Global appetite for Japanese-style restaurants is great news for Aussie beef

Japan provided Australia with a pathway into premium export markets for beef and now the growing global popularity of its cuisine is offering new opportunities.

Andrew Cox, Meat and Livestock Australia’s international business manager for Japan and Korea, said there had been a huge proliferation of Japanese cuisine globally and across Asia.

The Japanese Government had recently estimated the number of Japanese restaurants globally doubled between 2013 and 2015.

“So they have probably doubled (again) since then,” Mr Cox told the recent national Wagyu conference in Adelaide.

“I believe it’s the largest growing cuisine globally over the last decade.”

He said MLA’s extensive consumer research in Asia had revealed Japanese cuisine was now more popular than local cuisine among many affluent people dined out.

“People in Bangkok told us that. When people are going out seeking different (eating) experiences, Korean cuisine is also growing quickly globally.”

And when wealthy consumers were seeking to have Japanese cuisine they also wanted the best quality and that was providing an opportunity for high-quality Australian beef like our Wagyu, he said.

Many Japanese styles of cuisine feature beef cut into thin slices such as shabu-shabu, yakiniku and sukiyaki.

The MLA’s overseas marketing strategy is built around targeting the growing populations of wealthier consumers, particularly in Asia.

Its research staff had identified cities in all our key export regions as places with large numbers of affluent consumers with potential to increase their demand for high-priced Australian beef.

More than 70pc of Australia’s beef exports are now shipped to Asia where competition is growing from rivals like Brazil and the US, Mr Cox said.

Australia needed to differentiate its high-quality beef from its competitors to earn the best returns.

MLA market research has found affluent consumers have stronger awareness and associations toward Australian beef and spend more on beef and eat Australian beef more often than the mainstream.

WONDERFUL WAGYU: High quality Australian Wagyu is well placed to grab market share in the strong global trend to Japanese-style restaurants.

 WONDERFUL WAGYU: High quality Australian Wagyu is well placed to grab market share in the strong global trend to Japanese-style restaurants.

“MLA has identified five key cities out of 30 across eight countries in South East Asia where household incomes are rising, offering significant growth opportunities for Australian beef exports – Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh city, Bangkok and Manila,” he said.

He said consumers’ meat buying decisions were driven by a few broad topics focused around eating quality, convenience, health, integrity and trust.

The modernisation of the supply chain in many developing Asian countries from wet markets to big sophisticated supermarkets would suit Australian beef, he said.

Natalie Isaac, MLA’s global manager for industry insights and strategy, said the Australian beef industry now had consumers around the globe.

She told the recent Angus through the Ages conference in Albury that MLA’s marketing focus was targeted at the people who could afford to buy our beef.

Ms Isaac said MLA’s research had shown many of these target consumers had already eaten Australian beef.