Home > Food processors should relocate to capitalise on Asian food boom, industry analyst

Food processors should relocate to capitalise on Asian food boom, industry analyst

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According to market strategist David Thomason, Australian food processors will most likely be unable to capitalise in the Asian boom food unless they move their processing facilities to the continent, or engage in joint ventures with Asian companies.

Thomason who is a former marketing executive at Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA,) says that in addition to potentially relocating processing activities offshore, Australian competition policy needs to encourage larger Australian companies to merge.

He says that by merging larger companies, Australia’s ability to compete on a global level would be dramatically increased - sighting New Zealand’s dairy co-operative, Fonterra as a key example of a successful international-scale player.

"The future for food manufacturing for Asia will be within Asia," Thomason told Farm Weekly.

"We have to be part of the world food scene, not just local manufacturers making products for the domestic market and looking to export some surplus."

Thomason sights the strong Australian dollar as well as exceptionally high production and labour costs as key inhibitors to the Australian food processing industry.

"Australian businesses must invest wisely in the Asian dining boom to gain capital growth, scale and profits," said Thomason at a recent food industry seminar.

"Safe and efficient food processing can now be undertaken at low-cost stable, centrally located Asian centres servicing billions of consumers, rather than just 20 million Australians."

Thomason says that while the idea of maintaining food manufacturing within Australia may be preferable for some, it is not a strategy that will enable the country to compete internationally.

"Having food plants based in Australia has a nice feeling about it, but we really need to think of Australia as part of the world scene," he said.

"…We need to partner product innovation with processing innovation and market understanding."

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