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Australian fresh produce just what the doctor ordered for Asia’s health-conscious consumers

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Australia offers the freshest seafood, the finest dairy, sustainable beef, healthy nuts and delicious fruit kissed by the Australian sun. With strong sustainability credentials and experience exporting to Asia, the country is ready to meet the region’s demand for clean, green and safe foods.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred consumers across Asia to switch to healthier diets. Sales of fresh produce and nuts have increased since pre-pandemic times. According to Euromonitor[1]​, sales of vegetables reached 504 million tonnes in 2021, up from 475 million tonnes in 2019. Fruit sales also grew from 333 million tonnes in 2019 to 350 million tonnes in 2021. Sales of nuts with health benefits like almonds also increased from 29 million tonnes in 2019 to 31 million tonnes in 2021.

With a solid reputation for clean and green produce, Australia is ready to meet these demands for healthy foods. A favourable growing season will likely deliver another bumper crop for Australian farmers and producers, which means more produce available for export.

Australia also offers other health-boosting products, like premium beef, seafood and dairy. Many Australian suppliers have strong sustainability credentials, a major plus for environmentally and socially conscious consumers.

Nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables

SummerFruit

A diet high in fruit and vegetables is one of the most effective ways to boost immune systems. Australia has a bounty of fruit, from 30 varieties of cherries to crunchy apples and naturally sweet peaches, plums and nectarines.

Australia’s citrus fruits include lemons, navel oranges and Murcott mandarins. Navel oranges and mandarins are coming into season and ready to export between May and August. Australia’s table grape growers had a bumper season and have been harvesting since mid-January. Most grapes are destined for North Asia and ASEAN markets, where their sweet, juicy flavour is popular with consumers.

Australian native fruits are also bursting with vitamins. The Kakadu plum has the highest recorded level of natural vitamin C of any plant in the world – more than 100 times that of oranges. Australian company Remedy uses Kakadu plum in its Cherry Plum kombucha drink.

Australian vegetable growers can supply most crops all year round from different production regions. Carrots, onions and potatoes are Australia’s three largest vegetable export crops. As Australia enters autumn and winter, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks and celery will be available for export. These are ideal ingredients for a nourishing soup.

Australia also offers value-added products such as cauliflower rice, sweet potato rice, pre-packed celery and pre-packed salads. These healthy and convenient items have attracted interest from the Asian market in recent years.

Wholesome, tasty almonds and macadamias

Nuts are a superfood and Australia has plenty of them. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, nuts are great as an on-the-go snack food, sold as mini packs or in trail mixes. Food manufacturers are increasingly incorporating nuts in desserts and confectionery.

Take almonds. Australia is the leading grower of these protein-packed nuts in the southern hemisphere. Australian almonds are available all year and exported to processors and retailers in more than 50 countries.

Almonds

Macadamias first evolved in Australian rainforests over 60 million years ago. They are loaded with antioxidants that reduce the risk of chronic disease, plant sterols that protect heart health, and minerals to support brain health. Australian macadamias are exported to China, Japan, Korea, Europe, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Macadamias

Growers and processors of both these nuts are using new technologies to improve sustainability. For instance, almond growers use advanced irrigation technology to increase water efficiency and ‘grow more crop from every drop’. Instead of discarding the shell, several macadamia processors power their plants using the nut shells themselves.

Fresh, sustainably sourced seafood

Lobsters

Certain species of seafood make healthy eating. Salmon, for instance, is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart health and brain function. Tuna is similarly packed with omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of vitamin B12.

Atlantic salmon and tuna from Tasmania’s pristine waters are among the best in the world. They are exported worldwide, available at supermarkets, luxury hotels and the world’s best restaurants. Ocean trout, known as the wagyu of the sea, is also popular. Australian company Petuna’s ocean trout can be found in 5-star restaurants in Singapore and Italy.

