AU exports around $45bn in ag produce - red meat is around $8bn, twice as much as its nearest rival, wheat at about $4.5bn. 65% of AU beef is exported and 73% of sheep. NZ agriculture has exports of $46bn, $17bn dairy, $8.8bn sheep and beef before a drop off to kiwifruit and wine at around $1.8bn each.
So for both countries, red meat is a big deal. But then consider that in AU, 40% of all grain production goes to stock feed so it has a major impact on this sector as well. Australia currently has over 1 million cattle in feedlots.
Consumption – in the past 20 years food consumption has increased at a faster rate than world population due to income growth, and this has been accompanied by two very definable swings in consumer preferences:
- emerging economies – meat is amongst the most expensive of foods, particularly red meat though consumption of higher value products is increasing as incomes rise.
- developed economies – rising societal and environmental concerns in developed economies have influenced consumer preferences, leading to lower red meat consumption e.g. 35% of UK consumers claim to be “flexitarian” and 66% of Americans say they’ve cut back their meat intake.
And according to research undertaken by Pollinate, 95% of Ozzies still eat beef, it’s just that they eat it less often and portion sizes are smaller.
Talking with Jim Goodall, CEO of Atkins Ranch and Progressive Meats in NZ, he’s finding the same thing in markets like the US. He notes that millennials are still eating lamb and, contrary to many reports, veganism and vegetarianism is not making the inroads in the US as many claim it to. Pre-Covid Jim was constantly in the US and mentioned that millennials in the US are a tapestry of people from countries that are avid red meat eaters and that sales to the US have been exceptionally strong. He agrees that the trend there is the same as AU i.e. eating smaller portions and less often.