Top 5: Things to look for next year

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd January 2008

As we wrap up our take on 2008, Australian Food News highlights some of the things to look for in 2009.

1. Consolidation.
Consolidation will continue worldwide in the food and beverage industries. In Australia, the sale of Schweppes has just gone through, while Foster’s will again be mooted as a target when they conclude their wine review in February. Expect cashed-up Japanese companies of the likes of Kirin Holdings and Suntory to continue looking for opportunities for international expansion, especially if the economic downturn can continue to reduce company values.

2. Costco’s entry into Australia
Expect much fanfare when the American retailer’s first store opens in Melbourne next year. However, a lack of suitable locations will limit expansion plans, ensuring a slow but steady roll-out here in Australia.

3. Will three supermarkets be able to prosper at Chadstone?
I’m not sure if there is a place in Australia where three of our largest supermarket chains are so close together.

Aldi and Woolworths have joined Coles at Melbourne’s, and Australia’s, largest shopping centre – Chadstone. There was much talk about “constrictive” shopping centre leases during the Grocery Price Inquiry that may limit supermarket competition in some centres. Not the case at Chadstone, however, where the two market leaders and the emerging discounter are all within short walking distance to one another. Will they all be able to survive and thrive in such close proximity or will one begin to struggle as early as next year?

4. Food shortage concerns to come under spotlight again in 2H 2009
The financial crisis has led to a sharp fall in the price of many food commodities – which had soared from late 2007 through to the early months of 2008. As concerns about the global economy begin to die down in the latter half of next year, talk could again return to how to feed the world in the decades ahead.

5. Genetically Modified food.
The harvest of Australia’s first GM canola will see Australian GM ingredients hitting shelves for the first time. Many consumers have been happy to ‘sit on the fence‘ regarding the issue, as have some manufacturers. But next year anticipate more to make up their minds as to exactly where they sit on GM food. A threat, or part of the solution?