Australian food exporters need to enhance image

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 23rd June 2009

A leading international expert on the global food industry has told a conference in Brisbane this week that the future for Australian food exports is strong as long as we can build on our ‘beer and vegemite’ image.

Speaking at the National Farmers’ Federation congress, Professor David Hughes said Australia’s position as a low-cost producer had evaporated but the high quality of our food presented an alternative marketing proposition.

“What you need is customers with income,” Prof Hughes advised, according to AAP. “For Australia it’s fine to have poor friends, but it’s best to have rich customers. They value other things – quality, quality assurance, green, possibly organic, and consistent supply.”

Prof Hughes added that rapid growth in the world population offered an ever increasing customer base but Australia needs to work out its positioning and capitalise on the sound reputation in food safety and traceability.

Our offering, however, is too often linked to Vegemite and beer. In fact, research in the US indicated Australia was perceived as a good source of food but, when pushed, those surveyed could only link the country to beer.

“There’s nothing quintessentially Australian except Vegemite,” Professor Hughes suggested.