Kingwell said Vietnam would remain an important market for Australia in years to come.

“Vietnam’s middle class will make up one-quarter of the population by 2030 and will demand higher quality food and beverages, such as whole wheat breads, premium noodles and full malt beer,” he said.

“As Vietnam’s economy grows, it will be very important for Australia to carefully monitor and respond to the changing needs of Vietnamese flour mills, food manufacturers and consumers.”

“Convenience and affordability will remain a major factor for most people in Vietnam for the foreseeable future, so Australian wheat for human consumption needs to be attractively priced whilst maintaining its preferred quality status in the market.

“Australian wheat remains under pressure from lower-cost grain producers such as Russia, Ukraine and Argentina, which will be an ongoing challenge.”

Fact file

  • Vietnam is Australia’s second-largest wheat market (after Indonesia) worth $460 million each year on average.
  • Australia exports about 1.5 million tonnes to Vietnam each year on average. About 0.9 million tonnes of this is used in Vietnam’s higher priced food market. Increased demand could expand this market segment to 1.3 million tonnes by 2030 – a 44 per cent increase.
  • Vietnam is experiencing rapid social and economic change with its economy set to double by 2030.
  • At 96 million people, Vietnam is the third most populous nation in South East Asia. Vietnam’s emerging middle class will double from 13 per cent to 26 per cent by 2026 – however the middle class is small relative to other South East Asian countries such as Indonesia.
  • Wheat consumption for food per capita in Vietnam has increased from 5kg in 1990 to over 16kg in 2018, and will continue to grow to about 23kg by 2030.
  • Barley imports into Vietnam have increased from about 50,000 to more than 150,000 million tonnes in 2018 – 80 per cent of this from Australia. This could potentially double by 2030.

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