Australia’s other premium seafood include rock lobsters. This species gained market access to South Korea in January 2022, allowing live, frozen and chilled specimens to be exported to the country for the first time. Australia exported A$12 million of seafood to South Korea in 2021, double the value in 2020.

Australian fishers have enormous respect for the ocean’s bounty and follow sustainable fishing methods. For instance, Candy Abalone’s dried abalone and seafood products are hand harvested from Tasmanian waters and dried using natural and traditional methods. Austral Fisheries limits its catch of Patagonian toothfish (a protected species) each year. It also developed a blockchain-based supply chain platform to trace the fish from the minute it is caught to the moment it reaches the consumer.

Premium-quality beef

Meat

Beef is one of the best sources of iron, an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen around the body. It’s also vital for immune function and providing energy.

Australian beef enjoys a global reputation for flavour, juiciness, tenderness and quality. Meticulous food safety, animal welfare and traceability standards underpin its clean and green credentials. Importantly, Australia’s chilled beef has a world-leading shelf life. This makes it more competitive, reducing wastage and increasing returns for retailers.

Jack’s Creek – winner of four “world's best steak” awards – specialises in grain-fed Wagyu and Angus beef. It was one of the first Australian companies to breed, grow, feed, process and market Wagyu beef. Today, it exports to over 30 countries.

OBE Organics’ cattle graze on seasonally changing, chemical-free pastures, eating over 250 species of native grasses, herbs and succulents. Its beef is free from antibiotics, added hormones and genetically modified feed. The result is a healthy, unique-tasting meat seasoned by nature.

Like OBE Organics, the vast majority of Australian beef producers adopt sustainable farming practices to minimise their impact on the environment. Queensland’s Four Daughters manages its stocking rates and grazing practices to ensure its pastures are not compromised. It has a large water storage dam to catch water during heavy rains and its trained staff use industry-accepted stock-handling techniques that minimise animal stress.

Argyle Foods Group is one of Australia’s largest vertically integrated meat processing businesses. Sustainability has been the centre of its farming operations for over 30 years. The company is working on a carbon-neutral production system based on regenerative agricultural practices. The aim is to improve biodiversity and utilise perennial pasture and cattle management.

Innovative dairy products

Cheese

Dairy consumption across Asia is increasing as more people realise the health benefits of products like milk, cheese and yoghurt. Regular consumption of dairy products can help keep teeth and bones strong and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Australia produces a wide range of nutritious dairy products, from handmade cheese to probiotic yoghurts and long-life milks. Noumi has invested heavily to develop nutritional dairy ingredients such as pure lactoferrin to meet the demand for functional products in Australia and overseas. Kyvalley Dairy uses special flexi-tanks to sea freight its fresh milk in temperature-controlled refrigerated containers, so they arrive in optimum condition. Bannister Downs Dairy pasteurises its award-winning milk at lower temperatures to maintain a creamy, farm-fresh taste.

Australian dairy farmers are leaders in sustainable production​. They are committed to improving land management, increasing water use efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting waste.

Alternative dairy products

Australia also caters for vegans and lactose-intolerant consumers with a range of alternative dairy products. These include milk made from nuts, soy, rice, oats and peas; cheese made from soy or cashew, coconut ice cream and yoghurt, and more. Many are fortified with calcium.

Australian alternative dairy brands include Vitasoy​, MilkLab​, Alternative Dairy Co​, Milkadamia​, Over the Moo​, COYO​ and So Good​.

Plant-based milk producer Vitasoy says demand for alternative milk is especially strong in Asia and the Middle East. The company made exporting a priority when people overseas started reaching out, wanting to import its products.

A reliable supply partner

Australian growers are seasoned exporters. Many have been exporting to Asia for years and have long-term relationships with importers and distributors in the region. Several companies use leading-edge traceability solutions to ensure buyers and consumers can trace the source of their produce from farm to fork.

Visit shinewithaustralia.gov.au/produce to find out more about Australian food and agriculture.

[1]​ Euromonitor International Limited 2022 © All rights reserved