10 Reasons Why Agribusiness Can’t Afford to Ignore Asia

With the world’s population projected to grow from 7 to 8 billion by 2025, the power balance – in sheer population numbers and in wealth – will shift from west to east.

A staggering 85% of population growth in that time is projected to take place in Asia[1] and it will spark the biggest growth in the middle class in history.

It’s something agribusinesses in Australia need to be keenly aware of because a rising middle class means a rising demand on quality food products.

So what are the key facts agribusiness owners need to get their heads around?

Asian Power Shift

By 2030, a staggering 66% of the world’s middle class will live in the Asia Pacific region, according to the Washington think tank, the Brookings Institution[2]. That’s up from roughly 30% now.

By that time, North America now and Europe’s combined middle class will have shrunk from around 54% to just 21%.

The number of people in the middle class doesn’t always exactly represent the spending power of the group. If you dig into that more closely, the shift from west to east is even more mind-boggling.

Currently the US and Europe account for 64% of middle class consumption. By 2030 that will be down to 30%.

The middle class in the Asia Pacific however, will grow from 23% of middle class consumption now to 59% by 2030.


Graph courtesy of the Brookings Institution.[3]

The changing world dynamics have significant implications for Australian agricultural industries, helped in no small part by their proximity to these markets.

Check out these 10 statistics that Australian agribusinesses can’t afford to ignore.

(Note that the first 7 are from the Department of Agriculture[4], others as marked)

  1. The value of food consumption is projected to be 75% higher in 2050 than 2007, an average annual increase of 1.3%.
  2. Demand for food is projected to increase most strongly in Asia, doubling between 2007 and 2050.
  3. China will drive the growth in demand for food, accounting for 43% of the total increased demand for beef, wheat, dairy products, sheep meet and sugar by 2050.
  4. India will account for 13% of food growth, with a strong increase in demand for dairy products.
  5. Rising incomes have already begun to change the diet of Asian residents, with an increase in demand for meat, as opposed to traditional staple grains.
  6. By 2050, the most sought after food products are expected to be beef, wheat, dairy, sheep meet and sugar.
  7. Growth in demand for these commodities is projected to increase the value of Australia’s agrifood exports by 142% between 2007 and 2050.
  8. The global wheat trade is estimated to double – to 240 million tons – by 2050[5].
  9. In Southeast Asia, per capita consumption of meat is expected to increase by 60%, from 38 kilograms per year in 1990, to 60 kilograms a year in 2030.[6]
  10. By 2030, China and the rest of developed Asia will consume just under 60% of the world’s grain and 42% of agriculture and food imports. [7]

Featured image courtesy of sloveniatimes.com

To find out more about the trends in the agribusiness sector in Australia, including remuneration, download our free eBook, “The 2015 Agribusiness Salary and Trend Report”.