THEY may be mature markets, but both Japan and Korea still hold major opportunities for Australian beef.
Speaking at Meat and Livestock Australia’s Global Markets Forum during Beef 2018, in-market manager Andrew Cox said both Japanese and Korean consumers placed country of origin at the centre of their purchase decisions.
While the US had a tariff-driven price advantage in Korea, the Japan-Australia free trade agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the US had declined to join, had given Australia the edge in Japan.
However, regardless of price, Australia’s greatest advantage was consumers’ overwhelming trust of high quality, Australian beef, he said.
“Aussie beef is really a clear favourite, even in Korea where we do have strong competition, because it is overwhelmingly trusted,” Mr Cox said.
“Country of origin is the most important factor, partly because these countries import so much food and also because of food scares.
“In fact the only high score for US beef was it was considered cheaper by consumers.”
Aussie beef is really a clear favourite, even in Korea where we do have strong competition, because it is overwhelmingly trusted.
That contrasted to Australian consumers who were rated for the ‘springiness’ of beef and ‘bright colour’ as most important after factors such as price and use by dates, he said.
Mr Cox said Japan was the largest importer of protein in the world, taking 43 per cent of Australia’s grassfed and 58pc of grainfed production.
Korea accounted for 15pc of Australian beef exports, including 20pc of grainfed production and 20pc of offal.
“Japan is certainly a market where you can see Australian beef clearly identified on the shelves,” Mr Cox said.
“In Korea it is a little different. Australian beef and US beef sit directly beside each other, forcing consumers to make a decision based on country of origin.”
“The Korean market has doubled and doubled again since the start of the century, with four of the past five years recording record sales.”
In addition, Japan had seen a boom in steak sales in the past five years and an increase in larger cuts of beef suitable for roasting.
Mr Cox said MLA’s market growth was focused on promoting ‘good nature’ and the health benefits of eating beef.