If your business relies or sits alongside the food industry, you may already be keeping an eye on the Ai Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI).
Only two of the seven activity sub-indexes – those for employment (which went up 4.7 points to 52.5) and exports (up 2.9 points to 51.0) – were above 50 points in December (readings below 50 indicate a contraction in activity, with the distance from 50 indicative of the strength of the decrease). As in November, four of the eight manufacturing sub-sectors expanded in December.
The large food, beverages and tobacco sub-sector continued to expand (up 1.3 points to 60.4), as did the smaller wood and paper products sub-sector – but at a much slower rate, dropping 10.5 points to 51.1. The textiles, clothing and furniture (up 4.2 points to 58.6) and non-metallic mineral products (up 12.4 points to 62.6), sub-sectors also expanded for a second consecutive month. Source: Industry Search.com.
So with the Australian food industry welcoming 2015 on a strong note, what are the predicted trends that we should expect to see in the coming months?
Focus on Health
Over the last year, diet has become a key concern, on both ends of the spectrum. Healthy foods, caveman style eating and kale became the norm while salted caramel seemed to be on the lips (and hips) of foodies everywhere.
2015 Trend alert - healthiness is now HIP! Which is why soft drink manufacturers have seen a little nose-dive recently, read DailyFinance.com. Throughout 2014, Coca-Cola has been struggling with a fall in profit – recorded by Forbes, Financial Times and Bloomberg, and Coca-Cola began pursuing healthier beverages such as Coconut water and Coca-Cola Life – sweetened with stevia and promises 60% fewer calories than regular Coke.
A revived interest in food through television cooking shows and vivacious celebrity chefs, has seen many of us rushing back into the kitchen as we are introduced to new ingredients and a vast array of foreign cuisine. Television shows such as Masterchef (and Junior Masterchef for children aged between 8 and 13), have become increasingly popular over the last few years, consequently bringing back traditional recipes, cooking styles and baking as well as modern takes on home cooking with both adults and children alike – we not only become brave enough to try those daring French recipes, but we have a better knowledge of what is going into our food (and stomachs).
Not only do cooking shows and celebrity chefs help to create an awareness of healthy eating, encouraging us to try different foods, but they create a ‘bake-off’ effect around particular flavours and ingredients used in each show. As reported by the Telegraph - a classic example of this was the Christmas of 2006, where Nigella Lawson’s BBC interview and corresponding best-selling recipe book, Feast, where she stipulated that goose fat is “the best fat for roasting potatoes…” sparked ‘goose-fat fever’ where supermarkets in the UK were inundated with shoppers demanding this magic unguent. Many more examples exist (including the 1995 cranberry shortage; ‘Cranberry Crisis’ caused by Delia).
Trends for 2015
What should we expect to eat and drink this year? According to The Independent:
- Kelp is the new kale
- Fermenting is the new sprouting (fermented tea, sauerkraut or pickled cabbage, think of it as the new jam-making of 2015)
- Acai bowls are the new green juice (powdered / dried berries / frozen puree said to aid weight loss, blended with frozen bananas, berries and little milk, topped with seeds, nuts, goji berries)
- Matcha is the new green tea (matcha green tea made from finely milled matcha leaves)
- Bee pollen is the new Manuka honey (the latest superfood thought to ward off colds, improve skin tone)
- Tiger nuts are the new almonds (high in healthy fats, protein and natural sugar, high in energy content and thought to improve circulation)
- Bone broth is the new Miso soup (a nourishing all-rounder packed with vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin which makes it amazing for our skin)
- Banana flour is the new coconut flour (made from green bananas, gluten free and high in resistant starch which is effective for diabetes, obesity and colon cancer)
- Bulletproof coffee is the new soy latte (black coffee with a dollop of coconut oil or butter, which is said to give you energy and slow-release energy, helps you focus and is delicious – so they say!)
There is no denying that the dairy sector has experienced an increase in demand; last month Food&Drink Business Magazine published their ’Australia’s Top 100 Food&Drink Companies 2014 Report’ which highlights that some of the big beverage companies are doing it tough, but also revealing a strong dairy export sector thanks to growing demand from Asia.
Lion gained number two position and Murray Goulburn Cooperative rose to the number five spot, thanks to growth in export sales. Gina Rinehart has booked her seat in the dairy boom, investing $500 million to produce infant milk formula for China. And when Gina (the woman who picked the mining boom by betting on iron ore at a time when few released what was about to happen in China) is on to something, we should expect movement down the line.
Construction and suppliers who cater for the dairy industry should feel the movement as investors will be opening up their wallets to cater for the increase in demand. Read about recent projects where speciality doors and barrier manufacturers, Remax, supplied their Movidor High Speed Doors at Murray Goulburn Cobram and Koroit. As well as at Snow Brand in Tatura. Not only the building trade will receive a look-in but also smaller suppliers and fit out services which cater for dairy, cool rooms and UHT processing such as fast acting cool room doors and corrosion resistant swingdoors.
Food&Drink Business, note that the rising stars of 2015 cater for the ever changing and constantly evolving tastes of consumers. Here are the Food&Drink Business Risking stars of 2015, who are thriving thanks to their approach to innovation and change:
- Thankyou Group – Lofty ambitions. Thankyou Group was specifically created to raise money for those in extreme poverty, a business model that is resonating with retailers and consumers.
- The Chia Co – super strategy. The Chia Co was founded 11 years ago but it is now a vertically integrated worldwide supplier of both chia ingredients and consumer products such as the Chia Pod.
- Gourmet Garden - category creator. Gourmet Garden recently created a world-first product concept that offers a compelling trade-off between dried and fresh herbs.
- Australian Wholefoods – ready for business. As demand for ready meals rises, a new purpose-built facility has given Australia Wholefoods new found flexibility.
- Lark Distillery – whiskey pioneer. Lark Distillery is now in a high growth phase with plans to more than double current production without compromising the essential artisan process.
- The Australian Brewery – crafty exporter. Australian Brewery was Australia’s first craft brewery to package their products into cans. These days their cans are also sold in India, Japan and Malaysia.
- Nudie – creators of good. Nudie burst into the beverage scene in 2002, but lost its way. Redefining its purpose became the secret of its success last year.
- Coffee Galleria – DIY coffee. Boutique coffee roastery, Coffee Galleria, has tripled in size in the last three years to tap into demand from cafes wanting to put their own stamp on their beans.
- Kez’s Kitchen – a safety strategy. Biscuit snack and cereal maker, Kez’s Kitchen, has turned its food safety program into a strategic advantage.
- Garlo’s Pies: pie in the sky. Just 12 years ago, Garlo’s Pies comprised a single Sydney store. Now it is introducing Aussie pies to the US.
A standout theme from 2014 was most certainly the Australian dairy sector, with large development and change in this sector almost every month during 2014, including the news of Gina Rinehart’s investment of $500 million into the Chinese infant formula market (and shortly after this, Tetra Pak announced that milk supply and demand is unbalanced across the world and dairy demand to outstrip supply within a decade). Development within the dairy industry will be interesting to watch this year, and it looks like we can expect to see continued growth. On a side note; coffee, liquor and craft beer also featured consistently in trade articles and reviews during 2014, giving us an insight into what consumers want.
2014 was a big year for product innovation and the rising stars mentioned earlier, show that they have broken ground in some way and their success proves that no matter how tough the economic conditions, there are always opportunities for those who look.
Now, let's have a coffee.