Global mega trends drive beef

MEGA TRENDS: MLA’s Nick Sangster with Lisa Sharp, Jennifer Wainwright from AUX Venture, and MLA market information manager Ben Thomas at the MLA breakfast.SO called global mega trends have significant implications for the Australian beef industry.
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Lisa Sharp, MLA’s chief marketing and communications officer, told an industry breakfast in Brisbane on Tuesday, that the trends would impact on not only the way red meat was produced but also how the protein was perceived by consumers, and how markets were likely to emerge and evolve.

Those five trends –which relateto resource availability consumer behaviours, a growing middle class, and levels of instability across the globe – were like likely to combine to significantly change how the global beef industry operates.

Australia’s broadscale production system provided offered many advantages especially in producing ‘natural’ beef, there were still many challenges, she said.

Mega trend 1: More from Less

“The trend explores how companies, governments and communities discover new ways of ensuring quality of life for current and future generations within the confines of the natural world’s limited resources,” Ms Sharp said.

“Consumers everywhere prefer natural meat, quality food produced with minimum human intervention,” Ms Sharp said.“Consumers are also concerned about human’s impact on environment, and these concerns are often closely linked to farming practice.

Interesting, Ms Sharp said while organic food formed part of the More from Less trend, its grow particularly in China could be linked to grave concerns about food safety, there appeared to be a shift towards broader, green-minded products.

“This is partly influenced by weakened economies and generally higher prices of fully organic products, but people’s consideration to wider social and ecological issues, and choosing products that are not necessarily organic, but address eco or animal welfare worries.”

Mega trend 2: Great Expectations

The consumer, societal, demographic and cultural megatrend explored the rising demand for experiences over products and the rising importance of social relationships.

“Consumers demand more transparency and traceability,” Ms Sharp said. “They expect companies to be honest and responsible, and have ways to expose those that are engaged in dishonest or unethical marketing activities.

“This megatrend also captures the expectation people have for personalised products and services that meet their unique needs and wants while being able to deliver en masse.”

Mega trend 3: The Silk Highway

In coming decades the world economy would shift from west to east and north to south, with billions of people transitioning out of poverty particularly in Asia but also in South America and Africa.However, it is the changing face of global markets where household incomes hit the US$35,000 level that would massively alter global markets. At that income level, households began to consume protein, she said.

“The powerhouses of the new world economy are China and India,” Ms Sharp said.“This economic shift will build new export markets, trade relations, business models and and cultural ties for Australia.”

Mega trend 4: Forever Young

Ageing populations could be considered an asset, where brands were linked to health benefits.

“In Australia where almost 20 per cent of our population is forecase to be over 65 years old by 2025, expenditure patterns by households are also rapidly changing,” Ms Sharp said. “Health related expenditure is forecast to grow fastest, overtaking restaurant and hotel spend by 2020.

“Our major markets (Australia, Korea, Japan and China) are walking down this path, some faster than others (Japan).

“Linking your brand image and messages with health, and exploring value adding opportunities specifically targeted for older and wealthier consumers, will likely to become even more important in 2017 and the years ahead.”

Mega trend 5: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

The 9/11 terror attack, the ongoing impact of the global financial crisis, the more recent fear driven US election, and Brexit push all added to the complexity of global markets.

“For an increasing number of consumers, where food comes from is more important than health,” she said.

– Lisa Sharp is one of the speakers at the Food Heroes eventin Roma.

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