Growth in demand for healthy and sustainable products could make Australia's food and agribusiness sector more valuable than mining.
bowls and plates of healthy food on a table

CSIRO calculates market demand for healthy and sustainable products could be worth $15 billion in Australia and 10 billion in exports by 2030. Photo by jwlez on Unsplash

Growing interest in healthy and sustainable lifestyles could be worth about A$25 billion and make up about 10% of the value of Australia’s food and agribusiness sector by the end of next decade.

These projections are made by Australia’s industrial research agency, CSIRO, in an economic analysis published today.

The high rate of growth in demand for healthy and sustainable products could make the food and agribusiness sector more valuable than mining. The sector currently contributes about A$138 billion to the Australian economy, or about 7.6% of GDP, compared with 8% from mining.

Domestic demand will comprise about $15 billion. Exports of $10 billion will be underpinned by rising demand throughout Asia, where Australian produce already has a reputation for quality, safety and value.

Growth opportunities

In health and wellness products, our report examines four high-growth opportunities:

  • fortified and functional foods, which contain added ingredients intended to aid health
  • free-from and natural products, including gluten-free and certified organic
  • vitamins and supplements
  • personalised nutrition.

In sustainable solutions, we identify three growth areas:

  • alternative protein sources, any food eaten as an alternative to meat and seafood
  • organic waste conversion, generating useful products from waste
  • sustainable packaging, such as bioplastics and biodegradable packaging.

As well as these areas relating to health and sustainability, we also look at three areas of “premium interactions” – products and services that attract premium prices due to quality, convenience, luxury or novel attributes, ranging from rock lobsters to gourmet cheeses and winery visits.

Estimating potential

This new economic analysis builds on CSIRO’s 2017 Food & Agribusiness roadmap. It considers factors such as trends in consumer preferences, competitive advantages, potential competitors and substitutes, and broader macroeconomic forces such as population and income growth.

Because industry outlooks and projections are subject to high degrees of uncertainty, we have consciously included data sources, assumptions and methodology in the report. We welcome discussion of our assumptions and estimates.

The following figure shows the expected growth rate and potential size of the various market segments in 2030.

figure shows the expected growth rate and potential size of the various market segments in 2030.

CSIRO, Growth opportunities for Australian food and agribusiness.

The biggest opportunity is in fortified and functional foods. Examples include probiotics and omega-3 oils added to yoghurt and milk, and antioxidant-rich breads, cereals and beverages.

Although this is a mature industry, CSIRO’s analysis suggests its value will increase from $6.7 billion in 2018 to $9.7 billion in 2030.

Domestic consumption and export opportunities for fortified and functional products by 2030.

The second-biggest market potential is in alternative proteins. These include plant proteins such as soy and pea, and emerging products such as insect-based ingredients.

The market for alternative proteins is expected to grow at about 5% a year, more than double the rate of 2.4% for the whole food and agribusiness sector.

Domestic and export opportunities, and carbon emission and water savings, for alternative proteins by 2030.

As well as domestic and export sales valued at $6.6 billion in 2030, we estimate alternative protein sources may be worth $5.4 billion in carbon emission and water savings. This estimate is based on first calculating the emissions and water saved by consuming alternatives to animal protein, and then calculating the value of those using market prices for carbon and water.

We also see significant environmental savings from sustainable packaging ($1.7 billion) and organic waste conversion ($600 million).

Capturing market share depends, of course, on being able to compete with overseas suppliers. There is a risk, without investment in research, development and innovation, that Australia will not capture these opportunities. On the other hand, if we capitalise on our opportunities, the rewards could be even greater.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


  1. All good stuff and I am sure that things will loo a lot different in 10 years. However, a key is that Australia doesnt have the agribusiness companies to commercialise much of this exciting technology. We focus much of our ag policy on teh small family farms that produce less than 10% of farm output. We need a wide ranging long term innovation policy!!

  2. I’m saddened by the incompetence of politicians and the poor management of government. If things were different there would be greater effort put into sustainability and building our tomorrow; new industries and technology to solve our problems and foster new investment projects in food, energy and recycling. We need government support and leadership not coal and oil. Elections are a farce: you can either vote for Arthur or Martha – each equally bad.

    It doesn’t matter if this report is old or new. The ideas are powerful and speak more to sustainability and growth. They also point to new jobs – that means wealth for our children, rather than being cursed by debt, recession or poverty.

  3. It is an interesting analysis,but in terms of protein alternatives,I think U.S.A had already made a pace, and seems to control the market,but as CISROs pinpointing interdisciplinary market approach for ‘premium price’ approach still needs much effort innovation.

  4. Your comments are so wright one of the answers is the Vortex water generator. This will help drought proof Australia if the government where serous about using water more effective. Have a look at this web site
    Nigel Abraham

  5. I would say this report is getting out of date. Sure all these new growth areas are fine but sheer food security is the BIG ISSUE. And water security underpins that. So water sensitive urban design to infiltrate rainwater at source should be mandatory! Also fracking ( impact on water resources is huge) should be seen as one of the largest threats to water and food security. TELL THE TRUTH

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