Experts target noodles, baking

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Wheat Quality Australia is reviewing varieties on the Wheat Variety Master List.
Camera IconWheat Quality Australia is reviewing varieties on the Wheat Variety Master List. Credit: WAFarmers

Australia’s ability to keep Indonesia as its biggest wheat customer will hinge largely on holding onto a share of the noodle market, effectively targeting the premium baking sector, and inserting more grain into the growing feed market.

That was the message to the Australian grains industry from Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre chief executive Richard Simonaitis at the 2019 Grains Research Development Corporation grains research updates in Perth on Monday.

Mr Simonaitis’ keynote presentation, ‘technical support for the Indonesian wheat industry — our single biggest wheat customer’, gave an overview of the current status of the Indonesian market, discussed what the future would hold and what AEGIC was doing in response.

He said the story of Indonesia was a great one for Australia, with the country’s population expected to grow by another 30 million by 2030.

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“Population is growing rapidly, which means more mouths to feed and a larger overall market in Australia’s well-established noodle sector,” he said.

“AEGIC’s analysis has shown that by 2030 Indonesia’s population will jump by 30 million.

“People are becoming wealthier, with per capita GDP jumping from US$780 in 2000 to more than US$3800 in 2017.

“The middle class is expected to explode from two million people in 2004 to 120 million people by 2020.”

Mr Simonaitis said Indonesian people were becoming “more urbanised” and leaning towards a western way of eating.

“People are becoming more urbanised and buying more baked goods and other wheat-based convenience foods — good news for Australian efforts to break into the premium bread sector,” he said.

“The animal feed market is growing rapidly, which represents another significant opportunity for Australia.”

Mr Simonaitis said everyone, including farmers, had a part to play to support the Indonesian market and increase value for Australian grain growers.

“Australia needs to keep growing wheat varieties that Indonesia wants to buy, and we need to build their skills and capacity to empower them to get the most out of our product,” he said.

“This requires a whole-of-industry approach.”

Mr Simonaitis said AEGIC’s market intelligence on South-East Asian wheat quality requirements had provided the industry with a solid grounding on which to position for market growth.

“AEGIC is helping Indonesia through in-market engagement and support, especially in the premium baking sector through our Australian wheat for Asian baking project,” he said.

“If Australia can capture 10 per cent of the baking market, it would be worth $72 million for the Australian industry.”

Mr Simonaitis said Indonesia represented significant long-term value for Australian grain growers. “Australian wheat is already well regarded for noodles and our market intelligence is helping the industry keep ahead of the competition by focusing on quality enhancements,” he said.

“We engage expert feed-nutrition consultants to go out into the market and communicate the benefits of incorporating Australian grain into feed formulations.”

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