Australia takes food trends to UK

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 27th February 2009

Aussies are endeavouring to teach the Brits a thing or two about food with the launch of an Austrade food trends report in the UK this month.

Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner for the UK, Kylie Hargreaves, said the Austrends 2009 Report was developed to create some buzz in the UK Market around the interesting and unique food trends coming out of Australia, during a difficult time for new product development and marketing.

“Retailers here in the UK are a little bit behind some of the Australian trends,” Ms Hargreaves explained. “For example, even though Australia has a much smaller population than the UK, things like tasty free-from products have become mainstream.”

“‘Free-from’ is a highly profitable area in the UK as the market has grown dramatically over the last five years, by more than 300 per cent according to market analysts Mintel. But it’s not yet mainstream,” she said. “There continues to be negative flavour and quality perceptions – something that Australian producers could help shrug off with their premium and flavourful free-from product lines.”

“Supermarket retailers will be seeking to differentiate themselves from each other in this difficult climate through innovation, quality and value for money and Australia has a lot to offer UK retailers in this space.”

Carman’s Fine Foods Managing Director, Carolyn Creswell, which produces a gluten-free muesli, sees supplying Sainsbury’s supermarkets free-from offerings as a way to add depth and variety to a category.

“Dietary requirements have been recognised in Australia for a long time, but due to vast media coverage and increased awareness, many people now choose to avoid certain ingredients, which we previously considered ‘staples’ even if they do not suffer from an allergy or intolerance,” Ms Creswell noted. “Carman’s chooses not to use cheap bulking ingredients such as wheat and bran; these ingredients aren’t needed for taste and so by excluding them the product is available to a wider audience.”

Ms Hargreaves added that other interesting Australian trends include ‘Super Premium’ lines and ‘Enhanced Convenience For Convenience’ foods.

“The Australian convenience market is full of innovative offerings that add value to the convenience sector without compromising on flavour, value for money or quality,” she advised. “Quick and convenient products for the foodservice market that are proving popular in Australia and could be a success in the UK include: smoothies distributed as frozen packs that can be de-frosted and mixed to create bespoke flavours at the point of sale, and pre-mixed gelato that simply requires the addition of water.”

“The UK food and drink sector may be going through a turbulent time, but innovative retailers, suppliers and producers are focusing on the better times ahead by developing a stronger understanding of evolving consumer needs and demands.”

The UK food and grocery market is worth £133.1 billion (source Institute of Grocery Distribution).The two way merchandise trade with Australia is worth $16.8 billion.