IT is no secret that Australian beef exports will face off against far more intense competition in 2018 but the dynamics underpinning that could also present some very good opportunities.
Case in point the United States, which is both a key customer and competitor.
While the recovery of the US herd and subsequent rise in US beef exports is creating angst in some of Australia’s most valuable markets, the strength of the US market itself is presenting plenty of potential.
Given Australia exports red meat to more than a hundred countries, key industry research and marketing body Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) believes knowing the consumer in those markets will be the vital ingredient to beef’s prosperity going forward.
To that end, MLA, a principal partner of Beef Australia 2018, has organised a strong program for the May event which focuses on how all the supply chain can meet changing consumer demands and how Australian beef can remain globally competitive.
MLA will host a Global Markets Forum at Beef Australia, bringing its international team of in-market experts, together with other special guest speakers, direct to those at this flagship beef event.
What is playing out in the US will be high on the agenda.
Demand for beef domestically in the US has seen significant increases - three to five percent in 2016-17 - on the back of increased beef production, growing consumer confidence and strong economic indicators, according to MLA analysts.
Market intelligence manager Scott Tolmie said shifting attitudes to animal fats and increased retail focus on beef, which has included lower beef prices, also played a role.
According to the latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) market outlook, red meat and poultry consumption in 2018 is forecast to reach record levels, at an estimated 121 kilograms per capita, with beef consumption accounting for an estimated 37.1kg per capita – the highest figure since 2010.
“Many industry experts are forecasting this to continue in coming years,” Mr Tolmie said.
USDA projections point to consumption growth through to 2020.