Australian food and grocery exports drive growth, inject $38.3b into national economy

Exports are driving growth in the nation’s food and grocery manufacturing sector, with latest figures from the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) showing they are worth $38.3 billion to the economy.

AFGC CEO Tanya Barden said despite tough domestic and global economic conditions, Australian food and grocery exports increased by 11.4 per cent in 2018-19.

“The export market is fuelling growth in Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector, which has benefitted from the Federal Government’s deregulation agenda for food exports and a raft of new opportunities presented by Free Trade Agreements,” Ms Barden said.

“Given tough domestic trading conditions resulting from drought, increased production costs and seven years of retail product price deflation, tapping into the export market is giving the industry a chance to diversify and capitalise on demand for quality Australian goods.

“It’s also opening doors for small and medium enterprises to showcase their products on the world stage.”

Agriculture Minister, Bridget McKenzie, said the hard work of Australian farmers and businesses had established Australia’s reputation as a reliable supplier of safe, quality, tasty food and groceries to the world.

“Government’s role is to create the right environment for our exporters, and our government is delivering that through establishing preferential free trade agreements with key trading partners —but then we need to get out of your way,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Our deregulation agenda is about doing just that. We’re removing unnecessary red tape and regulation so that businesses can grow, invest and create jobs, especially in rural and regional Australia. And we’re also streamlining and digitising our systems to make it easier for exporters to get their products into overseas markets.”

China is Australia’s largest export market, with demand for Australian products increasing by 32.6 per cent over the last three years on the back of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Exports are being led by meat processing, human pharmaceutical and medicinal products, and wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Other sub-sectors are also growing their market share, with businesses such as Birch and Waite, an Australian-owned manufacturer of gourmet condiments, expanding to meet growing export demand.

“Our export footprint continues to grow, so we’ve been able to invest in manufacturing innovation at our Sydney manufacturing sites and more jobs,” said CEO Paul O’Brien.

“Anything that can be done to cut red tape and increase trade opportunities is good for business and the sector as a whole.”

Media contact: Anne-Louise Brown, 0406 987 050,

Trade infographic