THE days of relying on population growth around the world to increase sales of Australian beef are coming to an end, a recent webinar on red meat markets run by Meat & Livestock Australia was told.
MLA's general manager of international markets Andrew Cox said the world's demographics were changing - the number of people over 60 would double between now and 2050.
Japan and Korea, two of Australia's largest beef markets, are already shrinking and China is expected to start soon, he said.
"Future growth will need to come from increasing per capita sales," Mr Cox said.
"This means we need to keep investing in country of origin branding and developing new products and high-value offerings as premiumisation takes hold."
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Australian beef will also need to tackle 'topics of fundamental significance' moving forward, he said.
"When I started in food marketing there were four generally accepted pillars when you talk consumer leveraging - price, taste, nutrition and convenience," Mr Cox said.
"But sustainability of food production has now become a globally significant topic."
That affects consumer sentiment but also spills over to government policy and financing, he said.
"We know a large effort is required from scientists and primary producers to find and adopt technologies that reduce our carbon footprint but by the same token on the sales and marketing side we need a full-court press as well," Mr Cox said.
That defensive work would need to focus on correcting misinformation and educating people about the beef industry.
MLA's November cattle market projections show Australia has exported 660,568 tonnes of beef for the year-to-date, making it currently the third largest exporter of beef globally.
That volume is, however, 17pc lower year-on-year, the result of both supply and demand factors, according to MLA's analysts.
Most key export markets have fallen compared to 2020 volumes, apart from South Korea which has lifted 2pc this year.
Brazil is still the world's largest beef exporter, contributing 1.3 million tonnes so far this year. Over half went to China.
The United States is the second largest exporter and its biggest markets this year have been Japan and South Korea, two of Australia's key markets. US exports to China have, however, grown nine-fold, the MLA data shows.
US beef export volumes are expected to grow further with drought conditions and high feed costs driving herd liquidation.
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