Myanmar’s expanding food palate creates opportunities for Australia

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 18th July 2016

MyanmarIncreasing demand for premium food, an influx of western restaurants and the rapid expansion of the tourism industry are creating growing opportunities for Australia’s food and beverage exporters.

Ross Bray, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner for Myanmar, said since the country’s political and economic transformation, dining options have diversified for locals, expatriates and tourists.

“This has seen local consumers’ eating habits and food preferences change, forcing producers and retailers to upgrade their products,” Bray said.

“They are also importing higher quality raw materials to remain competitive.”

Yangon, the commercial capital, is attracting regional and global food chains such as Tony Roma’s, Gloria Jeans, Pizza Hut, Manhattan Fish Market, KFC, Astons Steakhouse, Harry’s Bar and Ya Kun Coffee & Toast.

International hotel groups with fine dining establishments such as Kempinski Hotels, Pan Pacific, Sheraton and The Peninsula, are all set to open hotels in the coming year, helping to meet the growth in tourism which is expected to top three million by 2020.

“The local food service sector is also responding to the growing demand and challenges by seeking out new suppliers of premium food from across the world,” said Bray.

“Australia’s strong reputation for exporting clean, green and safe foods is a major attraction. This is why Australian produce ranging from meat, fruit and vegetables, dairy products, to condiments and wines are in demand and are supplied to the food sector and upmarket retail outlets.”

Austrade promotes Australian meat in Myanmar

Throughout June 2016, the ‘Australia on the Menu’ promotion showcased Australian produce by encouraging diners to experience Australian beef and lamb menus prepared by Myanmar chefs across 17 participating hotels, restaurants and bars throughout Yangon.

The initiative also built relationships between local retail chain operators and Australian suppliers to the food service and hotel sectors, with participating suppliers including Mulwarra Exports, Argyle Premium Meats and Jack’s Creek all experiencing an increase in sales.

“While Myanmar’s modern retail sector is still small in regional terms, it is growing strongly. With the increasing number of new hotels and restaurants, opportunities across the food sector will continue to emerge for Australian exporters over the next 18 months due to the change in consumer demographics, a growing expatriate community and increasing tourism,” said Bray.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, beef and sheep meat exports from Australia to Myanmar have grown from a tiny AUD $303,000 in 2014 to AUD $1.33 million in 2015 with further growth expected for 2016.

Myanmar is also a member of the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), with tariffs falling on many food items progressively from 2015 through to 2022.

Companies interested in Myanmar business opportunities can contact Austrade on 13 28 78.